By Kindle Fahlenkamp Morell
Editor's note: Excerpts from this posting were taken from a two-part Q&A on GroundFloor Media's Blog.
Whether you're following the 2013 Colorado Health Symposium online or in person, our social media strategy aims to move the discussions at the Symposium beyond the walls of the Keystone Resort & Conference Center.
Because the Symposium always gives participants new ideas for improving health and health care in their communities, social media is vital to the conference for several reasons.
First, it enables those who can't attend in person to view live presentations on our Ustream channel. Online participants can share their thoughts or question Symposium speakers at the end of their sessions via Ustream or Twitter.
Second, for those who attend the event in person, social media captures ideas and key takeaways from each session. Through our @HealthSymposium Twitter account (we use the hashtag #13CHS), we provide context, links and further reading for our sessions as well as retweeting – often inspiring ideas and discussions away from the podium.
By hosting live streaming, we essentially double the number of people who take part in the Symposium, which draws a live audience of about 500 attendees every year.
But social media also is a valuable addition for the people who are at Keystone for the event. We have seen an increase over the past three years of people in the conference who use Twitter to share and enhance their experiences. For those attendees who participate onsite or online, it's a great way to meet people and share thoughts.
For 2013, we are changing our social media strategy in a couple of ways. We will not post blogs or send emails during the event. Instead, we will share big takeaways through Facebook and Twitter and save them for after-the-event wrap-ups. We also launched the Colorado Health Foundation's Instagram account prior to the Symposium. We will supplement Instagram with an onsite station that prints pictures with our conference hashtag (again, #13CHS).
This year, we've asked staff members who are active online to act as social media ambassadors for the Symposium. They will tweet throughout the conference – including tweets from the discovery sessions that we don't stream. Our ambassadors also will be on hand to help interested attendees participate in Twitter and Instagram.
Instagram changes our approach a bit – while adding even more fun to the event. Onsite, this year's Symposium offers lots of healthy activities for participants – while providing plenty of photo ops. We'll also ask attendees to share their takeaways and goals for the coming year through photos. Attendees can then choose to print their photos so they can take home a visual reminder of the event.
Social media not only enables participants to take part in the discussions from the Symposium outside the conference center, it also allows those discussions to continue after the Symposium officially convenes on Aug. 9. We'll continue to post blogs, enewsletters and online exclusives about the Symposium throughout the year, dovetailing to the next Colorado Health Symposium, July 23-25, 2014.
The 2013 Colorado Health Symposium is SOLD OUT, but you can register online to connect with live streaming, email updates and other Symposium-related content.
Kindle Fahlenkamp-Morell is the electronic marketing and multimedia manager for the Colorado Health Foundation.