With nearly 600 events worldwide, this year Social Media Week is bigger than ever. Here is my quick and dirty guide to surviving #SMWLA
1. Bring business cards. Lots of them. In fact, during SMW you can never have too many on you. Sure, there will be plenty of drinking, socializing, tweeting and picture-snapping at these events, but above all, there will be networking.
Tip: After a card is exchanged, I like to write a note on the back of the card, to serve as a reminder for the person with whom I just had the pleasure of meeting. You might think you will remember them, but once home with a purse (or pocket) filled with cards, you will be glad you jotted down a note. It also serves as a nice, personalized touch mentioning a specific conversation topic or connection when reaching out to them. The person on the receiving end will be impressed, if not flattered.
2. Also, bring a snack. You know that scene in Mean Girls when Lindsay Lohan lunges at “The Plastics” in the cafeteria? That is how I get when I don’t eat. It’s not pretty. For me, I like a good White Chocolate Think Thin bar. Peanut Butter M&M’s also do the trick.
3. Traffic happens. We live in LA; If that statement means one thing and one thing only to you, it should be that traffic is beyond unpredictable. Leave earlier than you think you should for any post-work event. Most events don’t have a hard start time, so it is fine to walk in at any given point, however to avoid walking into an event panel mid-discussion, give yourself extra time for traffic, to find the location, and parking. You know, because “nobody walks in LA-ay”
4. Do your homework. Know who will be speaking at events of interest. Don’t be afraid to speak with panelists and moderators— believe it or not, they are human, just like you and I. Provide feedback on the panel, ask questions, and always follow up (send a tweet to them after meeting, or an email the next day). This is how relationships are made.
5. Be organized. Of course… there’s an app for that. For the first time, there will be an official Social Media Week app, thanks to our friends at Nokia. Simply go to www.socialmediaweek.org/nokiaconnects via mobile and the SMW RealTime app will connect Social Media Week attendees globally and allow you to track your schedule, follow the real-time conversation across all participating cities, and see who’s checked into events on Foursquare. You’re welcome.
6. Addendum to #5. The official hashtag for Social Media Week LA is #SMWLA. If there is one event hashtag you should follow, it’s #SMWsocialgood. That’s the hashtag I will be live tweeting from during our “It’s Great To Be Good!” Social Good event on 9/20 at The Vault in Culver City, and that will also be used for our giveaway during that event.
Speaking of which… are you coming?