Fact: I attend a lot of business conferences and online webinars. Whether it's surrounding content creation, social media, marketing, Facebook, inbound marketing, you name it — I love soaking up all there is to know about my niche. Not only are these conferences the perfect incubator for learning what actions and strategies resulted in WINS, and which ones were a FAIL for other companies (so I can take shortcuts on my road to world domination), but they're amazing networking tools that allow me to rub elbows with some of the top luminaries in my industry.
Pro Tip: Always keep your business cards on you at all times. You never know who will be eating their boxed lunch next to you or bump into you as you take the first sip of your vodka martini at happy hour.
And there are conferences for everything. You name it, there's usually a bunch of people that want to meet up and talk about it. Technology, business, marketing, food, wine, fitness, fashion, film, toys, antiques, boating, blogging, surfing, and I could literally go on and on. Good news is that these conferences are tax deductible if it relates to your business so flying across the country, learning, and mixing with fellow nerds in your niche is a little less of a burden on your wallet.
I get straight to the point and tell you how a conference can be beneficial for your real life and Twitter contacts below.
Conferences have come out of the stone age and into current times — there is usually always an associated hashtag, with organizers encouraging its use to send live questions to panel moderators, win prizes, and continue the conversation with your fellow conference goers. If you use Twitter and this hashtag wisely, conferences could also act as a catapult for you on Twitter, raising your follower count, and adding new and interesting thinkers to your virtual network. Here's a few examples of awesome Twitter interactions to consider while at a conference:
- Facts from panelists
- Quotes from keynote speakers
- Chiming in with your two cents
- Retweeting fellow attendees
- Asking thoughtful questions
- Uploading photos from the ground
Even if the panel or speaker is less than thrilling, don't just sit there counting down the minutes until you can dive into that plate of cookies during your next break — get involved! Be vocal! Have an opinion! Ask questions! Be present. I mean, hell — you did pay for this, right? Make the most of it.
I recently attended an hour-long, free online webinar and ended up with over 100 new followers. How? By all of the things I mentioned above — posting quotes and facts, retweeting others, asking questions, summarizing facts in real time, and chiming in with my thoughts and examples. Of course, not all of these followers would stick around after seeing what else I tweet about on a normal basis (where else are you going to find content marketing info along with shirtless Ryan Gosling and fashion finds?), but a lot of them did and now my follower list is full of other professionals in my industry.
Twitter really is an amazing networking tool if you use it right. Harnessing the power of the conference and utilizing the hashtag can be very useful in growing your network. You might even make better acquaintance of some of the folks you meet there (online or in real life) and go on to help each other's businesses in direct or indirect ways.
This is just one simple way to up the ante on Twitter, but also a fan-frigging-tastic way to get to know other professionals and build a thriving business.
Have you attended a conference before? I'd love to know a few things:
- What was your experience?
- Do you have any networking tips to share?
Let's discuss in the comments or on Facebook!