It’s almost time for social media marketers of all calibers to flock to San Diego and up their knowledge game at Social Media Marketing World 2019 (#SMMW19). From our own experience, we’ve found that, in the midst of all the keynotes, breakout sessions and sneak peeks of the ocean, what most attendees really want is to connect and network with their peers.
It can seem overwhelming to attempt to network with thousands of people in a short amount of time, but luckily, the Promo.com team has put together some great tips for any industry conference you attend. By attending the #SMMW conference, as well as with many others, we were able to learn the valuable lessons that take place outside of the “official” learning areas.
To maximize your networking ability on a meaningful level, while learning as much as possible, check out these tips (and share yours with us!):
Engage with speakers and attendees via the event hashtag
You won’t be able to talk to everyone at the conference, so maximize engagement by virtually chatting with attendees on social networks.
Hashtags are manually searchable on most social networks, or you can use tools like Tweetdeck, Tweetchat, and others. Almost every conference has its own unique hashtag. For example, Social Media Marketing World is using #SMMW19 for this year’s event.
Look for people who are live posting in sessions, sharing their event photos or just posting that they are at the conference (you can also search the event location on various networks). Once you find them – send a reply. Also, look for opportunities to meet in person while on site by attending a session together or meeting up at the venue.
Pro tip: Is your GIF game strong? You don’t always need a long, thought-out response, especially when a GIF will do.
Create a recap of your favorite session(s)
Whether it’s in a long-form blog post, a LinkedIn article, live stream or edited video – share the lessons that you learned during the conference. Not only will sharing your new-found knowledge will help others, but it will also help you better retain what you’ve learned.
By doing this, other attendees are more likely to share your recap and engage with you about their own experiences.
When sharing your recaps, don’t forget to include the name of the presentation and give credit to the speaker along with any other sources mentioned. If possible, try to take a photo or video during the session to share as well.
You can even use Promo.com to create a video to promote your post.
Pro tip: Keep organized notes in a note-taking tool, like Evernote. This will allow you to go back and easily access your them based on labels, tags, and other keywords. And, if you’re attending with a group, make it a shared folder so you can all compile your notes together.
Make a list before you go
Always check the event website ahead of time. Conferences like SMMW makes it super accessible to see what speakers and guests will take part in the event. If you know you want to network with people in a specific industry, check out the event guide and make a list. You can include their name, contact information and mark their sessions in your calendar.
Before you leave for the event, connect with them on platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin – this way, you’ll have made initial contact before you’re there and may even be able to schedule something in advance.
Pro tip: Keep an easily accessible list of Twitter handles so you can message them quickly.
Order event-specific business cards
It’s easy to get lost in the sea of business cards. All attendees will be exchanging contact information in one form or another, so how do you make yours stand out?
One easy tip is to create a business card for each event you attend. We love Moo.com for their beautiful, easy-to-create cards, but you can use whatever service you’re most comfortable with.
Add the relevant hashtag, tagline, logo or any other visual asset that links your card to the event. When people view your card after the event (days, weeks or months later) they’ll be able to quickly connect you to the conference.
Pack a conference day bag
If you want to stay on site as long as possible each day, make sure you bring a survival pack of essential items. You might wonder how this contributes to learning or networking, but you can’t do either if you’re not on your A-game.
As conference pros, our team has compiled the “must-haves” for a successful day. Print and keep this checklist on hand:
- Power strip
- Backup battery
- Hand sanitizer and wet wipes
- Breath mints and/or gum
- Protein bars (several)
- Extra pens/markers
- Print out of your schedule
- Sweater or layers (conferences can get cold and layers are great)
- Business cards
Stop by our booth at SMMW 😉
In the San Diego area? Stop by the Promo.com booth at SMMW (located at the networking plaza).
Why? Because we can help you create content while on site.
Not only will we have our founder, Tom More, on site, but a huge conglomerate of our Tel Aviv-based team will be traveling to the U.S. to share their knowledge (while learning along with you).
