Networking : Summary from September 6th, 2009

Networking.  We do it to propel our businesses and spread the word about what we do to other people, as humanly as possible.  From face to face on to virtual events, we discussed how to get the most out of tweetups, conferences and virtual meetups.  How do you use networking to help drive your business?  If you missed the chat, share your tips in the comments!

Want to participate in #sbbuzz?

  • We’re on every Tuesday from 8-10 pm EST.  The next chat will be held on October 13th and will feature using small businesses to fight global climate change.  Check out blogactionday.com for more info.
  • You can read the instructions on how to participate here: http://sbbuzz.biz/instructions
  • Invite others to join in, help them get started.  We started this chat to facilitate conversation between small biz owners.

And now on to the summary!

  • lindadessau: I help coaches and other small biz owners write content for newsletters, blogs and article sites http://snipr.com/friz9 – Intro for #sbbuzz
  • rzazueta: #sbbuzz Hello all! I’m Rob Z., a man in transition business-wise but an expert in all things web.
  • chelpixie: I work with small business as a personal assistant, project manager, WordPress fanatic and more. #sbbuzz
  • merylevans: Content maven aka writer and editor who plays with words for a living. eHome is http://www.meryl.net and main ID @merylkevans #sbbuzz
  • finstoryteller: I’m a financial storyteller, I help organisations tell their story through numbers. I also provide contract/Part-time CFO Services #sbbuzz
  • pmohara: Hi all! Long time no tweet. I’m Pamela from @batchblue, co-founder of #sbbuzz & the one pulling the strings behind the #sbbuzz bee tonight
  • scoblitz: @sbbuzz Scott Blitstein of eSeMBe, blogger, tech-guy, music lover and good egg. #sbbuzz
  • nrohrbach: Neal here, Co-Founder and CCO of @ideaanglers and Art Director for Outdoor Channel Outfitters, stoked for the usual great discussion #sbbuzz
  • rongraham1: I, too, help small biz owners and start-ups: Web sites, content development, strategy, full-service. http://bit.ly/FhAcw #sbbuzz
  • selahsynergy: @sbbuzz Hi All! Susan here from Selah Synergy dashing in before a late meeting. I am a business strategist and coach. Happy Tuesday! #sbbuzz
  • wvpmc: Hi all – Wendy Van Parys Marketing Communictions from CT #sbbuzz
  • pmohara: So many friends here tonight – great to see you all! #sbbuzz

sbbuzz: Topic tonight is networking events & how to get the most from them (as attendee, sponsor, speaker) Please send any ?s you want asked #sbbuzz

