By Alon Alroy
So you’re off to a business event, trade show or conference. Are you ready to maximize the results of the event? Try these tips to put social media to work for you and help create long-term relationships.
Before the Event
o Discover interesting events to attend by browsing event discovery solutions such as Eventbrite, Meetup, Bizzabo and conferencehound.
o Join the event’s mobile networking app or online community (such as its Facebook group or LinkedIn group).
o Scope out dedicated event hashtags, “listen” to conversations surrounding the event, and pinpoint key voices and players within the industries/topics.
o Join third-party online communities for event-goers (such as through LinkedIn).
o Reach out! Twitter and event networking apps such as Bizzabo are open networks for starting conversations. If you see someone interesting, don’t be afraid to suggest a meetup at the event you’ll both be attending. Make sure to explain why you want to meet and what you have in common.
o Follow speakers and panelists on Twitter and engage in conversations on topics you’re interested in.
During the Event
o You are going to meet tons of people you won’t remember. Make sure you track “leads” or people you are interested in meeting using a mobile app or an event’s social site. Bizzabo, for example, helps you to mark interesting people as “leads” so it is easier to follow up later on.
o Follow the event hashtag to see who is looking to reach out, or who is tweeting about what interests you.
o Check-in on social media, such as Foursquare and other mobile apps, to announce that you are at the event and looking to meet like-minded individuals.
o Use direct messaging and in-app messaging to arrange face-to-face meetings with contacts you reached out to before the event. This in-person connection will further strengthen your relationship and future digital engagement.
After the Event
o Following up is key. You want your connections to not only remember you but also see that you have a genuine interest in maintaining a mutually beneficial relationship.
o Follow leads and interact with them on Twitter, use a mobile networking app to save the profiles of people you met, and connect with interesting attendees through LinkedIn to facilitate future engagement and social interaction.
◦ Make use of the business cards you collected by scanning them into a mobile app such as CardMunch or Evernote Hello.
Alon Alroy is co-founder of Bizzabo, the leading mobile networking platform for event organizers and attendees that integrates social media to build highly interactive event communities, helping organizers, sponsors and exhibitors to engage directly with guests and seek out meaningful new business opportunities.