Twitter: Engaging Participants at Your Next Workshop or Seminar

I am relatively new to Twitter having just set up my account a few months ago. I started using it in conjunction with my Facebook account for status updates. I remember thinking what could I possibly do with a micro blog where I can only post 140 characters? It seemed like I was using two social media platforms for no good reason but I was committed to search out the value of Twitter! Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that allows users to send and read other users updates (otherwise known as tweets), which are text-based posts of up to 140 character in length. You can find out more about Twitter on Wikipedia.

The value of Twitter seemed to really present itself when I arrived at Blog World Expo. Twitter was used heavily throughout the entire conference. The organizers of Blog World created a hash code (an event code) and instructed everyone to label their micro-blogging with #bwe08 when twitting about Blog World. This was an ingenious way to keep everyone at the conference informed about schedule changes, social events, lunch, event details, and even real time class participation. (Not to mention a great marketing tool for the following year’s conference because not only could this year’s participants read the twits, but anyone on Twitter around the world could also participate. Talk about wetting someone’s appetite for future conferences. People from all over the country and world were weighing in and asking questions about sessions they couldn’t attend and didn’t pay for. How cool is that?)

So how did this make such a big difference? With everyone micro blogging using the #bwe08 you were able to search Twitter and bring up all the posts regarding Blog World. This gave me a running feed from people attending the workshop I was in as well as the many other workshops I could not make. It was like I was attending multiple workshops at the same time. On top of that most of the workshops had the feed up on the screen or created a new hash code for the workshop we were in like #cred.

As the expo continued the twitting evolved to an entire new level. Attendees started adding value to each workshop with comments, questions, and posting links to sites being discussed. The speakers and panelists of each workshop were reviewing the tweets as they showed up on the screens during the discussion. Many speakers would answer the questions real time and go into more detail based on what they were seeing.

Additionally, I can now go back and search these twits and use them as notes to remember what I learned in each session.

The end result was an amazing interaction at each workshop. A truly enlightening experience for me on how new media can make a big difference. I can’t wait for the next workshop or seminar I attend where the organizers are using twitter to interact with the participants.

I have discovered many additional uses for Twitter, future topics will include:

  • Using Twitter to enhance the customer experience
  • Large companies using Twitter to connect with their customers
  • Following up with new contacts on Twitter

How are you using Twitter? Are you or your company using Twitter to interact with clients or prospects? Become part of the conversation and add a comment on your experience with Twitter.

Tradeshows Like Blog World Expo Create Connection Explosions

I just attended The Blog World Expo in Las Vegas. My expectations were very mixed. I really had no idea what I was getting into. My goal was to meet new people, successful bloggers, and to learn how to make Follow Up Success the go-to resource for small businesses, entrepreneurs, and sales professionals.

The Expo far exceeded my expectations. I attended some amazing breakout sessions with all types of bloggers both on the panel and in the audience. I had great discussions with bloggers, companies that support bloggers, and people of all levels in the blogosphere. For example, I met people I never imagined would be there like:

A good friend of mine and fellow blogger asked me today how I was going to follow up with all the people I met. (Is she joking? Does she not read my blog?) So how am I going to follow up with all these new contacts? To start, I am going to do what I have talked about in this blog 7 Steps to Follow Up Success of course! Everyone will be getting an email from me today letting them know how much I appreciated meeting them. I will also add the social platforms I use to stay connected to people in my network; LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Over the next few weeks I will be calling these contacts to learn more about them and explore ways I might be able to help them.

I am still digesting all the great information from Blog World and already know this experience has made a huge impact on me. I’ll be writing about this more in the future but for now, here are just a few of the highlights that really stick out:

  • New Media – Now’s the time to ride the wave and implement new tools…you can be a pioneer, opportunities are endless.
  • Twitter – The powerful use of a new tool…ruling the top trended topics, what could this mean for your business?
  • How companies like Comcast are using social media like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to expand the customer experience and add a new layer to customer service.
  • CNN and Twitter – CNN is using Twitter to pull in live questions and engage their viewers. How can you use this strategy in your business to engage your customers?
  • Are bloggers just crazy people with too much time on their hands? I will admit this may have been somewhere in the back of my head before attending the expo. Now I realize they are a group of professionals, entrepreneurs, corporate executives, and writers. With that in mind how can you use blogging to support your business and follow up activities?

The blog world has a space for you too!  Reading blogs, making comments on posts, or starting your own blog are great action steps to enhance your business success!   If you would like a taste of what it was like at Blog World Expo check out Ryan Hupfer’s great post and video, It’s All About The Connections: Thoughts, Highlights, And Lessons Learned From Blog World Expo 08.  Lastly, consider attending Blog World Expo 09 or BlogHer in San Francisco next year.  Both conferences get rave reviews.   They are well worth the reasonable registration fees…which by the way are discounted if you twitter.  The expo was a rich experience for me and I enjoyed it so much I might just offer to speak myself next year.  We’ll see.

I Threw Away All the Business Cards on my Desk: Now What?

I had a few people who made the comment, “OK, I have thrown all the business cards away that were on my desk, now what do I do?” or “Now that all my cards are in the trash, where do I get more leads?” Another comment came from an associate of mine, “I did what you said and threw all my business cards away!”. I of course reminded him that this is not what I said at all. Thinking about it now I realize this may not have been such a bad idea for him… I have been in his office a few times and I know half the cards on his desk are over a year old! What if anything can business cards which you have had on your desk for over one year, most likely not followed up on at all, do for you now?

Ideally we have all removed our business card collection from our desk or at the very least are working through the stack by calling, making connections, adding them to our data base and slowly throwing those business cards away. I know this week I had some great conversations and reacquainted myself with those people behind the business cards! In fact right now I am skipping the first day at Blog World Expo just to catch up on calls. I have been regretting this decision at times today but the reality is following up with contacts is more important to me.

You are not alone if you threw away all of the business cards on your desk! Many people realize the cards on their desk were just too old to follow up on. The next step is to change how you follow up with them in the future! In my previous post, 7 Steps to Follow Up Success, I discussed my approach to following up with new contacts I meet at networking events, chamber mixers, trade shows, and expos. I also just read another great article by C.J. Hayden in the Entrepreneurs Blog section of About.com titled A Pocket Full of Business Cards. C.J. offers another perspective on following up with new contacts.

My challenge to you is to attend a networking event this week, collect new business cards, and implement the 7 Steps to Follow Up Success with them. Just don’t start another business card collection!