  • selahsynergy: @rzazueta congrats! how exciting. #sbbuzz
  • sbbuzz: Q1 What types of events do you regularly attend? Local, far away, big, small, online, offline? #sbbuzz
  • wvpmc: @rzazueta so we’ll be hearing all about it next week????? no sneak preview for us bees? #sbbuzz
  • rzazueta: @selahsynergy Thank you! I am excited. #sbbuzz
  • rzazueta: #sbbuzz Q1: Chamber mixers have always been the best events for me. Anything that lets me actually meet people.
  • lindadessau: Q1 – Mostly doing online networking right now (like right now 😉 with occasional live events if there’s a speaker I’m interested in. #sbbuzz
  • rongraham1: Q1 – if I have to travel further than, say, 10 miles, there must be some sort of attraction. Went twice to @garyvee‘s, for instance. #sbbuzz
  • rzazueta: @wvpmc Not sure I can REALLY publicly sneak preview it yet. But next week, oh yes. #sbbuzz
  • rzazueta: @wvpmc Having said that, I did blog about it… but I immediately second guessed it… #sbbuzz
  • merylevans: Q1 Mostly online as it’s free of barriers. I’ve been to sxsw.com a couple of times. Thinking about it for 2010. #sbbuzz
  • rzazueta: #sbbuzz Q1: I also do seminars for the local library and SBDC. Those are also great networking events.
  • finstoryteller: #sbbuzz Q1. Networking events tend to be offline, I host a monthly breakfast session for CMAs http://tr.im/AV4z and use meetup …
  • whatmakesexpert: Tell Us? IN 140 Char #sbbuzz Hello all! I’m Rob Z., a man in transition business-wise but a.. http://bit.ly/vXHz6
  • scoblitz: @sbbuzz Q1: Online and some local events – looking to branch out and do more in the city proper. #sbbuzz
  • pmohara: Q1 I do a lot of regional travel (NYC, DC, Boston) to events. I especially like to go to events where I know #sbbuzz friends will be
  • DIYMKTchat: Q1 I’ve been combining “live” events with online. I meet someone then connect on LinkedIn #sbbuzz
  • chelpixie: Q1 I’ve been to a lot of Podcamps for some reason. Mostly offline, some bigger, but most smaller. #sbbuzz
  • selahsynergy: @sbbuzz Q1 “regularly” attend online but targeted events ie. conference or such pull me out of office, dislike “cattle call” events #sbbuzz
  • wvpmc: Q1 online + offline prof orgs, some more general networking events – we have a multitude of chamb of comm in this area #sbbuzz
  • wvpmc: Q1 interested in recommendatins for really good conferences #sbbuzz

sbbuzz: Q2 For in-person events where do you get the most value (ie from the speakers, exhibits, networking, social events)? #sbbuzz

  • merylevans: Q2 Vibrant speakers whom I can lipread well and don’t walk behind me. Networking. #sbbuzz
  • rzazueta: #sbbuzz Q2: Definitely from the networking. I like talking to people about their businesses. Gives me ideas and let’s me prepare a pitch.
  • pmohara: @DIYMarketers Agreed – best times for me are when I combine online network with offline events. Either with tweet-ups or follow-ups. #sbbuzz
  • chelpixie: Q2 speakers depending on subject. I want speakers to teach me something or I’m dissatisfied. Social events are secondary. #sbbuzz
  • finstoryteller: #sbbuzz Q2. Speakers help attract the people I want to meet, but their speeches tend to hold less value.
  • chelpixie: @merylevans I’d love if events would provide screens with captions or headsets for amplification. #sbbuzz
  • wvpmc: Q2 speakers, networking about equal “social” eventrs tend to get too noisy, hard to hear convo #sbbuzz
  • lindadessau: Q2 I get inspiration from hearing speakers who have great business stories to tell. Then I feel more alive & confident to network! #sbbuzz
  • merylevans: @chelpixie You know I “amen” that! Amplification won’t help me — but it will help many others. #sbbuzz
  • finstoryteller: #sbbuzz Q2. Social/informal tend to be the best for being able to speak to new people. To make new connections.
  • selahsynergy: @sbbuzz Q2 for me it is all of the above & the energy of the event itself which brings a nice change of pace & inspiration #sbbuzz
  • scoblitz: @sbbuzz Q2: I do best at informal / social events, less “pitchy” and more conversational. #sbbuzz
  • strategystew: Q2 Love the comments about speakers at networking. They provide great ice-breakers for meeting new folks #sbbuzz
  • finstoryteller: @chelpixie #sbbuzz Q2. Sounds like you are talking about events, rather than networking? Noisy = buzz (btw: it’s quieter at the fringes) 🙂
  • chelpixie: @merylevans hearing aids only do so much. College gave me a mic for my teachers and a special headset so I could hear them in ear. #sbbuzz
  • mcolacurcio: Q2 – Usually get the most value from panel-based session with array of experts weighing in. #sbbuzz
  • pmohara: Q2 #sbbuzz I like speakers who are not just pimping a product. I’ve seen some great panel discussions recently.
  • chelpixie: @finstoryteller bigger events for those two suggestions but networking events are loud. yes I do seek the fringes for conversation. #sbbuzz
  • MHBoys: we like speakers that attract our target demographics if there’s time/place to talk after #sbbuzz
  • merylevans: @chelpixie Oh the FM. That didn’t work for me. Would a cochlear implant work for you? Sounds like you have better hearing than I. #sbbuzz
  • pmohara: I also love following an event I am attending live on Twitter. It’s like getting the color commentary while at the ballgame. #sbbuzz
  • lindadessau: @mcolacurcio Agreed – it’s nice to have shorter presentations from a variety of people – better for our short attention spans! #sbbuzz
  • strategystew: Tweet chats are an awesome networking event. You get to meet great people in a smaller more intimate setting #sbbuzz
  • mcolacurcio: @lindadessau Exactly! A variety of perspectives in one foul swoop. #sbbuzz
  • lindadessau: @pmohara When I went to an event that had wireless I’d forgotten my iPod, and then the next one didn’t have the wifi. #sbbuzz
  • finstoryteller: #sbbuzz Q2. if it’s a networking event my focus is always on networking, regardless of speaker, they tend to go on too long generally
  • merylevans: @finstoryteller Appreciate it when speakers limit to 30 mins (tiring to lipread that long) and interact for rest. Keynotes torture. #sbbuzz

