It never fails. Each time I attend a big event like I did this week at Dell World, I am awed, amazed and inspired.
My favorite part of these events? The networking. Yes, you read right. I LOVE the networking!
Now this wasn’t always the case of course. There was a time when I absolutely hated networking and avoided it at all costs. Unfortunately, I realized that cost was way too high and my business couldn’t grow and succeed without it. So, I did what I always do when I have to do things I don’t like. I found a way to make it easy, effective and fun!
I learned how to use Social Media to become a networking rockstar and never looked back!
Social Media made it easy for me to begin the “know, like and trust” process before the event even got started. Instead of going in worried about what people would think of me, what I was going to say to all those strangers, etc. I went in excited about meeting face-to-face with the people I had been talking to for days, weeks or months. I actually looked forward to networking events!
Here are some tips to get you on the right track and looking forward to networking:
1. Follow the organizers of the event on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc. Wherever they are, connect and interact. You will get inside information that may not be available elsewhere about the event, you’ll immediately get to know the “who’s who” list and can begin engaging with attendees and presenters through comments and discussions.
2. Find other attendees on Social Media. Take a look at their bio and decide if they would be a good connection for you. Follow or friend them and begin a conversation about the event. Ask about their business and if there’s anything you can do to help them prior to the event. If you are helping them now, imagine what they’ll be saying about you at the event!
3. If there isn’t one already setup, schedule your own Tweetup. Invite those you’ve met through Social Media to have drinks or just gather together the first night of the event. Don’t forget to invite organizers and presenters as well. You’re spreading the word about their event and showing initiative so it is likely they will show up to see how it turned out and to meet you.
4. Use Social Media to connect with those who were unable to be there. Don’t rub in that you are there and they aren’t. Give them actual info about the event. Share tidbits of information with them and get to know them. Let them know that you are looking forward to meeting them at a future event.
5. Continue to use Social Media to keep in touch after the event but do not, I repeat DO NOT, automatically add everyone who gave you a business card to your email marketing list. Send them an email saying it was nice to meet them. Thank them for connecting with you. Maybe ask them if there is anything you can do to help their business. Then, ASK them if they would like to receive emails from you. Let them know when they should expect to receive them and what type of information or offers they will see in them.