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Using Social Media at Events to Build Your Network

Social Media at Events

You’re seeing that maintaining all of the popular social media networks can take a lot of time, and in addition, you’re running out of things to talk about. Who cares? Nobody’s posting on your Facebook Page anyway, right? You don’t even know who your “followers” are. So how are the businesses around you getting started in social media and seeing returns on their investments? We invite you to begin building your social media community with the people you meet and talk to every day.

Attend Real-Life Events

Foursquare at Events

We used Foursquare to start a conversation about a local networking event with our Chamber of Commerce community.

Before anybody tweets anything, we need to be clear that social media is merely a supplement to your businesses real-life presence, and not a replacement. Ok, good! Now that’s on the table, we’ll need to get you and your staff out to events to shmooze with your business community.
These events don’t need to be social media related, but in case that’s were you’re looking to start, here’s a great post about hosing local tweetups. Tweetups are real life gatherings organized via twitter using #hashtags. For example, the hashtag #SMW12 was used to organize the conversation around Social Media Week 2012. Tweetups provide an opportunity to meet people in your industry who are very active online and can be valuable assets to your network. Tweetvite is a resource that is helpful to find tweetups in your area.

Non-social media related events can be found nearly anywhere. Attend events through your local chamber of commerce, networking group or professional organization. When you attend these events, make it a point to share your experiences in the following ways to generate buzz within your social media community:

  • Share the event with your online network ahead of time and invite your community to join you.
  • Check in to Foursquare and seek out others who are checked in to the same venue.
  • Share photos on Facebook from your phone while you’re at the event or from your computer when you get home. Tag people in your photos to engage with them.
  • Tweet your experiences and communicate with others using the event’s #hashtag. If the event doesn’t have a hashtag, kindly suggest that the host creates one and publicizes it.

Interacting with People at Events

Network with people as you would normally. At the end of your conversation after the business card exchange, kindly ask people if you can follow up with them via Facebook or LinkedIn to set the expectation that they’ll be receiving a notification from you on one of their social networks.

If you take photos with guests during an event, be sure to ask them for their permission to post the pictures on Facebook. When you follow up with them, you’ll be able to tag them in your photos which will serve as an invitation for them to interact with you and your brand.

Facebook Photos for EventsInviting others to follow you and your brand on your various social networks is becoming a very common request at networking events both social media related and not. We highly recommend it. Social media followups are more effective than email followups because they allow you to keep track of your new contacts in lists based on the community you met them in. For example, on Facebook, keep track of your new Facebook friends from the chamber of commerce in a chamber list, so that you can view those contacts and their updates without all of your other friends’ status updates getting in the way. Say goodbye to unanswered followup emails and forgotten contacts in your address book!

Following Up With New Contacts via Social Media

With email:

 Dear Morty,

It was a pleasure meeting you last night at insert event name here. The insert discussed topic here we spoke about was very insightful and I think there’s an opportunity for us to work together. I’d like to meet you for coffee sometime this week. I’m available Tuesday or Thursday 3pm. What times work for you?

-Brian

One week later…

Dear Brian,

Oh man, you know I’ve just been so swamped with work this week and I didn’t get your email until just now. I’d really like to work with you guys on insert name of thing you talked about. I’m going to be out of town for the next four and a half weeks, but let’s together when I get back. Cheers!

-Morty


With Social Media:

 Dear Morty,

I posted the photos of us from last night at insert event name here. It was really great getting to know more about your business, and I had no idea you were so passionate about hummus. That’s my favorite food as well. There’s a great Mediterranean place down the street from your office. Would you like to have lunch there this week to talk about how we can work together? I’m available Tuesday or Thursday 3pm. What times work for you?

Here’s the link to the photos on our Social Media Studio Page: https://www.facebook.com/photo-of-us

-Brian

30 Minutes Later on Facebook…

Dear Brian,

Hey, I just happened to be checking my Facebook at the office and I got your friend request. It was great meeting you too! Yeah, I love that place. Are you free today? I know that I’m going to have a very busy week coming up followed by a long trip, and I want to make sure we chat before I go.

That photo is priceless. Thanks for the Facebook tips!

-Morty


Fact: People check Facebook during the workday.

Fact: People are glad to check Facebook during the workday.

Fact: People hate checking email during the workday and often neglect messages from people they’ve never seen in their inbox before.

In addition to sending followup messages, following them on Twitter or, if you know the person better, connecting on LinkedIn are also great ways of keeping track of your contacts. Twitter, for example, allows users to keep track of people using lists – a feature that can be made public or private. Facebook has a similar lists feature that always remains private.

Twitter Lists

Use Twitter lists to keep track of your communities either by interest or by how you met. Share this information with others to be of service to them.

Once you’ve connected with your new contacts online, it’s important to remain engaged with them and maintain your presence. Here are a few simple things you can do to stay consistent:

  • Have your brand interact with their brand on Facebook.
  • Listen for what’s important to them throughout the day.
  • Share helpful information.
  • Invite them to participate in LinkedIn or Facebook groups you belong to.
  • Ask them questions.
  • Invite them to events that will add value.
 

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