Social media for business isn’t always about making connections online. It’s also about making connections in person and then bringing those relationships online so you can nurture them far more frequently than you could if you had to wait until you saw that person again.
A great way to get in front of new people is to offer to speak at events. I do this a fair amount around Ottawa and it has not only been a great way to grow my network, it’s also been a great way to grow my mailing list.
Today I’m going to share a few tips on what I’ve done with in-person networking and speaking opportunities that you can use for yourself.
Offer to share your expertise
Knowing what value you bring to your audience is key whenever you’re marketing yourself and your business. Come up with a few topics that are in line with your key messages that would be of value to others and offer to share them with the group. This often means a quick 10-15 minute talk, not a full hour or longer.
Some of the main topics that I suggest for myself include:
- Is social media important for business?
- Do I need to send email newsletters?
- How to create a simple plan to simplify use of social media for your business
If you aren’t B2B (business to business) this may feel like more of a struggle, but it's doable, especially if you do the work to find the right event.
- Share personal stories of success that incorporate what you do. This way you’re sharing a lot about your business while also providing them with value.
- Find events that make more sense to your group.
Do you teach “mom and me yoga”? Reach out to some breastfeeding groups, early years centres, pre-natal workshop leaders, etc. and offer to do a 10 minute talk on how to relax, find calm and maybe go through a few simple poses on your own.
Do you clean houses? Find an event that helps promote work life balance and share tips on how to stay on top of cleaning without feeling overwhelmed.
Do you sell shoes? Find some women’s events and offer to talk about the latest fashion in boots or how to transition shoes when fashion changes.
Tips for speaking
If you don’t do much speaking the idea of getting up in front of a group of people and talking about something, even for ten minutes, might feel really scary. Here are a few tips to help:
- Make basic notes (bullet points) so that you don’t end up reading a speech instead of talking to the crowd.
- Have a hand out that you can refer to and look at. It becomes a prop and something to help you stay on track when you lose focus.
- Find someone friendly in the crowd to look at whenever you feel overwhelmed or nervous. There’s always at least one friendly face in the crowd.
How to then get online
One of the biggest reasons you're doing this is so that you can start connecting with the people you're meeting online so, here are a few things to do during and after the event to do that:
- Tell people what you do and carry around a paper newsletter sign up sheet and ask them to sign up to keep getting more free valuable content from you on a regular basis.
- Connect with the people you meet within a day or two on Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter. Let them know it was nice to meet them and that you'd love to keep in touch.
Leave a comment letting me know what kinds of events you've found speaking opportunities at and how well you do at bringing your in-person networking contacts online after the events.
Join us tonight for a Twitter chat about email newsletters from 8-9pm using the hashtag #wwcnewsletters. Twitter chats are a great way to learn a lot in a short period of time AND meet some great people to stay connected to online!