Using Social Networks to Help You Network

I had the pleasure of presenting to around 200 people at a Fingal Business Network event in the Clarion this week.  Very interesting mix of people.  The main part of the presentation was about how to use social media to generate addition PR opportunities for companies along the lines of ‘you have issued the release to the media now what can you do’.

I uploaded the presentation to slideshare so you can see the main points below

Fingal ceb online pr

Ian Guider from Newstalk also did an interview for the business show on the morning of the presentation covering some of the principal points.

Overall it was mainly hints and tips to stimulate a conversation for people networking later on.  The slides were designed to look like tweets and thanks to Paul Murgatroyd who tweeted them as I was presenting.

The second part of the presentation was around using social media to enhance your business networking at events.  My experience of business networking is that most people drift into old habits of finding people they know when they arrive and hope they bump into people who will matter from a business perspective.  Social media allows you to get great insight into people, start a conversation with them and make arrangements to meet.  This makes a big difference in that the meeting at the event can be much more focused on deal making or other rapport where face to face is important.

I found it hard enough to find anything online about this so here are the few bits that came out of the session.

Before the Session

  • Get hold of the attendee list and find people you wish to connect to.
  • Search Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn and if they have a blog.
  • The website will probably short circuit this for you.
  • Follow the person if on twitter
  • If appropriate retweet, favorite posts they have put up – they will see this.
  • Respond to their posts and start a conversation.
  • If they have followed you back and you have established a relationship then direct message them to meet up on the night.
  • LinkedIn will give you even more in-depth information on them which you can check for common areas and possible conversation points.
  • You can also utilise LinkedIn to get an introduction from a trusted source.
  • If they have a blog be up to speed on the topic areas and share your insight with a post or perhaps a link from an article on your own blog or blogroll.
  • Similarly with Facebook
Most of these actions will be visible by the person so make sure you are adding value rather than possible stalking accusations.  By taking some of these actions you should know enough about the person and if already in conversation with them, be ready to introduce yourself and get the most out of the encounter.
On the night
  • If you have a smartphone login to the venue with Foursquare or Facebook and see who else is there
  • Tweet about the proceedings and use the hashtag #
  • Monitor twitter activity, start digital conversations with people there then move to real world
After the Event
  • Continue the conversations online
  • Input all the business cards into your contact on your computer and synch with your phone
  • Check to see if they have a social media presence
  • Perhaps check out their klout score and give them a +K or a follow friday on twitter
  • Blog and mention companies you met with links to their sites – again only if appropriate
Social media can really help people ‘hunt with intent’ or at least take away some of the awkwardness about initial introductions.  In todays world face to face is a luxury so make sure you make the most of the time.
Final tip – make sure any outreach or contact through social media channels is genuine and legitimate and use it to keep the conversation going.
Below is a photo taken before it all kicked off.

Paul Murgatroyd, Oisin Geoghegan (CEO), Fingal CEB and Eoin Kennedy,

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