sbbuzz: Q3 from @wvpmc What are your recommendations for really good conferences? #sbbuzz

  • mcolacurcio: I just did 4 guest posts for @smallbiztrends on planning TweetChats if that helps: http://bit.ly/kAkXs #sbbuzz
  • finstoryteller: @merylevans #sbbuzz If it’s a Networking event, 30mins is too long for a speak. Max 15mins. 5mins to thank sponsors, next events, 10mins …
  • pmohara: @lindadessau I tend to go to social media centric events, so there’s a wifi frenzied crowd. 🙂 #sbbuzz
  • merylevans: Q3 Depends on conf type. sxsw.com attracts a wide variety including many bloggers and social media folks. #sbbuzz
  • chelpixie: Q3 Podcamp for beginners/intermediate to podcast and SM. MarketingProfs events, Inbound Marketing Summit. #sbbuzz
  • mcolacurcio: Q3: I love specialized content at conferences that you can’t get elsewhere. Ragan.com’s conferences are great. #sbbuzz

sbbuzz: Q4 from @lindadessau Do you prefer to network with your colleagues (potential referral sources) or your prospective clients or both? #sbbuzz

  • wvpmc: @sbbuzz Q4 both #sbbuzz
  • merylevans: Q4 Both. Never limit yourself. Meet new folks, stay strong with current folks. #sbbuzz
  • lindadessau: Q4 For me they’re often one and the same – my clients make the best referral sources, and I am a member of my own target market! #sbbuzz
  • nrohrbach: Q4: I’ve seen networking with colleagues lead to more potential clients than mingling with potential clients themselves. #sbbuzz
  • chelpixie: @sbbuzz Definitely both. Most of my business is referrals, so introductions help. #sbbuzz
  • finstoryteller: #sbbuzz Q4. Both.
  • lindadessau: Q4 I also like what @finstoryteller said earlier about speakers who attract you, because then you’ll meet like-minded people #sbbuzz
  • pmohara: @chelpixie Hey, this is our 1 year anniversary – I met you at #IMS last year! See how awesome combo offline/online networking is!! #sbbuzz
  • finstoryteller: @merylevans #sbbuzz Q4. Agreed! Nuturing your network is just as important if not more so than building it!
  • lindadessau: @nrohrbach Me too! So now I’ve come to appreciate and plan for that. #sbbuzz
  • selahsynergy: @sbbuzz Q4 I prefer networking w colleagues as it gets me out of home office. Clients are natural by good relationships/referrals #sbbuzz
  • mcolacurcio: Q4 – both, but somehow I always end up chatting/trading war stories with competitors. Always fun to talk to! #sbbuzz
  • scoblitz: @sbbuzz Q4: Both – either can be productive and lead to good things. #sbbuzz
  • lindadessau: @selahsynergy I was just thinking today that I could use a “field trip” (I was passing a school bus while walking my dog 😉 #sbbuzz
  • chelpixie: @pmohara Oh wow. You’re right. I’d met @mriggen already but not you! Such good things come from conferences 🙂 #sbbuzz
  • pmohara: Q4 #sbbuzz I usually go to network with colleagues, partners & friends. Any time I go trying to sell just feels too salesy. #sbbuzz
  • selahsynergy: @lindadessau so true. that is one way to put it…field trips. Maybe without the school bus, eh? #sbbuzz

