This is a bit nerdier than usual, but I thought this was a pretty cool representation of what an association conference looks like on Twitter via NodeXL, a free open source template for Excel that lets you explore network graphs. I am working on my Excel-phobia and can only dream of being able to create and understand something like this for my org’s event hashtag; however, if you are so inclined, here are the instructions [pdf] on how Pew created this graph.
I’m not even going to try to provide analysis because it would probably make my head explode, but what I am able to take away from this is that it shows top tweeted urls, top tweeters, keyword pairs and innumerable other pieces of information that I only wish I understood. Bottom line: there is valuable information to be mined from what your conference attendees are tweeting during and/or about your event–so what are you going to do with that information? I suggest a bare minimum you track it and at least do some kind of analysis of it–what kinds of things are people tweeting about, what information and resources are they sending traffic to, are the people tweeting attending or potential attendees for future events, etc?
Of course the rub in this is how you’ll get and export this data, which, as I’ve blogged before, no small feat for associations that have little or no budget for social media. Yes, there are free tools out there for tracking an event hashtag–such as Tweetreach or Hashtracking–but the free offerings are limited and to be able to gather full data and/or export, you need to pay. If your org is healthcare-related, you’re in luck, though–one of my favorite (free!) tools to use for tracking healthcare-related association conferences is Symplur. Symplur is the rare tool that actually provides an archive of all tweets related to a conference hashtag, as well as information about top “influencers” and some other good information–for free. You do need to register your conference’s hashtag ahead of time, and, of course as is the reality of all free services, it’s not 100% reliable–I’ve been trying to register a hashtag for several days now but apparently their servers are down. But, check out the data Symplur compilied about European healthcare conferences. Pretty cool.
To me, the natural next step for this kind of data tracking is how it relates back to tracking and/or predicting event registration for future events, purchases of related products and, hopefully, attendee and even membership gains.
What kinds of data does your organization compile from social media posts about your events?