How to use social media to stand out from the crowd
May 2, 2019, Author: Candice May
Attending conferences can be a big expense for your business, and it’s not easy to build meaningful relationships and get a return on investment that goes beyond learning for all this. Organisers may try to ease awkward introductions with networking events, and the majority of conference-goers may be interested in networking, but that still doesn’t make it simple. That’s where the value of social media kicks in. Social media tools empower you to accelerate networking, make higher-quality connections and feel less awkward in the process. Here’s how to use them to cut through the noise (or silence) to make the most of your conferences.
If you think that the online conversation only starts when the first session does, think again – it actually starts well before a conference convenes. The first step is to check if the event you’re attending has a Twitter hashtag (#), LinkedIn group or other interactive discussion and join it. Follow the conversation beforehand to find out which topics are hot, set up pre-conference meetings and judge the overall traction that the conference is gaining among influencers. By using Twitter alone, you can also ‘meet’ many people before a conference.
We’re all guilty of studying a conference agenda and selecting sessions that pique our interest ahead of time. But, sometimes, a panel we’re looking forward to will kick off and we’ll quickly realise that the topic or viewpoint is actually pretty dull. By logging onto social media, you can eavesdrop on digital conversations happening elsewhere and vote on your feet. Who knows, you might discover an energetic exchange that’s relevant to your business.
Nurture more meaningful deals
Social media is a fantastic tool for researching the backgrounds and interests of contacts you feel will be most valuable when you meet. When you schedule time to grab a coffee or talk between sessions, your conversation will be more productive and meaningful because you’ll already have an idea of your common interests and experiences. Try to connect with as many people as possible – it will be easy to stay in touch (on social media, of course) long after the event, which in turn nurtures more meaningful deals, partnerships and even friendships.
It’s super-simple to maintain new connections virtually (without filling up your already busy calendar, that is) with the likes of Facebook and Twitter. Even though it eliminates real-world contact, it allows you to stay up to date with what’s going on with the people in your network, and stay on top of trends you’re following. Using social media before, during and after conferences is like taking notes, with the advantage of having dozens (or even hundreds) of others also taking notes and sharing them with you.
Don’t be afraid to spark discussions and connections not only with fellow attendees, but with speakers too. Agree or disagree, chime in with your point of view and have a robust discussion!
Candice, the Editor of Hello Joburg Magazine, is a coffee-drinking, fashion-obsessed lover of anything and everything lifestyle related. She’s also a self-confessed foodie, champagne enthusiast and devoted bargain hunter.