How to use social media to network before a conference – BlogWorld ’10 examples

Whether you’re a brand or representing yourself at events, there are things you can do pre-conference to get the most bang for your buck. We’ve probably all watched a hashtag to see who is talking about attending an event and gradually jumped in those conversations. Some of us have even planned to meet folks in person that we’ve only chatted with online. So what are some good examples of people or brands doing this? Luckily, a few folks stood out from my recent trip to BlogWorld in Vegas.

Cirque du Soleil and Jess Berlin

Viva ELVIS

Prior to BlogWorld ’10, I had been to Vegas once before. Unfortunately, I didn’t catch any shows when I was there. @JessBerlin manages the @cirque account and I noticed that a few friends were catching shows there. I follow both Twitter accounts and mentioned that I’d love to catch a show while in Vegas if there were any tickets remaining. Jess mentioned that tickets were available to Viva ELVIS and gave me her email address.

I inquired about the price (Vegas shows are usually expensive) to which she replied “$0.00.” The fact that the show was free isn’t really the point, although I’m extremely thankful for that. Jess was aware that bloggers were coming to Vegas and spent some time to reach out to some of them. Turns out… Viva ELVIS was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. I’ve seen a Cirque show at the DPAC in Durham and my wife has seen some Broadway shows… we both agreed that Viva ELVIS was the best we had seen.

Major thanks to Jess, @jamiehelmick and all the @cirque folks that made this happen. It was an incredible experience. Be sure to catch this next time you find yourself in Vegas!

Omaha Steaks

View from the Omaha Steaks BlogWorld event

I like steak. Most people do. I had even bough steak from Omaha Steaks before. Suddenly, out of the blue they were following me on Twitter. Turns out, they were hosting an invite only event on the 43rd floor of Mandalay Bay at a sweet House of Blues Foundation Club. They had all the great @omahasteaks products and tons of things I had no clue they even made. Appetizers, all kinds of sides, steak, drinks, etc. It was a cool little break from all the hustle and bustle of BlogWorld and a great networking opportunity. I had a chance to chat with Todd Simon, Senior VP of Omaha Steaks for a bit and he’ll be joining me for a 5in5 video next week. :)

Thanks to Dave Link for helping to make this happen.

Zappos

Reaching out to bloggers for tours was brilliant. But, you probably knew that already with my last post about five things I learned at Zappos.

Jason Houck

Jason, also known as @Blogluvr29, spent a lot of time prepping for BlogWorld. He was monitoring the hashtag and keeping up with every person he could find that was attending. Jason added all the attendees to a blog post and would notify and reach out to others attending to let them know what he was doing. Check out Jason’s BlogWorld attendee list. That took some time.

I actually recognized Jason as soon as I saw him thanks to this (and to my Rainman like Avatar recognition that I had another chance to demonstrate for @ramon_deleon and @freeandflawed – both awesome by the way). Jason’s initial effort was a great example of paving a path to make plenty of connections before an event.

Do you have any great examples of networking before an event?


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Comments

  1. Jess and Cirque are awesome. They’ve offered up tickets on a few occasions now, and they always get recommendations and blog posts out of me. I’m happy to support such a brilliant and talented group of people.

    I’m ridiculously bummed that I missed out on the Zappos tour though!

    Reply
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  6. The @omahasteaks party was one of my top experiences of the whole trip. That whole evening was pretty great for a lot of different reasons.

    I agree that the more connections you can make before an event like Blogworld, the more you’ll get out of it. I did a pretty good job about that on the people front, but not so much on the brand front. Something to learn for the future.

    Reply
    • It was definitely a great change of pace and a relaxing event. :)

      My thing with brands is that they are driven by people. Sometimes it isn’t as much about the brand, but the people behind it and the ones you get to know. After time, you’ll be known as the ____ guy or gal. Sometimes people eventually introduce me as “Chris, the Phonebooth guy” which helps bring up conversations about the brand naturally. :)

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  10. Omaha steaks reached out to me while I was recently traveling for business in … wait for it… Omaha. They have Steak kiosks in the airport to buy among other things vacuum sealed individual steaks! Brilliant. They noticed I was in the airport and suggested a steak selection for a co-worker that was asking as a joke on twitter to bring him something back from the heartland. I was already boarding my plane when I saw the tweet but thought wow, that is the way to reach out to influence customers. Now that is social media engagement.

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