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Hannah Norman

9 Tips for Conference Speaking, Social Media, Blogging and Networking #DigitalFemales

18th Jun 2012 News, Events | 5 Comments


The third #DigitalFemales Meetup took place on Wednesday 13th June at The Long Acre in London. Once again there was a very good turn out with even more new faces from previous meetups.

A big thank you to Linkdex who kindly sponsored this meetup putting £500 behind the bar! Collette Easton gave a very insightful presentation on the services Linkdex offer and how they can help your Company.

Where to start, well the evening was all about 1:1 Speed Mentoring where everyone had the chance to spend 5 minutes with each mentor to fire their questions across.

There were four mentors covering the following topics:


Lisa Myers (@LisaDMyers) – Conference Speaking
Nichola Stott (@NicholaStott) – Social Media
Anna Lewis (@Koozai_Anna) – Blogging
Sam Noble (@Koozai_Sam) – Networking

There has been some very positive feedback from the evening so I thought I would share the most commonly asked questions on the evening.

Conference Speaking

What is your advice for pitching the ‘difficult level’ of the content in a presentation?(for example if the content is too advanced it may put people off, but if it is too basic people might get bored)

Lisa advised to research into the type of audience (for example at a meet up), then always make the content slightly more advanced than you think it needs to be. This way it won’t be boring and people can always come and ask you questions about it afterwards if there were parts they didn’t understand.

Social Media

Should I have separate social media accounts for my professional and personal profile and groups of contacts?

Nichola thinks this is a personal choice and very subjective according to your own personal goals and how you use social media with your different groups of contacts. As a small business owner the boundaries between work and life are pretty much non-existent for Nichola. She has a number of professional contacts that she now calls friends and there are distinct delineations, such as times of day, as she may often find herself involved in professional activities of an evening or weekend. Nichola’s friends know what she does for a living and they know that status updates algorithm changes are not going to be interesting to them. When it comes to free time and personal life, Nichola is selective about what she publishes but then she would be still regardless of her position.

As an employer many people want to see evidence of a rounded human being with hobbies, interests and personality; particularly in digital marketing sectors. In this space if a person’s profile is completely professional and one-dimensional that may appear a little disingenuous. If Nicholas long term goal was a career in a more traditional industry like banking or politics then of course she would be extremely careful and well aware of all restrictions and privacy settings that she could use to ringfence access to what she publishes on her social profiles.

In short Nichola suggests that your approach to social media profiles is dependent on your own goals, but as there are no right or wrong answers it is important that you have the courage of your convictions.

How do I get noticed for my specialism? I have a great product/knowledge/information but I’m finding it difficult to get this seen and appreciated.

Building reputation on social media platforms can be difficult as even with the most credible product or information it’s got to be seen by the right people in order for this to be understood, appreciated and hopefully shared. Start by ensuring that you have a social media content plan to deliver messaging and information around what you do and begin by identifying people like you, that will potentially ‘get’ the value of what you’re offering. Using directories like www.klout.com and www.wefollow.com can be useful for helping you identify who to follow as well as identifying journalists who cover businesses and topic within your space. Also follow competitors and authorities on subjects that are peripheral to what you do. Whenever you come across a great piece of research or critical writing on something relevant to your product check out the writer’s bio as many will provide links to their social profiles.

The next step is to listen. Watch and monitor who is saying what and how frequently to get a feel of for particular areas of interest and specialities; then start to participate once you have a bit of a feel for the community you have identified. Start by answering questions; agreeing or disagreeing with updates or tweets. Disagreeing with someone and backing your point up with data, particularly your own research can be a great way of sparking debate and getting recognition. Of course this is social media and sharing interesting content and comments from others will not only be appreciated by those whose content you are sharing, but will also expand your own credibility (providing you’re not blindly re-tweeting poor quality content).

Above all, shout. Be present, have an opinion, keep at it, spark debate. Promote your own work, tweet your own content (within a sensible ratio of promoting other content and general conversations).

Blogging

How do I improve my blog’s reach?

