For any business to grow, you need initiative, zeal and the right kind of connections. The first step for growing a successful business is to punch in the hours and hard work as an individual. The second step is to leverage highly influential people, with the same kind of driving force, to help add to your trade.
Through the course of history absolutely everybody has done the above.
How does one accomplish this, you ask?
It’s simple! Network! Get out there! But act strategically.
Networking and meeting new people, who are masters of their own field, sets up a web of goals for one to reach. A sheen from the best rubs off on you and you are never the same again.
Like Dan says, ‘You hang out with me and I’ll brainwash you.’ It’s their mindsets that you want to extract and learn from, but mostly it’s one simple thing that resonates with you and doesn’t require you to change your lifestyle or go through a change in your personality.
Now, we all know you won’t meet these influencers just like that. They can be found at conferences and events, trailblazing all across the world, and that is where you need to be if you want to have a meeting with them.
Back in 2005, when I started Internet Moguls, I attended my first international conference. I remember being slightly nervous of being lost in the crowd of 5,000 attendees. However, the solution to my anxiety was simple—and my mother’s words would always ring in my ears—all you need to do is “stand out Avi!” as she would say to me as a kid going into any new situation.
Standing out is never a difficult task—your individuality gives you the basic tools needed to do so. Just have the guts to be yourself.
To be exceptional, you need to use the data and knowledge you already have and interpret it in a way that it shows like an aura around you. Be confident because you know something that can always help those you meet. So stay strong and walk tall in your own head first.
I remember this being a panel discussion I was attending and I gathered the courage to stand up, raise my hand high and ask a question. I was wearing my Internet Moguls jacket and I’m six feet, three inches, a large man and with my hand raised I think I am hard to miss.
Nothing wrong right! Just getting noticed by doing the right thing. I said, “Hi, I am Avi Arya, street car racer turned hotelier then discovered the Internet in 1995 and that changed everything in my life forever. I am now the founder of Internet Moguls, a social media agency helping brands grow their revenue online. My question to you Mr. X is …,” and I went on to ask my question.
Then four new people who I would have never met in my life otherwise came up to me and we exchanged details of our work together. Many such questions over the last years helped me make many business/client relationships.
Hopefully before these events, you are already doing what’s needed to constantly put content out there: reply to queries, comment, upload, be aware of what’s happening around you and how it may change things and help people by deep diving into forums asking and replying to questions.
Create an online presence for yourself and it will automatically take care of your offline reputation. When you shake hands with another human at a conference or when they check you online they will know you are a community player.
Now before you network with influencers, here are a few things you must keep in mind. If you already know of an influencer, use the following pointers to engage them:
- Research their communication platforms, for example, it could be an email address you procured or an Instagram handle.
- Reach out! Send messages and content to them. Appreciate their content by commenting, liking or subscribing.
- Fix that appointment! Call in to their office, try to arrange a meeting. I called Gant Cardone’s office and Gary Vee’s office; messaged them emailed them and finally got my meetings. I somehow think many of us think this is so difficult and never even try.
- I never take no for an answer. Be patient, be respectful. They might be busy, but no one is busy forever. One day or another, they will indulge your request, be it a week, a month or a year later. Lewis Howe’s replied to me on Facebook messenger and we set up a time for an interview and meet up.
- Approach the unapproachable. They are entrepreneurs who are always looking to expand their businesses, knowledge and understanding. See if they are launching a new book. Buy a few and meet them to get them signed. If they are wanting a new guest, see if you can help them get connected .
- Don’t ask for work, favors or ask them to let you pick their brains. Be ready with a story that’s engaging and makes them remember you. Ask permission to remain in touch. After all, your aim is not to take a picture with them and frame it on your wall, it’s to have their brilliance rub off on you and help your business and personal brand.
- Have a conversation. Remember time is of the essence and they will always be surrounded by a lot of people. Give your story, then what you can do for them. This must include helping them with a current challenge they are facing. Ask permission to get in touch over an email to set up a call.
Now, let me help you with a few tips on how to conduct yourself in a professional setting, like that of a renowned event such as the www.socialmediaexaminer.com; that takes place in San Jose, CA.
Ask the Right Questions
During a keynote/talk/event at a conference that has an individual driving content towards you, stand up and ask questions whenever given the opportunity to do so. This is mutually beneficial for you and for the people in the audience too shy to raise their hands and ask hard-hitting questions. This will enable you to connect with the audience as well as the speaker without having to be on that stage.
Always start by introducing yourself, as an individual and as a brand. I always go for: “Hi, I’m Avi Arya, founder of Internet Moguls. We are a social media agency focusing on the hospitality sector and my question is…”, followed by a relevant question.
Don’t ask a question for the sake of it, know your intentions.
