5 Tips for Networking at Social Media, Influencer and Small Biz Events
A Guide for Normal People and the Overly Anxious
I have been very lucky over the last few years to attend some fabulous events, specifically aimed at those with a social media presence, whether that be as an influencer or small biz owner. I love attending these functions and have made some fabulous connections that have turned into amazing opportunities, as well as some awesome friendships.
However, while this kind of networking is totally my jam, I know that many others feel sick and anxious at just the THOUGHT of attending these events. Many of you have expressed this to me, saying you are afraid to even go, and then if you do build up the courage you’re not sure what to do when you get there.
I am not going to lie – I get anxious too! I often worry that I’m asking the right questions, talking to enough people, listening enough, talking too loud (thank you lifelong problem), the list goes on. But I found that by implementing the following 5 tips I have drastically reduced my stress when it comes to chit chatting and have managed to successfully network to my advantage when it comes to my social media following and in my business as an influencer and content creator.
So here are MY top tips for networking at these events – particularly aimed at those of us who are considered ‘normal’ (ie not business tycoons) and perhaps a little anxious…
1. Don’t be AFRAID and DON’T back out
I’ve seen so many comments from people in the past saying that they have nearly backed out of going to events when they don’t really know anyone – and EVERY ONE of these people have NEVER regretted it! At the end of the day, if you’re attending an event alone there’s a very good chance that there will be many people in the same boat! There are a few things you can do here to make yourself feel a little more confident:
- find someone you know who is going and carpool
- If the event is advertised online put a shout out on your socials/on the event page for anyone who might also be going alone and arrange to meet up!
- If you’re nervous, stand near the bar/food/photo area as there will ALWAYS be people going to those places
- Be brave and when you walk in find someone else standing on there own and go up and say HI! You can do it and I promise they will relish the conversation too!
In the wise words of Michael Scott, via Wayne Gretzky, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.
2. Compliments are the BEST icebreaker
If you have got the courage up to talk to someone, or you’re going up to someone you follow on insta, you may be worried that you don’t have anything to say. A COMPLIMENT ALWAYS fixes this! People attending events have often got dressed up, maybe had their hair and makeup done, and are looking fly so this is super easy. Find something you like about their outfit, shoes, hair, anything and let them know! It gives you and open ended convo too as most people will respond with a story of where they got it, why they love it, and maybe even fire a compliment back. Compliments are a super easy icebreaker, and they make people feel great too, so why not!
3. BROADEN your horizons, no one has too many friends
If you are attending a networking event with a friend, or you know people going, that is great! But make sure to expand your horizons too and talk to people you’ve not met before as well. You can use the tips above OR make sure to introduce yourself to friends of friends! If you seen someone you know talking to a stranger, enter the convo by saying hi to your pal and then introduce yourself. You already have an in with a mutual friend so it’s a real winner. Don’t get sucked into talking to the same people all night – its fun but if you’re there for networking get cracking and make some new connections!
Don’t be like these guys and only talk to the same people.
4. FOLLOW UP after the event – social media makes this easy
If you don’t follow people on social media then and there, its totally important to follow up after the event. If you don’t remember their handles use the event hashtags, tagged location or host’s tags to find pics and make sure to follow and message those you made a connection with! Comment that it was lovely to meet them, and if you spoke about something specific you could continue the convo as well.
Same goes for those you didn’t have a chance to chat to. Comment on people’s pics with a compliment, and comment about the event, or even mention that you were sorry you didn’t get a chance to chat! You’d be surprised the amount of meaningful connections you make this way – I have many insta friends who I chat to regularly because we went to the same function, but didn’t necessarily meet in person!
5. HAVE FUN
Whether you’re at an event representing your business, as an influencer, or just there for a good time the important thing is to HAVE FUN! If you still find yourself too shy or nervous, maybe just try ONE of the things listed above, and you can work your way up to doing more. The more you do these things, the more events you attend, the BRAVER you will be! Don’t be afraid to buy a ticket, rock up alone, and make some new connections because it will DEFINITELY be worth it! And if you ever see ME at an event, or out and about, PLEASE come up and say hi because I will ALWAYS be up for a chat!
Don't believe everything you see online...I never talk on the phone...