Plus, we have a digital correspondent and consultant, Sarah Evans (@PRsarahevans), as a featured guest in our booth to help you brainstorm awesome video ideas, tips, and tools. You’ll be doing so much networking and learning that we want to make the promotion part as easy as possible for you.
It’s a triple win!
[In the picture: Hila and Tamar from the Promo.com team with Rebekah Radice, at SMMW18]
Create private groups
Did you have lunch with an awesome group of new conference friends or connect with people at the opening night event? Whatever the reason, create a private social chat of people you’ve connected with to make it easy to stay in touch with them long after the event.
You can do this via Twitter Group Chat or any other network of your choice (where the people you met are also active). Label the group with something that includes your event hashtag so you all know where you connected.
You’ll be able to quickly message this group after the conference or in revving up for next year’s event!
Actually attend the sessions
This seems like common sense, but physically getting settled in a seat with your laptop in hand is invaluable. We’ve found that SMMW is one of the most knowledge-rich conferences that exist today so you won’t want to miss a thing! The subject matter experts really know their stuff and are extremely generous in sharing their own personal learning moments-including pitfalls, mistakes, and bumps in the road.
And, if you like what you hear, you can exchange business cards with the speaker and/or other attendees in the room who share your interest.
Pro tip: Sit by people you don’t already know and invite them to meet up after the session to:
- Attend additional sessions together;
- Meet for a quick bite to eat to discuss what you’ve learned; or
- Schedule time to meet after the conference to identify collaborative opportunities
A few SMMW sessions the Promo.com team is excited about:
- Social Media Marketing in 2019: What the Newest Research Reveals By Michael Stelzner, Social Media Examiner
- Facebook Marketing In a Changing World: Your Road Map for The Future
By Mari Smith
- How to Create Videos That Showcase Your Expertise: The Authority Video Method By Amy Landino
- How to Consistently Create Quality Videos People Love to Watch By Cody Wanner
- How to Use Live Video to Amplify Your Brand Exposure By Jennifer Watson (The Weather Channel)
- How to Create an Influencer Marketing Strategy That Generates Results By Neal Schaffer
- How To Create a Content Plan That Scales By Melanie Deziel
- Social Media Marketing for Local Businesses: What Works Today By Bruce Irving
- Marketing Your Business With LinkedIn Video By Goldie Chan
- Using Twitter Video to Grow Your Audience By Madalyn Sklar
- Creating Long-Form Video Ads That Sell By Daniel Harmon
- Video Marketing: How to Generate Leads and Sales With Video By Sunny Lenarduzzi
Send a postcard, card or handwritten note
Sure, this seems old school, but what’s old is new again. If you’re like most of the attendees you’re being inundated with business cards. Take advantage of all the connections you’re making by doing something memorable.
At the end of each day, or during a break, start sending snail mail to the people you’ve met.
There are a few ways you can do this to make it memorable, but not too time consuming:
- Buy bulk postcards or cards and along with postage stamps and bring them with you.
- Use an app, like postagram by Sincerely to write a message and include a photo.
Pro tip: Take a selfie to attach or create a custom SMMW image you can use for postcards.
Interview attendees and create content
Create content while making lasting memories and offer an opportunity for future connections all in one step.
If you run a blog or any other platform for which you need to create content, this is an amazing opportunity. Not only are the speakers super smart, but the person sitting next to you is likely super qualified, too. Take advantage of the sheer mind power in one place.
Once you connect, ask them for an interview in their area of expertise. This can be done in written, video or audio (e.g. podcast) format.
You’ll be able to post this content and tag the attendee, thus making a lasting impression that serves both of you well.
Connect with us on site!
We at Promo.com know how important conferences, like SMMW, are to professional growth, information-sharing, and industry networking. It is our hope to connect with as many of you as possible this year.
Please stop us and say hello, tweet with us, tag us on Instagram and Facebook and let us show you how you can easily promote anything with our tools for digital marketers. In addition, we are offering a free one-month Promo.com subscription exclusively for SMMW19 attendees. Check it out here!
Check out this recap video of Promo at #SMMW18: