Add Social Media to Your Event Networking Strategy

Ryan Baum

Ryan Baum

PRSSA 2014 National Conference has finally arrived, and many students are brainstorming ways to maximize their weekend in D.C. With an intentional approach to networking, attendees can build valuable relationships that last long beyond the closing ceremony. 

Strategic networking can lead to mentorship opportunities, internships, and, in my case, even a guest blog post on Culpwrit. 

It is important to practice smart networking during any meetings with potential connections, but, in this day and age, any professional repertoire is incomplete without a social media component.  

Social networking can be used to set the scene for in-person meetings and to sustain newly formed relationships once everybody returns home. It’s also a great way for students not at the conference to stay connected and engage with attendees. 

The advice in this post can be applied to large gatherings like National Conference or on a smaller scale with professionals that visit your PRSSA chapter. Here are my tips for success: 

Brace for Failure  

Before you start reaching out to new contacts, it’s important to prepare yourself for silence. 

Most of the time, even when you are doing everything right, you won’t hear anything back from the professionals you reach out to. Try not to take it personally, and keep at it — it will all feel worth it when you finally get a response from a popular speaker or industry leader. 

Culpwrit owner Ron Culp, providing perspective from the other side of the aisle, explained that industry-standard long weeks can make it difficult for professionals to interact. “There simply isn’t enough time in the day,” he said, “even for those of us who are inclined to respond to everyone.”  

Plan Ahead 

Start by researching the event speakers, and, more importantly, their topics.  

Try to find personal connections with your target contacts, like something distinctive you share in common. Bring it up when you talk during the event, and then mention it when you follow up to jog the professional’s memory. 

In that vein, narrow down your pool of potential contacts at larger events to focus on a handful of authentic interactions instead of an abundance of shallow small talk. 

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