With the coming of mega-events like SxSW and other large events, one of the natural questions to ask is, which events should you be going to in order to further your business and your knowledge? The answer is surprisingly simple: whichever events have the people you want to see. Let’s look at a couple of ways you can use simple tools to help make that decision easier.

First, go to Twitter itself. Look at the people who are using the event hashtag of your choice, such as #SxSW:

Twitter / Search - #sxsw

Are any of these people folks you want to meet, people you want to prospect, teachers you want to learn from? Do your homework and figure out if this is your crowd or not. For some people, it’s 100% on target. For other people, it’s 100% irrelevant.

Next, go to the speakers page of any event.

Social Media Conferences

Look at the speaking roster, then start visiting individual speakers’ blogs. Try to read the last 3 blog posts that each speaker has written. If you’ve gotten through 3-5 speakers and not gleaned anything useful from their blogs, then they probably don’t have a great deal to share with you on stage, either.

Third and finally, ask your customers what events they’re attending this year. If you’re considering an event and zero customers mention that event, then there’s a good chance that future business isn’t likely to be found at that event, either. If you have a limited events budget, go to the events where existing paying customers are going, because birds of a feather tend to flock together.

Deciding what events to attend is relatively straightforward: if an event fails all three of these tests, you probably shouldn’t go. If an event nails all three of these tests, get out your credit card and book it.

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