Despite all the hoopla surrounding online marketing and social media, one thing that keeps hitting home to me time and time again is the huge value associated with face-to-face activity, specifically events.
We can look at events in three ways: attending an event, running an event or speaking at one. For this post I’m going to focus only on the attendance of events.
Let’s be clear: events have always been an effective way to connect with new people (potential clients/influencers/business associates) and reconnect with existing contacts.
However, strategically using social media in tandem with your event-based activity will ensure you get the most out of your efforts because, let’s face it, attending events can be a time-consuming business.
Here are three tips on how to get the most out of events using social media.
(NOTE: These tips will vary in their applicability depending on what type of event you’re attending. Is it an industry networking get-together? A training seminar? A conference, perhaps?)
- Cover the event using Twitter. Two areas to look out for: (a) report interesting snippets/quotes/sound bytes from the speakers or comment on things they are talking about; (b) take photos of participants and upload them into your tweet stream. Ditto LinkedIn and Facebook (whichever platform you feel the most comfortable with). I tend to use Twitter because I get more timely reaction from my network.
- Write a blog post after the event if it was interesting enough and you feel your readers would derive value from your opinions and observations. The post may be an overall snapshot of the event, or you might hone in on one particular speaker. Perhaps you might like to take along a Flipcam or use your iPhone to interview participants or one of the speakers and then post it to YouTube and your blog. You can then link to the post via Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to ensure broader distribution of your work.
- Send a LinkedIn invitation to connect with people you met at the event. Get into the habit of doing this within 24 hours. If you collect business cards, consider using an app such as CardMunch. (Take a picture of the card using the app, and it converts to a contact automatically. It will also show LinkedIn profile information and connections you have in common.) You might do likewise with Twitter if the people you meet are on the platform.
In today’s hyper-connected marketplace, where the temptation is to build your network using mainly social networking channels, it’s even more important to get out there and press the flesh.
However, when you combine the two—when you ‘socialise’ events and extend your involvement via the likes of Facebook, Twitter and your blog—it shows you’re not only out and about, active and connected, but also you’re adding value to your community of followers and contacts. And this can only be a positive thing for your personal brand.