Attendees at the Financial & Insurance Conference Planners Annual Conference at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach next month should get ready to take their place as trailblazers in the industry. FICP is working with to use social media in an integrated and comprehensive way as a tool for attendee interaction before, during, and after the meeting.

It promises to be truly cutting edge, and enjoyable even if you’re a newbie or don’t have a smartphone (confession: I’m still carrying around an old-fashioned cell phone myself).

Step one for members, hospitality partners, attendees, potential members, and potential attendees is to set up a Facebook account. Here’s a simple guide. Concerned about privacy? Here’s another guide, showing you how to choose the correct Facebook privacy settings.

Step two is to type “FICP” into the Facebook search bar, which will bring up FICP’s Facebook page. Click “Like” to become part of the FICP community on Facebook (what used to be referred to as being a “fan” of a Facebook page). There, you’ll see all the postings of other FICP members, hospitality partners, staff, and friends, and be able to add comments of your own.

This is also where all the social media pre-game action is taking place during the runup to the Annual Conference. You may already have seen FICP’s “Thursday Trivia” and “Friday Find” posts over the past few weeks. The latest series of posts began October 11, with the first of many Presenter Profiles. Annual meeting presenters and speakers are being asked to post some biographical, professional, or session-related information at the FICP Facebook page to spark discussion and pre-meeting social networking.

Keep checking back to learn more about the folks leading the sessions you are planning to attend—and keep the dialogue going by asking questions, making session suggestions, or just adding your two cents. After a few weeks of interacting online, we’ll all arrive in Miami as old friends—and knowing exactly which sessions will give us the best takeaways to justify our investment in the meeting.

Trick or Tweet
Assuming that some people want to tweet about as much as they want a root canal, and FICP have come up with a little motivation. Once a day during the meeting, attendees will be eligible for “tweet rewards.” If you’re following @FICP on Twitter, a tweet will tell you where to go to potentially win a prize. Get started by learning how to use Twitter.

If you show up at FICP still not comfortable with Facebook or Twitter, no worries. Attend’s “behind the scenes” session Thursday morning to learn not only how you can be an active social media participant but to see specifically how the team “socialized” this year’s annual conference, from design to implementation. You’ll walk away with a step-by-step process to create more and deeper interaction at your own events and extend that interaction beyond the live conference dates.

And if there is something specific you’d like to hear about during the social media breakout session, be sure to check out FICP’s Facebook page on November 9. That’s when presenter Sam Stanton from will be posting his profile to the group.

The In-Person Network
Of course, what the FICP Annual Conference has always been about is the incredible in-person networking, learning, and sharing that goes on when members and hospitality partners spend a few days together. Remember that the first thing on the conference agenda this year is the reinvention of the traditional marketplace trade show. It’s now called The Network—a high-energy welcome event that promises to facilitate a lot of interaction and relationship-building between new partners and old friends. It starts at 4:30, so book your flights accordingly!

Full conference agenda and registration information is a click away.