Attending networking events and conferences is a great way to learn about new technology and gather tips for making the most out of your business. If you’re not using these events as a brand-building opportunity, you’re only getting half of the value for your money.
I’ll show you a few easy ways to connect with thought leaders and experts in your industry so you can keep the conversations going from the hallway to home and beyond.
Tip #1. Make a list of the speakers you want to follow and meet in person at the event.
Start following and engaging with them on Twitter and LinkedIn leading up to the conference.
Once you register for an event, take a look at the posted speakers and their session schedule. The first thing I like to do is follow them on Twitter and LinkedIn.
It’s a scary thing to get up in front of a room full of strangers and share personal stories about our work. When someone reaches out before an event, it makes me more comfortable about my talk and I’ll eagerly follow them back and reply to their tweet or LinkedIn post.
Tip #2. Follow the event hashtag.
Every conference has two experiences happening simultaneously. The in-person event and the conversation happening on social media. Take advantage of both. One of the best tips I’ve heard was adding the event hashtag to your profile leading up to and during the conference.
This makes it easy for other attendees who are following the conference hashtag to find and follow you. I personally like to take a photo from the airport or my house the day before the event and talk about how excited I am. I’ll include the hashtag so others doing the same can find it.
Tip #3. Make it easy for others to connect with you.
I like to tweet a selfie with my event badge and a statement about looking forward to meet new connections. It’s not that I’m vain. I want people to see what I look like that day. I’ve noticed that doing this makes others more likely to approach me even though we’ve never met.
— Isaac Irvine (@theisaac) June 8, 2018
Tip #4. Tweet great quotes and slides from sessions.
Since I’ve already done my homework with the speakers I want to hear and I’m following them on social media, I like to tweet photos of them on stage, photos of their slides, and quotes from their session. I’ll tag the speaker in the tweet and use the event hashtag as well.
If you want to really stand out doing this, use a quick photo editor like Canva to add text overlays to photos you took. Unique and engaging photos get shared more, so investing a few minutes on the image is a worthwhile investment.
You’ll find that tweets during sessions are often liked and retweeted by others at the event. The retweets and likes are great ways to find others to follow and build your name as someone that shares good information on a specific topic. As a speaker, there’s no better feeling than replying to tweets from the audience after a session.
Tip #5. Keep the conversation going
The week following an event I like to tweet a thank you to speakers that really stood out and had an impact on me. Conferences can feel like organized chaos at times. So waiting a few days to engage with people you met is a great way to make sure you have their full attention.
Tip #6. Turn session notes into blog posts
My closing tip is a powerful one. Take the photos and notes you took during the sessions to write a recap of the session or highlight how you’re incorporating something you learned at the conference. This is a fantastic way to set yourself and your blog up as a valuable contributor to the community you’re a member of. Sharing your personal knowledge is the best way to establish yourself.
Who knows? Next year it might be you up there on stage.