Editor’s note: Baillie Buchanan is co-founder and chief revenue officer, Research for Good, Dallas. This is an edited version of a post that originally appeared here under the title, “Making the most of conferences when you’re not attending.”  

Conference season is busy and expensive! It’s near impossible to attend every conference – there are so many now that they are starting to overlap. Not to mention the expense of registrations and travel/accommodations, and the commitment to spending that much time out of the office. Whether you’re a sole-proprietor or one of many on a large team, it’s likely you’re not going to every upcoming conference.

While members of our team were able to attend SampleCon, Quirk’s Orange County, Quirk’s Brooklyn and London Insights, there are others we won’t make it to. Here are our tips for making the most of a conference you’re not attending.

Follow the conference hashtags during each event. This predominantly happens on Twitter – but it doesn’t hurt to watch LinkedIn. Speakers and attendees often tweet or post interesting quotes, facts and tidbits from the presentations. You’ll start to see what the major trends are; highlights from the popular talks or booths; and what people in attendance are learning.

Bonus tip: If you can’t find a conference-specific hashtag (some conferences are better at owning this than others) watch the #mrx hashtag the day of the conference, most people will use a conference tag in conjunction with #mrx to reach a wider audience so you should be able to track it down if there is one.

Use Twitter or LinkedIn to join the conversation happening around the conference in real time. Post a question as a follow-up to a presentation topic you saw mentioned. Tweet @ the speaker to initiate a post-conference conversation if you’re particularly interested in their presentation, findings or product. Share and re-tweet interesting factoids and ...