Industry conferences offer great opportunities for networking. They’re ideal places to meet new people, catch up with those you already know or finally meet people that you’ve only communicated digitally so far.
This post focuses on how to be effective and make the most of networking at a conference. We will also cover how to get involved and network remotely.
Before You Go
Do your research
In order to get the most out of your conference visits, it is good to do your research and prepare ahead. Most conference organizers publish lists of invited speakers on their websites and some of them even create Twitter lists making it very easy for you to connect with them.
Social Media Examiner organizes two major conferences, and and provides Twitter lists containing all their speakers right on their Twitter profile.
Create a List of People You Want to Meet
With Nimble, you can easily bring Twitter lists into your database straight from the web without having to subscribe. It only requires one click!
Not everybody on a Twitter list you chose will be your target audience so it is understandable not wanting to import all members. With the Smart Contacts App, you can hover over their names (or company names), find out more about them and decided if you want to bring them into your database manually.
Connect Ahead of Time
Once you get the list of attendees or speakers who you’d like to meet, look it over to see who you want to connect with ahead of time. Make sure you follow them on Twitter and walk in their digital footprint to look for engagement opportunities.
Do they have a blog? Do they publish on LinkedIn Publisher? Read through their content, comment on it and share it with your community on social media. Don’t forget to include a contribution by including their Twitter handle or tagging them in the update when sharing on other social media sites. This will ensure that they will get a notification which might result in the thanking you for sharing. If that happens, you have a great opportunity to start a conversation with them.
Once you have already popped up in their feed several times, it might be a good time to send a personalized LinkedIn invite and connect on another platform. Unless you feel it’s the right time already, don’t ask for a meeting yet. Take some more time to engage with their content first.
When you are there
Simply type in their name and watch how Nimble starts building their record for you by searching the web for all their social profiles.
Step 1: Go to contacts
After opening the app, navigate to “Contacts” and click on the plus sign in the top right corner. You wil get the option to add a contact as a person or as a company.
Step 2: Type in the person’s name
Step 3: Sit back and let Nimble build their record for you.
Step 4: Create tasks
Creating tasks can help you make sure that you always follow-up on what you have promised. More on managing tasks inside of Nimble .
No worries! Some conferences like Social Media Marketing World offer virtual tickets which allow you to listen and watch all the recorded session. You will even gain access to a private LinkedIn networking group where you get the chance to connect with peers, help out others and ask questions.
If purchasing a virtual ticket is not an option, you can always follow the conference hashtag online and look for opportunities.
People love to share their experience from conferences. It’s easy to just pull out your phone and take a picture of the presenter and their slides or tweet their quote. Using the conference’s hashtag makes it easy to follow the conversations. Since Social Media Marketing World is starting today, feel free to follow #SMMW17.
Here’s why it might be beneficial to you to keep an eye on what industry experts and other attendees are sharing and saying about the conference.
- Meet New People
Sometimes hundreds of people are talking about a conference hashtag at the same time which gives you an amazing opportunity to jump in and meet new people from the industry.
- Talk to Peers
No matter if you are attending in person or following from home, you will see many of your peers sharing their experience from the conference. Engage with them and further develop or refresh your relationship with them by engaging with their conference tweets.
- Learn Something New
People love to share what they learn from the keynotes they attended and the slide shares the speakers used. Many times, people will tweet out interesting statistics or findings.
- Content Curation
We know that we should always be sharing interesting content with our network on social media. Retweeting or re-sharing something that was tweeted during a conference you follow might be a nice way to refresh your feed and bring value to your followers.
- Staying up-to-date with industry trends and news
Conferences are great opportunities for new announcements. Keep an eye on the conference hashtag stream to see what companies and individuals announce and share.
- Find New Accounts to Follow
Following a conference, stream can help you grow your network and learn how other people and companies do their social media. Follow those you find interesting and add them to a Twitter list. If you want to “spy” on competitors without them knowing, add them to a private Twitter list without following them 😉
- Prep The Ground For Meeting in Person
Engaging with conference goers or others following remotely can give you a great opportunity to engage before asking for an in-person meeting.