I recently returned from New York City where I attended Blogger Bash. This conference is a meeting place where influencers, bloggers, PR professionals and sponsors can meet, exchange business cards and network. It is a showcase where toy, gaming and entertainment companies like Disney Infinity, Care Bares and Peanuts the Movie gave us exclusives on upcoming toy and movie launches. We were able to meet the cast of the upcoming Peanuts move (or the kids behind the voices).
Conferences like Blogger Bash, Blissdom Canada, Mom 2.0, Type A Parent and BlogHer bring bloggers together in a big, big way. Beyond panels, workshops ad seminars at any given conference you will find there are ample opportunities to meet and network. Be it at breakfast, lunch or dinner, vendor expos, experiential events, entertainment shows, movie previews and private invitations for a select few.
All of this takes place over a few days and can be a world-wind of meetings, handshakes, hugs (as you finally get to meet IRL – in real life). It is also an opportunity to introduce yourself to potential sponsors or companies that may be looking for brand ambassadors, sponsored posts or content providers.
Networking is a fine balance between sponsors and PR agencies telling you about their company and product and you telling them about your blog, your audience and your digital reach or digital footprint in our on-line world. We introduce you to our world and you introduce us to yours and we try to find how we can work together. As a digital media influencer, networking in 2015, you need to be able to keep track of who you spoke to and what they mentioned about a product or service. LinkedIn has a few features that can help you with building that relationship.
After the initial introductions, we proceed to the exchange of business cards. I, personally, find business cards archaic in the digital world but everyone still likes to use them. So once I have passed mine over, I always ask a new contact if they can be found on LinkedIn.
Because LinkedIn has the capacity to keep all your contacts in one place, you can access them whether you are on you computer or your smartphone. More importantly, my new contact has all my contact information right there in front of them. They can view my profile and see that not only am I a blogger, I am also a speaker (on a variety of topics) and twitter party host at LinkedMoms. I also have a list of brands and companies that I have worked with in the past.
Yes, you can find that information out by reading my blog but you can also have all that information, at their fingertips. Right away, they will know that what I am is a ‘professional’ blogger and business owner. It is important that you use LinkedIn to connect with your new found business partners be they other bloggers, brands or PR professionals. Here are my tips on how to use LinkedIn after attending a conference (blogging or otherwise).
Seven Tips to using LinkedIn after attending a Conference
- Make sure that you have introduced yourself and your blog to a potential sponsor and get their contact information. Give them one key piece of information that they can then associate you with.
- Give them a heads up that you will be contacting them through LinkedIn. This lets them be more open to accepting your invitation for adding them to YOUR professional network.
- Keep profile pictures consistent. Make sure that the person they talked to is the same person on all platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest). Remember: do not use logos as a profile picture. Networking is about meeting people and connecting with people. Pictures provide visual cues for the next time you meet them IRL.
- Update your LinkedIn profile so it reflects your most recent posts. If you have started to do more travel posts and less baby post, make sure that you have made it clear that you are opening new categories for a variety of content.
- Make sure to have the contact information easily accessible. Be it an email address or phone number, make it easy for your new contact to get a hold of you. You want to work with them, right?
- Make notes in the ‘relationship’ section of their profile. This lets you record: (1) notes about them – something that you talked about in your first meeting or something that they mentioned; (2) where you met them; (3) reminders for follow up.
ABOVE: notes on what you spoke about or upcoming releases that you would be interested in. Also topics that you might have in common.
ABOVE: Where did we meet? Was it an event, a conference, over dinner with a friend. Maybe someone introduced you, add that reference to your comments.
ABOVE: Set a reminder to follow up after the conference. Maybe you are looking for Holiday Gift Guide content and they wanted you to remind them in September but you are currently in the heat of the summer. Post a reminder to connect with them again.
- Make sure to update your status with mentions of the conference; that you are planning to follow up or ;that you are hoping to reach out to your recent connections. They will see that in their feed if they connected with you. This way, you are keeping them informed and you will be ‘top of mind’.
I connected with quite a few of the people that I spoke to at Blogger Bash right away. Some have already reached out to me to see how we could work together. Some are probably just taking a week off from the craziness in New York. Regardless, if you connect with these people on LinkedIn, you have the ability to keep your name and your blog on their radar.
LinkedIn is where business people connect and network. It’s THE social media platforms for professionals. Use it wisely and you are opening yourself up to all sorts of new blogging (or business) opportunities.