I recently attended a Renton Chamber of Commerce “After Hours” event. This particular event was held at the Red Lion Hotel and was themed as a luau. There was food, drinks, and live entertainment.
Also, there was networking.
I used to loathe trade shows, chamber events, awards dinners, and other such functions. I found them boring and unproductive, mainly because I was being unproductive. I’d sit and read while my father chatted with people about the business.
But now I intensely enjoy networking function. I guess it began when I started using LinkedIn. I now go to these events and collect all the business cards I can. Then I return home and methodically enter the names I collected into LinkedIn, inviting them to connect.
It’s become a sort of mini-game for me to see how well I can make an impression on people. Asking people to connect on LinkedIn is my test. Trust me, if you think you love LinkedIn but don’t do this, email me and prove me wrong.
Let me give you an example: While I was at the Chamber Luau, I met a guy from this temp agency, whom I shall call Steve. Because he was nearby, I struck up a conversation with him and we began to talk, of course exchanging business cards.
I learned that Steve lived in <REDACTED>, previously worked as a <REDACTED>, and has a family of <REDACTED>.
Okay, I kid. His name was Sam, he lives in Tacoma (heck of a commute!) and used to work as a floor tiling salesman. He was a nice guy, and I was glad to meet him. My efforts were awarded by his acceptance of my request to connect on LinkedIn. Thank you, Sam!
In all seriousness, making connections at chamber events is a great way to make industry contacts and let people know you’re out there.
In social media marketing, you have to go where your customers hang out. This could be Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter, depending on who they are.
But it’s equally important, especially for a B2B company such as ours, to go where our customers are and to get to know them on a personal level.
We have to maintain a strong presence in these circles in order to demonstrate that we care. If we can do that, then we will be the first business that comes to people’s minds when they say, “Golly, I sure could use some printing.”
Also, there’s nothing wrong with a little entertainment. I’m sure you’ve all seen that silly video that shows Kristin doing Luau dancing. Practically speaking, being a little lighthearted makes your business look more approachable. Just imagine if Xerox put out a video of their executives doing a song-and-dance routine.
So, who’s up for some root beer after work tonight?
Marketing Director at the Renton Printery. Providing commentary on local and business news, along with notes on the state of the shop.