sbbuzz: Q5 How do you follow-up after events? #sbbuzz

  • smallbiztrends: Small business chat going on right now, until 10 pm New York time. @sbbuzz #sbbuzz
  • pmohara: OK – I’m literally getting too caught up in this conversation. I keep forgetting to post the next question. :/ #sbbuzz
  • merylevans: Q5 Connect! LI, Twitter, FB. Email and get in touch depending on connection at conference. Review notes. Act on 1-3 tips @ a time. #sbbuzz
  • nrohrbach: Q5: My most successful after event follow-ups have been invitations to another casual meeting: lunch, round of golf, etc #sbbuzz
  • lindadessau: Q5 I follow up by email and/or Twitter and/or LinkedIn, continue conversation, send link to 1 of my special reports if applicable #sbbuzz
  • mcolacurcio: Q5 – we typically get online events transcribed (castingwords is great) and post to our Web site (great for SEO) #sbbuzz
  • merylevans: @mcolacurcio I wish more would do that! But then again, I have enough to read as is. #sbbuzz
  • wvpmc: @mcolacurcio tell me more about that #sbbuzz
  • smallbiztrends: Q5 How do you follow-up after events? A: Via email and Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Flurry of new “connections” post-event. #sbbuzz
  • pmohara: I try to e-mail everyone I met w/in a few days of the conference, but it’s hard since I’m usually behind in work from being out. #sbbuzz
  • selahsynergy: RT@merylevans:Q5 Connect! LI,Twitter,FB. Email &get in touch depending on connection @conference.Review notes.Act on 1-3 tips @time. #sbbuzz
  • MHBoys: follow up with email, LinkedIn and phone calls – less so Twitter and Facebook #sbbuzz
  • mcolacurcio: @wvpmc Sure. We get audio or video files transcribed into the text of the convo (HTML file) and post to our web site. #sbbuzz
  • MHBoys: phone calls work well because people rely so much on email now #sbbuzz
  • mcolacurcio: @merylevans It is really handy for participants to access what was said after-the-fact. Great for interviews as well. #sbbuzz
  • finstoryteller: #sbbuzz Q5. My most important tool for following up after an event http://twitpic.com/kjoo1 (the back of my business card) 🙂
  • lindadessau: @pmohara Yeah, that’s a good point. How do you follow up from conference and catch up with your work at the same time? #sbbuzz
  • finstoryteller: #sbbuzz Q5. Connect! LI, Twitter, FB. Email and get in touch depending on connection . Review notes. . (via @merylevans) -That covers it!
  • spideas: @smallbiztrends Using a survey tool (Survey Monkey, etc) is a way to understand the value delivered. #sbbuzz
  • pmohara: If any social media follow-up, I’ll do LinkedIn and Twitter. And sometimes send a good old fashioned note. #sbbuzz
  • selahsynergy: @mcolacurcio thanks for the tip. I have used a VA for transcription but will have to check it out. #sbbuzz
  • merylevans: @mcolacurcio Indeed. I just remember sxsw-i producing a LOT of content online and just couldn’t read it all even a little each day. #sbbuzz
  • MHBoys: we schedule event follow up in our marketing plan #sbbuzz
  • scoblitz: @sbbuzz Q5: It depends on the event and person, what we discussed and their expectation of next steps. #sbbuzz
  • smallbiztrends: @spideas Good point, Scott. If you’ve hosted the event, a survey will help understand value and ways to improve next time. #sbbuzz

sbbuzz: Q6 Do you sponsor any events? If so, what type of return do you hope to get? #sbbuzz

