When you are headed off to a big national conference, undoubtedly, you get a lot of pre conference solicitations. The snail mail starts coming 45 days out, the phone starts ringing about 30 days out and the email starts around the time you sign up as a confirmed registrant. Vendors want to connect with you and they allocate a good portion of their annual budget to the effort. They want solid leads that turn into demos, that evolve into live trials and hopefully a sale.
The social media channel is new territory for vendors. Sure, social has been around for many years now, but Twitter has just started to reach mainstream status with some vendors. The problem is, they are blasting the conference stream with traditional marketing material and noise about their products. Most are not adding any value to the conference attendee's experience.
"Stop by our Booth for a chance to win..."; "Sign up for a demo"; "Our Big Announcement is a new version of the old thing you didn't buy" and a favorite "Our CEO is at the show, come see him/her" are all very typical Social messages dominating conference streams.
What vendors should do is listen first. Read what attendees are posting and what they are looking forward to seeing/doing at the event. Then they should cater their outbound messages to the conversations going on. Are people abuzz about eDiscovery? Tweet out your latest survey results with a golden nugget about eDiscovery no one has heard before. Be unique, original and helpful. Tweeps will notice and thank YOU for your content and they will want to learn more.
One last word of note. Some brands and social media managers are too sweet, too personal or too peppy. People see through this, be genuine and real. Don't insert yourself into a discussion unless you have something to add. The 'me 2' tweets are just noise. We are searching for the signal and you have lots of good things to share.