Social media marketing events are happening all around us and with every one there are new opportunities waiting to be had. However, without setting your intentions before attending, your mind doesn’t know what to be on the look out for and you will miss golden opportunities right in front of you.
When I say “intention”, I mean much more than just a casual “when I get there I’m hoping to meet so-and-so”. Intentions are when your thoughts, desires, and focus are all in harmony. Be clear (focus) on your business objectives (dreams) and your thoughts will line up to start noticing opportunities. They will be attracted to you. (Be sure to check out Hardwiring Your Brain for Marketing Success!)
Intentions are important in any area of your marketing success, but especially when attending live events because things are constantly moving and changing. Your chance to talk or network face to face with a top influencer can be a fleeting moment that you may never see again.
Below are 8 intentions to get you started, but take the time to put some thought into them and make them your own. Really dig in and you’ll be amazed at how opportunities just appear because your thoughts are focused on finding them.
1. Make a list of questions
Before you go to the event sit down and think about your business goals. You should already know what you intend to accomplish and have a plan on how to get there. If you’re really working towards your goals and you’re growing, chances are you will have hit a few forks in the road or may need a little advice from someone more experienced.
Write those questions down that you’ve been holding in the back of your head that’ve been keeping you from taking your business to the next level. Sometimes you don’t even know what it is that’s holding you back….thinking about it will bring to the surface what the real reason is. Once you know what it is, think about questions you might ask and who might be the most qualified to answer. Seek out those experts while you’re there.
2. Plan A Mini-Interview With Your Top Picks
These questions are different than the ones you prepared in step one. Those questions focused on you and your specific business ideas or roadblocks you’re experiencing. These are about the Speaker and their business success. You might even consider video taping and posting to your blog as a mini-interview.
Write down who you want to meet while you’re at the event and make a list of all the questions you want to ask them. If you know someone you admire or respect in your industry is going to be there write their name and some specific questions about their success like, “What are the thee most crucial things you did that got you to where you are today?” Or, “If you were starting all over again what advice would you give yourself?”
3. Research The Event Speakers
Many times you may attend an event that has well known Keynote Speakers, but you may not be familiar with some of the workshop Speakers or Presenters. Before you go to the event do your homework and find out everything you can about the Speakers: what their latest project is, what’s their specific niche in the industry, who do they associate with, what are some of the latest conversations they’ve been having?
The best place to start is their blog’s “About Me” page to get some background information, then browse the rest of their blog to see what kind of content they are putting out. Check their Twitter conversations and blog commenting. You can check Disqus or Backtype to see what comments they have left on other blogs. Get a feel for what they are all about and where their attention is right now so you have something pertinent to talk about.
Once you get to know each of the Speakers better you may find that, while it’s great to meet the big dogs, one of the other Presenters may be someone more in line with your business desires. Be prepared when you go….have set intentions.
4. Buddy Up
Find a live event buddy and hold each other accountable. You may not be able to attend all the workshops at the live event but if you have a buddy you can split up and agree to share notes after the event. How many times have you taken tons of notes and then gone home to set them on a shelf to never look at them again? Use the buddy strategy to hold each other accountable to actually do something with your notes.
When the event is over meet with your buddy before you part ways to debrief and set your intentions on what you’re each going to implement, Write down the action steps for when you get home. Set an appointment to meet with your event buddy no more than 3 days after the event. Don’t let the inspiration fade. Then agree to have accountability chats once a week to see if you you’re completing your action steps.
This may morph into a partnership or a joint venture. So make sure you find a good buddy!
5. Craft your brand
When you go to a live event you need to brand yourself just like you would online. Have your 3 minute elevator speech memorized so when you meet someone you can quickly share. Your intentions should shine through and your brand should be easily understood. Boil it down to three things:
- Who you are
- What you do
- Why you are here
For example, if I was going to a live blogging event I may say something like, “My name is Coree Silvera from Market Like A Chick. I share principles behind marketing with social media and event community management. I’m here to stay on top of the latest trends in social media and to meet other people in the industry.”
I tell those I meet enough about me so that they can ask some specific questions, like what is event community management, or how did you get started. Then you can have a meaningful conversation instead of, “Where are you from?” Or, “Man, it’s hot/cold!”
6. Have Business Cards
Give yourself a few weeks ahead of time to order just in case. Make sure you have your contact information on the front and your brand’s tag line on the back. Or, if you’re an affiliate marketer, you can put the URL to your top three affiliate links. You might also print a special discount on product/services on the back of the card to encourage them to look further.
Be sure to include your social networking user names so it’s easy to find you. One of the most annoying things is to go to a social media marketing event and get a business card without the person’s social media info. At least include your Twitter name.
Remember the goal is not how many cards you give out but how many you get so YOU can follow up with them. If they don’t have a card write down their info so you can follow up with them. Or, if you are really smart, one of the best ways to exchange social media information instantly is with a Poken! They are neat little gadgets that just take a click of a button to sync each others info onto a USB stick and save to your computer.
