HIMSS17: Taking a Data-Driven Approach to On-Site PR and Marketing

With HIMSS17 around the corner, you likely have your marketing and communications strategy locked and loaded for the conference. Still, we all know that flexibility in planning and real-time communications are key at any event. In order to fully take advantage of the thought leadership opportunities at HIMSS, your organization and key opinion leaders (KOLs) need to be prepared to leverage at-show buzz and engagement. A real-time, integrated communications approach will help ensure that amidst the sea of vendor press releases, your organization stands out.

To highlight some of the more off the cuff opportunities at HIMSS, SHIFT pulled some data and insights to help inform your strategy. The following outlines some quick and easy recommendations to help up-level your real-time HIMSS marketing and communications strategy:

  • Make Time Work for You, Not Against You – We took a look back at HIMSS16 to see when conversation spiked via Twitter. Based on data, there are a few key things to keep in mind. Conversation was most active on the second and third day of HIMSS16. From there, Twitter conversation decreased as the show progressed. With this in mind, look to engage early and often at HIMSS17. In addition, conversation often peaked each day between noon and 2 pm. This means that your lunch time should be focused on Twitter engagement as that is when the bulk of social conversation is taking place.


  • Alert Your KOLs to Media Attending HIMSS – Create a Twitter list of the top 10 reporters that will be at #HIMSS17 and share that list with your KOLs. Encourage them to use their own Twitter handles to engage with key reporters. There are opportunities ranging from providing real-time commentary on articles of interest that the reporters are sharing from the show floor to rubbing elbows at the Tweet-ups and Meet-ups that the media attend. Leveraging the media attendee list and Twitter to focus on relationship building and, in turn, increasing share of voice at the conference is one real-time opportunity.
  • Identify and Engage with the Right Influencers – In addition to engaging with the media, it is important to also consider influencers. However, number of followers isn’t always the best way to weigh where to focus your social engagement efforts from a company and KOL perspective. Based on SHIFT’s READ framework, the following are a few influencers that should be top of mind for engagement at HIMSS based on their strong authority at HIMSS16: @cancergeek, @MandiBPro, @RasuShrestha, @drnic1 and @ReginaHolliday.
  • Think Ahead of Trends – By the time you’re on the show floor, the last thing you want to think about is your content strategy in support of HIMSS. With a few weeks still left before HIMSS, there is still time to pull together some key content to support your efforts at the show. Looking for topics that will be top of mind at HIMSS17? Current trending keywords related to HIMSS17 include data, patient and blockchain. In addition, from a media perspective, we know that topics related to the Affordable Care Act and its fragile state under the new administration are highly prevalent. This presents an opportunity to create a content series that maps back to key topics that will be top of mind at the show. From pull quotes for your KOLs to blog posts and LinkedIn content, using these keywords and trends to guide your content strategy in advance of the conference is a smart way to position your organization and its leaders as experts in health and health IT.

As the largest health IT show, HIMSS can seem daunting even for the most advanced marketer and communications professional. Don’t let all the pre-planning get the best of you. Some of the greatest opportunities for increasing brand awareness and establishing thought leadership positioning come straight from the show floor. By preparing in advance and leveraging data to inform your marcom strategy, you can ensure HIMSS is a lead-gen success.

Katie McGraw
Vice President



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