I spent a lot of the past weekend at the 40th anniversary SCBWI Summer Conference, having a grand old time. As always, though, events like it must come to an end. With social media, however, it’s possible to build on the experience.
Here are six steps I take that I think help me get the most out of the events I attend. As always, I’ll be curious to hear what you do, too.
If you met folks you liked at a conference/event you attended, make an effort to connect with them so you can continue the relationship you started in person.On Twitter and Google+, you don’t even need permission: you can follow someone or add them to your circles.
On Facebook or LinkedIn, to stay connected directly needs to be a mutual decision: you’d send a friend or connection request and have the other person confirm it. Add a note when you send the request to help the other person place you.
On Facebook, you can also look for someone’s Page and “like” it to stay connected.
CHECK WHO CONNECTED WITH YOU
I noticed that I had about 20 new Twitter followers one morning this weekend. Some of the folks were people I’d followed when I’d seen them tweeting at the conference. Others, however, had probably seen my tweets and followed. By checking it out, I found great people to connect with who I might have otherwise missed.
Similarly, on Google+, Facebook, or wherever else you’re active, check to see who’s now connected with you and decide if you want to keep that connection going.
I love to review the tweetstream from conferences I go to, as I know I miss a lot during the event. And I mean miss a lot of tweets AND miss a lot of what happened at the conference. So, once I’m home, I use Twitter search to check out the action there.
Not only do I find folks to follow, but I also am reminded of great moments AND often realize there was something I missed that I should seek out information about.
I also read blog recaps of the event for the same reasons… and to find new blogs to follow, too.
JOIN IN THE CONVERSATION
If you blog, right after a conference is a good time to get up some good content since a lot of people are checking out new-to-them blogs. You can type up a recap if you’ve got an interesting take, great quotes, or something of value to offer up, but the content doesn’t have to be related to the event you were just at at all.
The idea is simply that it’s a great time to be participating in the broader conversation, whether you use it as a time to offer up something totally new or to continue with what you and your blog are all about.
On Twitter, Facebook, and other networks, you can continue conversations started in person or jump in with other people who were at the event but you might’ve missed. You can create content based on your experiences or what you overheard. You can also just be active in other ways to create opportunities for further conversation and connection.
This is also a great time to leave comments on blogs, Facebook, and the like. You want to interact with folks, not merely connect once and disappear. Making an effort now not only keeps you visible, but it gets you in the habit of talking with new folks.
THINK OF WHO YOU CAN BRING TOGETHER
Not everyone gets to go to events, yet quite often we meet people who we know would either hit it off with friends of ours or benefit from knowing. Sometimes we know of missed connections even though folks were in the same place.
After a conference is a great time to help make those connections on Twitter, Facebook, or via email. It’s a great time to introduce people. It takes effort for sure, but you know you’d love it if someone did it for you!
As much as all the above steps can be productive, they might not be right for you. This is a great time to reflect on how you’re using social media. For example, it’s a good time to make sure you know your goals. It could be that none of the above steps would help you reach them. Or… perhaps they do.
Whatever questions you ask, trust your answers… or, if no answers are forthcoming, work to find them. Social media can eat up a lot of your creative time, and that’s probably not a productive thing. Keep a focus on what you need, and use the big event as a way to keep yourself on track.
As always, you might do things differently… and I’d love to hear about it. And if I met you this past weekend, well, I sure hope we’ll stay connected!