There was a lot of discussion about how to build a blog up from scratch and how to get people involved. Anna recommended starting off slowly to get new writers used to it, trying not to put people off by demanding too many posts from them and also to see if you can incentivise those who write so that they have multiple reasons to contribute and help share the blog content. Using social plugins on the blog from day one to make is easy for people to share your content with their followers.

Once the blog has a good number of posts and readership starts picking up, you will then want to push it more to gain visibility and increase the audience more. When you reach this stage you can then start looking to get your authors writing for other industry blogs and also invite authoritative writers in the industry to contribute to your blog.
Always try to maintain good quality writing that’s useful and valuable to people, otherwise no one will share it and it won’t even be beneficial if it ranks.

Should I keep my personal and industry posts on separate websites?

The answer to this depends on each situation, but where you’re blogging about love, life or relationships, keep that separate to your blog about SEO/Digital Marketing. If it’s all going to be about your journey in to your job with the odd off topic experience dropped in, on a blog that is more for you and your family/friends/colleagues to read then by all means go ahead and keep it on one.

Understand that if a blog covers too many areas it’s hard for it to become well known for anything.  If you can manage two or more blogs and build them up within their own subject area then they are likely to be more successful than a blog that tries to cover too many different topics.

How do I write good stuff when everything’s been written about already?

When news comes out, don’t just regurgitate it, put your own twist on it; add how this new thing can useful to people in your industry or the problems that may arise from it. Always try and get your head around the new thing hands on rather than just reading what someone else has written about it and then writing it in your own words, people get a lot less value from second or third hand explanations.

There’s often a lot that can be added to how to guides that have already been written, Anna wrote a post recently about how to link AdWords and Analytics accounts, which Google themselves have two guides on, but she added in her own experiences and troubleshooting tips which makes it useful to people and worth writing. See what you can add and don’t undervalue your knowledge – there’s always people out there who won’t know what you know.

Networking

When I go to conferences, I find it difficult to network with people during the breaks as there are a lot of groups already formed. What would you recommend?

At conferences, people are very much in the mind set of work so it can be difficult to speak to people during breaks as they may be preoccupied with other things. The best networking at conferences always happens after the actual event in the pub! So, if you don’t stick around then this is the first thing to change. Make sure you know what is going on after the conference and go along. People are much more relaxed and it is easier to meet people and get to know them better.

What conferences or meet ups would you recommend as good places to go and meet people?

Some of the larger, international conferences don’t always have events happening in the evening as they are targeted to more corporate businesses, so the networking opportunities aren’t always as good. If you are looking for conferences for networking Sam would recommend BrightonSEO, ThinkVis and SAScon as there are always great after parties which carry on into the early hours. As for meetup groups, Sam has attended a few that really stand out for her including OMN London, Distilled’s Meetups, LondonSEO which is a group set up purposely for getting people together after events and of course, Digital Females.

If there are people I want to meet at a conference or event, how do I go about doing this when they don’t know who I am?

Sam suggested a couple of ideas, the first being make yourself known to them before going to the conference or event. Whenever Sam is going anywhere she always sets up a Twitter search for the event and a hashtag to see who is going to be there and also a Twitter list for all the speakers. By doing this you have quick access to what each person is posting on Twitter in the lead up to the event.

You can then start interacting with them before the event by sharing their content, commenting on posts they have written or just generally starting tweet conversations. When you get to the event you will find that you are more likely than not going to be on their radar so when you approach them, you already have something in common and are now aware of one another.  After you leave the event you should then keep up the online conversation to continue strengthening the relationship making it easier the next time you meet face to face.

Sam’s second suggestion was to just bite the bullet and go and speak to whoever you want to at an event. Remembering that we are all human and no matter how well respected someone is in whatever industry, they started off their career not knowing anyone so they will know you feel. As soon as you have done this once, the next time gets much easier as your confidence grows.

The Next #DigitalFemales Meetup – TBC
If anyone has any suggestions of topics for future meetups please get in touch with Sam Noble and please check out all the latest on up and coming events by visiting the Digital Females website www.digitalfemales.com

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Hannah Norman About the author

Hannah Norman

Excellent customer service and a positive attitude make Hannah a great asset to the team. Hannah ensures that the day to day admin and accounts keep pace with the high levels of work going on in the office.

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