Next month I’ll be speaking at the Legal Marketing Association’s annual conference on … drum roll, please … Social Media Strategies for Small to Mid-Sized Law Firms (along with the esteemed Jayne Navarre and Russ Lawson).

In addition, I have partners speaking or attending conferences across the country on issues that impact their client base. So, I really appreciated Jaffe PR‘s latest newsletter post: The Event Isn’t Over Once You’ve Finished Speaking.

The best way is to create a follow-up plan prior to attending and implement it immediately following the event. Prior to attending the event, ask the conference organizer what kind of information can be shared with you.  Sometimes speakers are given full contact information and allowed a one-time use; other times this information is only available to sponsors.  If that’s the case, you and your firm may decide a small sponsorship is worth it.

  • If you are able to reach out to attendees prior to the event, have a plan for when you follow up and decide what information you will give them to continue the conversation.
  • Network — as much as you can.  Talk to the people who attended your presentation, get business cards, connect with them on LinkedIn.  You never know what might lead to new business.
  • Draft a brief summary of the event and post it to your LinkedIn profile.
  • Use Twitter to reference your presentation and post a link to it.
  • Send a summary of the event, with a presentation link to clients that you think might be interested.
  • Participate in any post-event activities that the conference has planned and stay in touch with the conference organizer for future engagements.

I’m going to add a few more bullets to this list:

  1. Use your firm’s blog, or your personal blog, to start highlighting the topics you will be speaking on at the conference.
  2. Most conferences are now setting up LinkedIn and Facebook Groups where you can connect with attendees prior to your event. Check your conference’s website.
  3. Build enthusiasm for your session (and the conference in general) by contributing to the pre-conference conversations on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.
  4. Make certain to build your conference network before leaving your office. I have set up a Twitter List for those attending LMA 2010 while Lindsay Griffith is keeping a tally over on her blog.
  5. Post your presentation and handouts to your firm’s blog for conference attendees (and those who could not attend) to download.
  6. Stay connected while you’re at the conference:
    • Don’t forget to blog while you’re away. If you can’t blog live, at least provide a short recap of the sessions you attend before hitting the reception!
    • Follow the conference Twitter hashtag (#lma10 for us).
    • Live Tweet sessions.
    • Post comments to the LinkedIn discussions.
  7. Attend, or lead, a Tweet-up! Very easy to do. Pick a location and a time, then send out the Tweet to the conference hashtag.
  8. And, best advice I can give you … maximize your time at the conference, meaning: DON’T SPEND THE CONFERENCE IN YOUR HOTEL ROOM WORKING. Use the conference for face-time interactions with your client, prospective clients, referral sources and influencers. Then, go back to your office and connect with everyone on LinkedIn and start to follow them on Twitter. Continue the conversation, and continue building those relationships.