- Being portrayed as a sharp thinking individual with knowledge and debate skills.
- More people will come up to you and would want to connect with you because you just made yourself visible in an assembly line crowd.
Have the Guts to Stand Out
After founding Internet Moguls, I obviously found myself customizing my Moguls Racer’s Jacket, complete with our logo on it. Before going to a conference, I would send out mass emails informing my connections of my presence at the conference while subtly mentioning that I could be found wearing my signature jacket. I always make sure I attach a picture of myself wearing that jacket in the email to give people an idea of what they’ll be looking for.
Visibility is key, convenience of recognition is essential. If you have a service that can help others, you must make it a point to stand out so more people can get your message.
Follow Up on Your Meeting
One year before the date of the conference, I email the people I want to connect with so as to confirm their presence there. I repeat the process 60 days prior to the event and then finally fix a time for a meet 20 days in advance.
This is a good way to connect with influential people because they are obviously busy and prioritizing things is an essential part of their work calendar. To ensure a foolproof reach out, plan in advance and lock yourself a meeting in their schedule.
Connect with these moguls over LinkedIn and Facebook, follow any or all of their social media platforms, and actively indulge in acknowledging and appreciating their content.
Being Flamboyant is Just Getting Noticed!
Unless you get noticed, your message never gets heard. Put yourself out there! I’m always accompanied by a video person, hence I have a plethora of ways to make useful video content on-the-go.
My preferred way of going about this is to generally shoot a video giving my introduction, providing information about my work and my presence at the conference.
Towards the end of the video, talk about a place and time you’d be available for a chit-chat, post the video on Facebook and Instagram, and other platforms. Tag a few people who have already confirmed their presence. Showing willingness to meet people who could share their experience or would like to ask you questions is important.
This will help you create a community way before the actual event commences. These people you meet could be influencers themselves. Every connection you make could help benefit your business, so it is never a waste of time to talk to people.
Now that you have all of this information, here are some of the business and marketing conferences happening around the world that I feel you must not miss. Click on the hyperlinks to register for the same.
Social Media Conferences:
- VidCon US, June 20-23 2018; The Anaheim Convention Center; Anaheim, CA.
Founded by the Vlogbrothers, John Green (The Fault in Our Stars fame) and Hank Green.
Tickets start from $125- $650
- Smart Social NYC : April 17, 2018, New York, New York.
Early Bird Tickets available for $625 (30% off till March 26)
- Content Marketing Conference: May 2-4, 2018, Boston, Massachusetts
Early Bird Tickets start from $1099 onwards (Special Offer: Sign up by 1/31/2018 for the Early Bird Rate to save and get bonus access to all CMC 2017 recorded sessions!)
- Traffic & Conversion Summit: February 26th – 28th, 2018, San Diego, CA
- Podcast Movement: July 23-26, 2018, Philadelphia Marriot Downtown
Tickets: Super Early Bird – $279, Super Early Bird – Standard Plus – $359, Super Early Bird Pro Pass – $579, PM18 Virtual Pass – $199, Regular Pricing – Standard Plus Pass – $514, Regular Pricing – Pro Pass – $739.
- DigiMarCon Asia Pacific 2018, September 20th to 21st, 2018 at the luxurious Marina Bay Sands Expo & Convention Centre in Singapore.
Tickets Start from $597 (Register Now and Save up to $300 Off Your Pass!
Super Early Bird Rates Available Through 13/7)
- Social Media Summit: March 1 & 2, 2018; Grand Hyatt, Bali
Presented by SOCIALBAKERS.
TICKETS: start from $1299 onwards for one person.
- Rise: Hong Kong, July 9-12, 2018
Tickets: Super Early Bird – $375
- Social Media Camp: May 2nd– 3rd 2018, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Founded by Chris Burdge, president bWEST Interactive; in 2010.
Early bird tickets Sold Out, Normal Pass: $499 (only 94 remaining as of 09/01/18)
- SocialWest: June 13, 14, 15, 2018 – Calgary, Alberta
Pre-Sale Tickets: $425 (On sale until January 17th, 2018 – Save $174)
- CIMC: April 5 – 6, 2018, Squamish BC, Canada
Tickets: $275 – $1,000
- Unbounce Call To Action Conference 2018: 27th – 29th Aug,Queen Elizabeth Theatre, 649 Cambie St, Vancouver, BC V6B 2P1
Tickets: $299 (Sales end on 28th Feb)
- Web Summit: November 5-8, 2018, Lisbon
Tickets: Get a free 2 for 1 discount code for 2018 and save 50%. Get two tickets for €850
I look forward to bumping into one of you at some of these conferences, seeing you raise your hand high, standing on a chair if you need to and asking the right questions that others in the audiences might be thinking of asking but we’re too afraid to try.
Wish you super success in 2018.Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.