  • finstoryteller: #sbbuzz Good Night all, I have to sign off and attend a networking event here in Vancouver 🙂 See you all next time!
  • lindadessau: @finstoryteller Nice meeting another Canuck, Stewart, goodnight! #sbbuzz
  • thebrewcrew: Plan how U will follow up BEFORE the event. Yr engagement at the event shld take into account yr post-event campaign #sbbuzz
  • wvpmc: @finstoryteller great to see you – hope you have a productive evening! #sbbuzz
  • chelpixie: @sbbuzz I follow up by following on Twitter. Researching to find out more about the people I’ve met and add to appropriate socnets. #sbbuzz
  • lindadessau: @thebrewcrew Great point – why invest the time and money without planning adequate time for follow up? Same with taking courses. #sbbuzz
  • nrohrbach: I gotta jet guys, last minute road trip in the morning, will be up in the @desireescales neck of the woods. #sbbuzz
  • thebrewcrew: @lindadessau Thx Linda. Apparently 79% of leads are never followed up. Because we don’t plan before event & after event swamped? #sbbuzz
  • pmohara: We do sponsor some small, more personal events. Spending $10K plus to spray CRM in people’s faces as they walk by just isn’t fun. #sbbuzz
  • wvpmc: it’s not just the initial follow-up we need to plan for – also succeeding contacts – all too often is once and done #sbbuzz
  • lindadessau: @thebrewcrew Yes, I’ve heard over and over again that it doesn’t take much to stand out because so many never follow up. #sbbuzz

sbbuzz: Q7 What are you favorite events for online networking? (no, we are not just fishing for compliments) 🙂 #sbbuzz

  • dothewoo: Re event sponsorship, important to set Smart, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timely objectives. #sbbuzz
  • thebrewcrew: #Event sponsorship is not just about the time at the event. Imp to leverage activity with pre- and post-promotion #sbbuzz
  • lindadessau: @dothewoo @pmohara Can you say more about sponsorship? Even on a small scale – how to decide where to put dollars? #sbbuzz
  • smallbiztrends: Q7 What are you favorite events for online networking? A: Twitter events are interactive and foster the most networking. #sbbuzz
  • mcolacurcio: Q7 – I like it when Web casts or in-person events are summarized on Twitter. I’ve found the combos work best (webcast + Twitter) #sbbuzz
  • scoblitz: @sbbuzz Q7 Twitter chats are the only online events I participate in. I do quite a bit of networking in user forums though. #sbbuzz
  • LogicommInc: @pmohara Besides, spraying CRM in peoples’ faces can get you punched. Ask certain very large CRM outfits:) #sbbuzz
  • pmohara: Q7 #sbbuzz I find webinars great for learning and Twitter chats great for networking. That real time thing makes a difference. #sbbuzz
  • LogicommInc: Twitter chats and LinkedIn groups are our two main events..and like @scoblitz, some user forums from time to time #sbbuzz
  • smallbiztrends: Webinars accompanied by a Twitter back-channel are ideal. Nice combo, in my opinion. Information + networking. #sbbuzz

sbbuzz: Q8 How do you measure your success at a networking event? #sbbuzz

  • LogicommInc: BTW – I’ve found most webinars to be too long. 30 mins is all I have time for…most tend to be glorified PPT shows #sbbuzz
  • LogicommInc: Success at a networking event – I measure by new relationships formed and by current ones energized. Both often lead to new biz #sbbuzz

sbbuzz: All- join next week as part of #blogactionday.com we will be using our small biz superpowers to combat global climate change! #sbbuzz

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