Marla Bosworth is the founder and owner of Back Porch Soap Company. She teaches classes, corporate events and experiences including candle making, soap making, organic skincare and perfumery.

March 31, 2011

HSMG Conference Tip 3 of 5: Time to Get Your Social Media Game On

Today I booked my flight to Miami for the Handcrafted Soap Makers Guild (HSMG) Conference in May. It's hard to believe that the conference is only a little over a month away. This blogpost is the third of five in a series of conference tips and focuses how to get your social media game on before, during and after the conference.

If one of your goals is to meet and network with industry peers and experts, then reach out to them prior to the conference through Facebook, Twitter and blogs. First, simply head over to the Handcrafted Soap Guild Facebook page to chat with other attendees and HSMG members. Besides making new friends there and joining in on the conversation, you can join other soapmakers' fan pages and help promote each others' business.

Donna Pixton-Hacker, owner of The Chamomile Cottage (Mount Laurel, NJ) agrees. "One of the really fun parts of being at the HSMG Conference is taking photos of my new soapmaker friends and posting it on their Facebook page to show their friends and customers the lengths we go to keeping our businesses growing and learning," she said. "We will Tweet on each other's pages, post Facebook messages on each others' walls. It also gives us a short journal of the people we have met and the things we learned while at conference. I have spent many nights going back through my posts to recall what someone else captured from a speaker's presentation that I may not have gotten from it. So, I continue to learn from others long after the conference has ended."

As Donna mentioned, jump onto Twitter where you can find the Soap Guild under @TheSoapGuild. By following the Soap Guild you'll stay up-to-date with their posting. While there, enter in #SoapConf11 in the search box. It will populate results for anyone mentioning the conference. Using the hashtag (#) is a great way to meet attendees before the conference and keep in touch with them during and afterwards. I make sure I Twitter during the conference, and check the daily feed throughout the day to find real-time news, tips and funny stories.

Sara Nesbitt, owner of Sara's Soaps 'n Such (Burgaw, NC) did just that at last year's conference in Denver. "It's all about the hashtag," she said. "Use it on Twitter to find other Twitter users who are planning on going to the conference, who are tweeting from the conference and who are talking about it afterward. I didn't know about the hashtag prior to the conference last year, but I connected with several people online using it during and after the conference. That has led to anticipating this year's conference or future conferences and excited chatter about meeting."

An added bonus of using social media to keep up with conference happenings is the impact it can have on your business. Pixton-Hacker said, "I have noticed when my other HSMG Soapmaker friends do the same for me (post pictures on her business page from the conference) it boosts my customers' interest in what I'm doing, selling, or creating."

Lastly, use a search engine such as Google or Bing to search for recent blogposts on the HSMG Conference. You'll find companies and vendors who plan on attending and can comment on their blogpost, follow them on Twitter and Facebook, or simply email them to let them know you'll be at the conference.

Stay tuned for Tips 4 and 5 to be posted later this week: Why You Should Pack an Extra Suitcase and How Not To Miss Each and Every Workshop.

See you in Miami!

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