Found a great event to attend, but don’t live close enough to actually get there? With social media becoming more increasingly normal to use for business, now your location doesn’t have to limit your networking opportunities. Many events will make it easy for people to virtually attend while still getting a worthwhile experience.
Photo courtesy of Stephanie Banares
Here are seven tips to help you make the most of an event when you’re a virtual participant.
1. Follow the hashtag.
This is probably the simplest and most obvious tip. These days there is a hashtag for everything, and most events will establish their hashtag weeks in advance. While the event is happening, follow the hashtag in real-time on Twitter and Instagram. Just because you’re not sitting in the room, doesn’t mean you can’t also learn what others are learning, and feel what others are experiencing. Using Twitter to “live” search the hashtag will make it easier to keep up when content is updating quickly, while using TweetDeck or HootSuite can also help you follow the event stream and others simultaneously.
2. Connect with the thought leaders.
Whether it’s an event for recruiters to find new hires, or a seminar for top executives to share their expertise, events will almost always make contact information available for the thought leaders in attendance. Be it their Twitter handle, LinkedIn profile, or email address, you will be provided a way to connect with the thought leaders. Even if you don’t get to meet them in person, it is okay to reach out to them after the event. Let them know you were a virtual participant, and be sure to reference why you’re reaching out to them – were you intrigued by their story, hoping to be considered for a job they’re recruiting for, or maybe just interested in thanking them for their time?
3. Network with the attendees.
The same way contact information is shared for the thought leaders, some events will post a list of attendees, along with their Twitter handles or email address. Feel free to follow some of these attendees on social media or reach out via email if they work in your industry. You don’t always have to shake someone’s hand to form a valuable connection.
During and after events, many companies will digitally share their educational assets. This might be a deck on SlideShare or links to a research study. If it is accessible to you, you can use these assets to learn the valuable information being shared at the event… and you don’t have to put on a suit to do so!
5. Use the mobile app.
Some large scale events will create a mobile app for attendees to use. The apps typically include a map for attendees in person, networking tools for virtual participants, and a hub of information to learn.
6. Be a part of it.
Despite not being there in person, virtual attendees can still contribute to whatever assets or thought leadership comes out of the event. For events that call for submissions, be sure to send whatever you’d like to contribute in order to get noticed and network during the event and in the future.
7. Join the conversation!
This tip should go without saying for anyone looking to make the most of their experiences. Don’t just follow along with hashtags and read through shared information; participate in the conversation. Chat with attendees about what they’re learning. Learn from thought leaders by asking questions. Inquire with recruiters about interesting opportunities.
Just because you can’t get somewhere in person doesn’t mean you can’t gain the full experience of an event. If you have more tips for virtual participants, share them in the comments section!
This post is a part of our Hustle Summit Prep Series. We’ll see you there!