How to Harness HIMSS19 and Other Live Event Opportunities for Effective Social Media Marketing

HIMSS Media

Last year, at HIMSS18, nearly 45,000 people came together based on a shared interest in health information and technology. For health information and technology (HIT) marketers, the HIMSS annual conference is a huge opportunity to foster meaningful connections with the assembled masses.
Of course, thousands of connections can’t happen at scale in session halls, or via face-to-face encounters alone. Naturally, the allure of wider-reaching personal connections is what draws marketers to explore social media marketing initiatives to expand the coverage of such connections at live events.
However, the majority of marketers struggle with social media in general (our research puts only 34% of HIT marketers reporting social media effectiveness). So what can you do to find social media success at HIMSS19 and other live events?
Here’s a rundown of 6 insights compiled from HIMSS social media experts and years of historical data:


1. Start with Heart: Identify the human stories to tell behind brands or solutions.

In an excellent reflection on past HIMSS conferences, our own Michael Gaspar writes “A brand’s commitment to the service of users/audience is a signal that they care and are dedicated to being a solution to a real problem instead of a solution in search of one. “ It’s not hard to find stories that hit home in the healthcare information and technology space. Gaspar shares a few stories he observed in his post, but overall, this is a filter through which effective HIT social media efforts should pass: “what will people feel or connect to in our efforts?”

2. Equip Yourself with Insights:

Always know what you can know in prepping for and engaging at a live event. Our own rundown of previous HIMSS conferences can give you a sense of overall audience size. Details of known exhibitors and sponsors can give you a sense of your competition. Rundowns / reports of events from previous years can even give you a sense of what effective conversations look like. There’s a wealth of data on social media to harness, always aim to exploit such insight opportunities.

3. Identify Influencers and Advocates:

Way back in 2012, general social media expert, influencer, and Likeable Media Chairman, Dave Kerpen, explained social media as if it were a cocktail party. Within that metaphor, it’s easy to visualize people  captivating small, circled-together conversation groups, or others echoing, affirming, or supporting their peers. These are your real influencers and advocates – not the people with the biggest followers, or the loudest voices, but the voices people listen to. From our story of HIMSS18  via social media, you can see some of the people who owned the room last year. By finding your influencers and advocates, you help to create a web of validation for your message. These are people who share the conversation with you and for you, though, so always be natural, genuine, and respectful when you interact with them.

4. Compound on Your Impact with Credibility:

In the healthcare information and technology space, credibility is king… and ace, queen, jack, and ten in a winning hand for being heard. Enrich your social media communications with research – both your own, if you have it, and third party studies, quotes from impartial entities, or other trustworthy sources. Live events are places where people are actively looking for new insights. It pays to give the people what they want, and even on that, you don’t have to take our word for it…

5. Define Winning Moments for Your Brand and Your Buyers:

This one is pretty simple, but all too often overlooked – define the outcomes you hope to achieve via your social media efforts, and measure success against them. If you’re aiming to drive buzz with an after party event, have a unique hashtag, or a unique registration link for social media. If success is getting attendees or tweets, measure that. Additionally, measure success in terms of your targets as well; continuing with the offsite party example – if there are photos of attendees having fun, updates of new lessons learned or great times had, that too speaks to success. Basically, call your shots, then hit them.

6. Differentiate Yourself by Deploying Best Practices Your Way:

There are plenty of social media marketing best practices out there already, and plenty of industry-relevant playbooks to follow. We have a whole post dedicated to help differentiate yourself at HIMSS19, but the biggest key to success hinges on how you or your brand put the pieces together on your end. You stand out most at live events like HIMSS19 by identifying your unique angle or perspective – being your most complete, effective “you--” and connecting with others on that level. Understand your strengths, mitigate your weaknesses, and be genuine to your own voice and your own brand.

Of course, if you’d like further help, or further enhancement in your social media efforts for HIMSS19, our HIMSS Media social experts are only a click away…