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10 tips to make the most of #SMMW as a solo attendee

It’s that time of the year and San Diego is the place to be. We’re talking about Social Media Marketing World, of course! From soaking up new insight, meeting experts, to discovering new businesses—there’s a lot going on every single year. And however meticulously planned you are, it can all be a bit overwhelming at times. If you’re a busy-bee who’s jetting in and out for the event from miles away, it can be a little tiring too.

But if you’re a first-time attendee and traveling solo, or even an alumnus re-visiting all by yourself, we want you to make the most of SMMW, as a one-person army. To that end, we’re going to try to break your conference activities into doable chunks that are manageable and efficient for you. Take a stroll through this blog.

1. Build your own agenda

This is a privilege only some have. As a solo attendee, many of you have a slightly more open-ended schedule than most other participants you’re going to meet. You’re not carrying a whole team on your back, or even accommodating the schedule of one more person with you. This is a big deal indeed because it means you’re free to build your own day-agenda for SMMW.

This means you get to pick and choose the sessions you want to attend on both Day #1 and Day #2. While SMMW does pack an impressive speakers list, it’s okay to forego attending a few sessions if that means you can get some time to do other things, or catch up with someone else who’s more crucial to your immediate business plans.

2. Prioritize a handful of groups to follow

If you’ve seen the groups on either Facebook or Whova for instance, you definitely know what we’re talking about. There is so much conversation going on, how do you know where to dip your feet in? Thankfully you can prioritize your way like a samurai, weaving through all the chat groups. Look through all groups and pick the ones based on these following questions. We recommend following around 5-6 groups closely.

a. Can networking with this group add value to me/my brand now or in the future?
b. Is this an interest group that I can sustain a relationship with?
c. Do I have enough time for this activity?

We cannot emphasize the last point enough. Even if you’ve sliced your day up neatly, everyday trivialities like travel exhaustion or a work call can easily set you back on time. So prioritize to meet-ups and group activities that you’re sure adds value to your trip to San Diego. You can always join the fun stuff a little later, everyone’s friendly enough and there will always be room for more somewhere.

P.S – Of course, there’s no harm in lurking in other groups, and absorbing some ideas and insight!

3. Find places to visit, things to do around town

Everyone likes a good host. So if you’re here even a day earlier and have some time to kill, get around town and figure out some cool places to sit and chat and build your network. While you’re at it, it doesn’t hurt to build a rapport with the cafe or restaurant staff and get some recommendations.

This comes in handy, as you can be the social glue, rallying other attendees to places you know. If that’s not feasible, you could at least be the one passing excellent recommendations across the table, which still works!

4. Get your social media connection game on!

We hear you, this one seems obvious. People are hobnobbing, exchanging anecdotes, and conversation’s flowing endlessly. But let’s not forget—there’s still a tiny room for error, that can ensure we’re unable to later connect or catch up with those we meet at large-scale events like these.

a. Update your social profiles with a recent picture

Names can be forgotten, misspelled, mistyped and so on; but faces are seldom that easily forgotten if you’ve made a substantial introduction. So make sure whoever’s searching for you online to connect, can instantly identify you.

b. Update your social channels

If you’re with the same details as your biz cards or ensure it matches the introductions you give out. If you’re meeting one-on-one at a cafe, it’s a whole other ballgame. But if you’re meeting at an event, where networking is happening in every corner, you want to be clear on how you want to be introduced. So your social profiles reflect how you’ve introduced yourself.

Pro tip: Add the #SMMW hashtag to your social profiles – on titles, bios, names, wherever you see fit. It helps drive extra engagement to your profile.

c. Tailor your introductions

You could be a solopreneur or just a solo attendee representing a business. If you’re still at a fledgling stage in your venture, your credentials could sometimes build more of a rep for you. In this case, there’s always the question – do I want to be known for my brand, or who I am? This is something only you can answer, but definitely one that begs consideration. This also helps locate one quicker on social media sometimes, if people remember you better than, having to recall the name of your brand.

5. Be part of the Twitter chatter

Rest assured, a LOT of people are going to be tweeting with the #SMMW. This hashtag is not only being monitored by other attendees, speakers, and brands but also a whole host of other people—from remote attendees to businesses and individuals interested in the SMM industry. Getting noticed by this large, niche audience boils down to two simple things:

  • Tweet often
  • Tweet interesting things

In this case, there’s no choosing between the two options, this is a checklist and you’ll have to be hitting both points to get noticed in the sea of tweets. Because tweeting often is pointless (can even be spammy!) if it’s not useful, engaging or unique. Try to get shots that others haven’t, tweet behind-the-scenes photos, quotes/insight from speakers for the benefit of those not attending, and just generally fun things you spot.

Here’s how we tracked the buzz around #SMMW directly from our own Zoho Social dashboard. We set up two dedicated columns on our Monitor tab to track both the hashtag and the SMMW handle, individually.

6. Get on the Gram’

One of the benefits of sharing via Instagram is that not only are you targeting people who search for the event hashtag (or related hashtags you may be using), but also the location. A lot of people look at events happening at the San Diego Convention Center and the city as a whole, as well…so why not get some traction beyond your target audience?

You get our drift—don’t just stay on the Twitter bandwagon, feel free to get on the gram and dazzle up the feed with posts and stories from them, even if you’re not an active Instagram user. Here’s your chance to get active.

If there are existing conversations going on, jump in on those that are relevant and fun and socialize! Who knows, hearting someone’s post could be the gateway to catching up later. For businesses, this obviously not only helps in building engagement but also in gaining more visibility!

7. Have a networking wish-list ready

Local businesses, influencers you want to meet, brand booths you want to check out – keep a networking wish-list ready, of all those you want to get to know. Once you know what you want from your interactions, it’s easy to plan your day around it. Put your queries and expert opinions on top of that list, because it’s hard to get complete feedback online and no one really has the time. The next set on your priority list should have businesses and people who you want to interact or collaborate with—while this can be done online as well, it’s always better face-to-face.

8. Carry tokens to remember you by

You don’t really need a booth to pass out samples or cool brand merch. Carry some with you anyway, and pass it onto the connections you make. Even if they’re not used, you’ll be remembered. And isn’t that the entire point?

9. Wear a conversation starter

Here’s a secret no one tells you – you’re being noticed even when you’re not. Take a second to let that sink in. You could easily be identified among those who “didn’t stand out” and that’s not the tone you want to set for an event fuelled by networking!

If you’re a little on the introverted side or even have language barriers, don’t wait for the networking party to get your funky hat or swag bands out. You can wear your rad t-shirts right at the event, and catch some eyes. These are things that make people come up and strike conversations with you.

10.  Come say hello!

Our booth at the #SMMW19 Networking Plaza

Oh and by the way, we’ll have a booth set up at #SMMW as well! That’s right, we’re here to catch all the action live. So if you want to take a deeper dive into learning how to manage social media for all kinds of business (beyond just the event), stop by our booth and we’ll show you how you can do that.

That’s about it from us. Go ahead and let us know if there are other awesome hacks for solo-attendees that we may have missed out. Our comments section, just like our booth, is always open for you!

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  • amruthavarshinii

    Chats & writes about anything from social media, culture, to how chai latte isn't a real thing.

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