7. Stay Organized
As you get those questions you wrote down answered, cross them off your list and make a note of where to find the answer in your notes. Many times the Speaker may answer your question in their presentation so cross it off & make a new question that is more in depth. Whatever questions are left over you can then seek out the proper people to answer them.
Find a system that works for you while taking your notes. Maybe you want to bring a divided notebook for each topic or each workshop. At the very least remember to write the date, name of event, name of workshop, Speaker and the Speaker’s Twitter handle. It only takes a second or two and will save you time later when you’re looking for that tip you heard while you were at the event.
8. Go Early, Stay Late
Some of the best time to network is before and after the event. I know several people that don’t even go to the workshops, but pay to be there just for the networking and hang out in the exhibitor area the whole time. Personally, I want to go to the workshops and learn something new to share with my readers or to enhance my service. So, I don’t have time to network in between workshops.
You’ve probably traveled far and paid a lot of money to come to the event so make the most out of it. Get to the event early and stay late if you can. By doing this you will have a better chance of catching a moment to chat with some of the Speakers. Your time there is valuable there so make the most of it!
Being clear about what your business intentions are and why you are going to the event will make it much more meaningful and you’ll come away with fresh ideas, contacts, and action steps. This is the difference between merely “attending” an event or “intending” to seize every opportunity at an event. Your time and money are valuable, go with purpose!
What’s your best tip to get the most out of a live social media event? Have you ever gone to an event without any clear purpose of what you wanted to get out of it? How can you line up your intentions with the next event you’re planning on attending? Share any stories of how you used an event to create a new joint venture, move past a roadblock, or how you may have missed an opportunity because you weren’t prepared.
To Your Success,
May 4, 2010 9 Comments
Live events are a great way to network with others in your business field. Human interaction builds strong relationships. Also, you get to practice those networking skills in person. But, what events are right for you?
Live events are going on all around you. The trick: knowing where to look.
Where To Find Events of Interest
- Visit your favorite blogs for information. If your bloggers are speaking or attending a conference they will want to let their readers know about it. Most of the time you will see a badge or a list in the sidebar or if they’re very busy speakers you may find a separate page with their engagements listed. Ask for more information if they don’t provide a link.
- Visit forums. Business forums usually have a place where they list upcoming events both online and offline. Check to see which are close to you and if they are on a topic that interests you.
- Visit social networking sites. These are great for business connections. If friends are hosting events or attending, they may post an invite to the event for their business contacts. Read the information and attend.
- See my events list. Since you’re here on my blog I figure you’re interested in some of the same events I am. You can see my wish list of events I’m looking to be SPONSORED for on my Sponsor Me page.
If you’re a business looking for a professional conference blogger that’s the page to find one! Whether it be me or another blogger, it’s important to know how to reach out to a blogger and find the best match. I wrote an article on Branding With Blogger Outreach that may be helpful in your approach.
If you’re a blogger that would like to be sponsored for an event, let me know and I’ll post a few of the tips I’ve learned.
JD Lasica put together an awesome Calendar for 2010 conferences and events that lists best social media, technology, media and marketing conferences for the upcoming year. It’s a great starting point for your research.
Finding Events For Your Interests or Niche
The live events you choose may interest you in two ways:
Professionally, choose live events that are relevant to your business. You wouldn’t attend a crafting seminar if you sell gardening supplies. And, you probably would pass on a seminar that highlights how offline businesses can get into online markets if you already own an online business.
It can be hard to decide if you are new to online business. Because you aren’t sure what you need to know, you don’t know what live events will be best for you. Here are some pointers:
- Check geographic location – Your first time out, you might want to stay close to home to lower costs. Money is often tight when you just get up and running.
- Look at event registration costs – Now, money is not the only consideration. As the fees get more expensive, your attendees will reach a different caliber as well. And, some events are tax deductible as a business expense. What we are talking about here is to see if you can swing the cost for a highly rated event that will benefit your business in many ways. Or you could consider offering your promotion skills for a brand that can’t attend an event and be sponsored to go.
- Look at the speakers – Who is coming that you really feel you can learn from? Don’t go just because the speaker is well known…make sure their topic and speaking style is going to be something that you will be able to absorb and implement in your own business. If the speakers are some of your favorite bloggers or online business owners that you have been wanting to meet, don’t pass up the chance to have your questions answered and gain some insight.
Choosing a live event to attend doesn’t have to be a hard decision. Gather as much information as you can about upcoming events, their location and fees so you can map out your networking strategy. Be prepared with which sessions you want to attend, who you want to meet with, and what you will say when you do meet your mentors in person. (Perfect that elevator speech!)
What events are you planning on attending this year? Why did you choose those? Have you found any other sites that list upcoming events that you can share? Please leave your questions or tips below in the comment section. I love hearing from you!
To Your Success,
P.S. –> When you attend events your goal is to network and collect as many contacts as possible to follow up with later. Show your digital style, save precious time, and stay organized with a sweet little gadget called Poken. You can collect social network info with one touch of a button and it’s saved forever. Check out the post I wrote on How To Exchange Social Media Contact Info Instantly at Events for more info on Poken.
March 12, 2010 5 Comments