In-person social-media events are a lot of fun and can be opportunities to grow your audience. Learn 9 tips for taking advantage of these events without being a spammer.
1. Remember, it's about relationships, not numbers
As you'll see in all of the following tips, it's more valuable to build new relationships than to gain new numbers. Relationships are mutually beneficial—in fact, far more beneficial to you both than simply gaining a new subscriber.
2. Connect with others
If you attend an in-persona social-media even with the sole purpose of growing your audience, then you won't find the success you seek. You may come off as a self-promoting, stuck-up person. Instead, attend to connect with people. Create and build relationships. These will help you far more than just adding another subscriber notch to your RSS belt. If you've been involved in local social media enough, then you probably have circles of friends. But at an event, try to not hang out with people you already know. Find new people. Make new friends.
3. Listen and learn
Social-media events contain a lot of information. No matter how much you know, there will always be a new idea or new resource that you hadn't considered before. Many times, these ideas can help you grow your own audience.
4. Join the conversation
If there's an official hashtag, follow and participate in it with great services like TweetChat. After the event, consider following all of the attendees by using a tool like FollowBlast, follow them through TweetChat as you see them conversing, or check the list of attendees if it's publicly accessible.
5. Present a session
If you have a topic you know and are passionate enough to present, then share it! Not all social-media conferences are open to presentations like BarCamp-style unconferences (PodCamps, WordCamps, BarCamps, etc.). But if you can present, you'll grow your audience by gaining trust from your attendees. And people who hear you and like your content will share it with others without your having to even ask them.
6. Be enthusiastic, not shy
Chris Brogan recorded a video welcome for PodCamp Cincinnati. He challenged everyone to not be shy while at PodCamp. If you're shy, then you'll miss so much of the value of being around other people. Enthusiasm is contagious—even more contagious than information. Make a positive, passionate impression on people and they'll remember you and be interested in your other passions.
7. Bring blog/podcast cards
Bring something to give people by which they can remember you: business/blog/podcast cards, stickers, flyers, whatever. But don't just “spam” people by handing these out to everyone you meet or passively placing them on a table. Connect with people before you hand them anything. Your “marketing” material is for followup, not introductions. Maybe you shouldn't even offer a card! Ask for theirs. Read it. Write on it. Ask them questions about it. Engage! Be interested in them, and they'll most likely be interested in you.
8. Be a giver, not a taker
Make your goal to give as much as you can: ideas, connections, information, support, passion, candy, or anything that you can offer. When you give what you have, people will knowwhat you have and most likely come back for more.
9. Followup on new relationships
If met interesting people, followup with them by sending them a message. Thank them for their information, time, meeting, whatever it was. This is where you can mention you podcasts, but don't be spammy about it.
Cincinnati's first social-media conference, PodCamp Cincinnati, was amazing! Check out the website to listen to the sessions as we post them online.
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