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The Futureforth Blog

Helpful tips and articles about social media strategy, content marketing, and business networking. 

Filtering by Tag: Geek Breakfast

6 Tips To Create A Killer Networking Group

Dave Delaney

Create Your Networking Group

One of the best ways to grow your professional network is to host your own networking group. A few months after moving to Nashville, I created Geek Breakfast as a way to keep our growing technology community together. Five years ago, I launched Nashcocktail, to connect local social media professionals. You can create a group too, if you follow these five simple steps.

1. Begin with your goals. What do you hope to gain from creating a networking group?

My intention with the groups I created was to connect people and build community. I could measure this by reviewing membership and attendee numbers each month to be sure we were growing.

2. Find an available or underserved niche.

Do a simple Google search to find events in your city related to your niche. Don’t be discouraged if you find groups already exist. You should attend the events to understand how they are run. Ask yourself how your group would be different.

You may also discover a dormant group. Reach out to the organizer and ask if you can take it over. That’s what Jeff Dolan did with the Nashville Filmmakers group. Jeff explains how he did it in my interview below, plug in your headphones and enjoy.

3. Connect with and invite local leaders in the your niche.

I’m a big fan of the FollowerWonk tool. You can use this to search Twitter bios in a specific location. For example, you can search “author” and “Nashville” and find anyone on Twitter around the city, who include author in their bio. FollowerWonk will show you who are the most influential based on the number of followers they have and tweets they create.

Use LinkedIn to search for companies who provide products or services related to your niche. For example, if you are creating a networking group for the travel industry, search for travel agents, hotels, and airlines on LinkedIn. Find the people who work for the companies and reach out to invite them to your group. Once you determine the names of the companies you can also see if you have friends who work there using a simple Facebook search.

4. Use a service like MeetUp, Facebook Events, or Eventbrite to create your invitation.

MeetUp.com is a good site to create a group around a reoccurring event. Facebook Events should be used in conjunction with your Facebook Page to organize events. Eventbrite is an alternative to TicketMaster for event organizers to create tickets.

5. Reach out to everyone you know to announce the event.

Use social media, email, and pick up the phone. You want to promote the heck out of your group to get a good turnout. The first event is important because you want group members to return next time.

You may choose to pay to promote your group’s event on social networks like Facebook and Twitter. I can help you with this if you need to better understand how to affordably advertise on these platforms.

6. Poll your attendees before the event to learn more about their specific needs, so you can better serve them.

Use SurveyMonkey to create a short, simple survey. Send it to your members to ask them what they hope to gain from attending your event and being a member of your group.

Sending an occasional survey to members can also help you get the pulse of your group to ensure everyone is enjoying their membership.

Creating and running your own networking group isn't difficult. However, it takes time to grow and nurture your group. Be patient and listen to your members, they will ultimately determine if your group is a success.

If you have questions about organizing your own group and events, reach out to me with a comment below or on Twitter @davedelaney.

NMX: Brighter than the Vegas Strip

Dave Delaney

2014 NMX New Media ExpoI just returned from a few days in Las Vegas at NMX, the New Media Expo. I was there to present on how to improve your networking efforts and make the most from NMX. It is absolutely remarkable when hundreds of people come together with similar interests that they are excited about. Everyone I met at NMX had one thing in common, they were downright pumped about social media. It was an energy brighter than the lights along the Vegas strip.

The secret to making the most from any event is to meet people you don't already know, catch up with the ones you do, and follow up after the event. Meeting your online friends offline (perhaps for the first time) is more magical than a Penn and Teller show. Did I mention Penn Jillette was a keynote at the conference?

Post Conference Follow Up Tips

The first step to following up is to scan the business cards you received. I always do this using the CardMunch app as I wait at my gate to depart. I love CardMunch, because the cards are transcribed and sent directly to my LinkedIn account.

I compose an event recap blog post on the flight home. I also draft an email to send to the amazing people I met during the conference. I make a point of asking to connect on LinkedIn. I find LinkedIn perfect for helping others, because I can easily search and introduce people. You may be reading this right now from said email.

Once I am home, I like to upload and share the photos and videos I shot at the conference. I usually do this on Facebook, but I share the photos on Flickr too. Reviewing photos also helps remind me of the people I met.

I recommend creating a Twitter List of your new and old friends from the conference. I do this by reviewing all of the tweets, replies, retweets, and direct messages pertaining to NMX. I can easily return to that list to check in and to keep in touch. This is especially handy as NMX 2015 draws near.

A conference like no other

NMX is a conference unlike any other. It draws hundreds of energetic people who sincerely love new media together in an intimate setting. This is a collection of old school geeks (myself included) and young people who are craving to learn and share their knowledge.

As a veteran podcaster (my first show ran from 2005 - 2008), it is exciting to see the reemergence of the medium. Many people I met had podcasts or were just getting started. Are you? Leave a comment here please. I would love to check out your show.

My presentation was titled, You’re Nowhere Without Your Network: The True ROI of NMX. My main goal was to get the audience energized and equipped to make the most of their time at the conference. Were you at my session? What did you think?

One message of my presentation was to encourage people to create events in order to meet and connect with others. I did this at NMX by organizing a Geek Breakfast with Jared Easley. I was pleasantly surprised to see fifty smiling people at 7:45 am. I was a little nervous because it was the second morning of the conference... in Las Vegas, where few people get adequate sleep. I sincerely want to thank everyone who attended (I hope to see you in the Facebook group).

NMX was fantastic. I am so thankful to Rick Calvert, his team of volunteers, organizers, sponsors, and my fellow speakers. Thank you for having me. I am also thankful to the many people I met and got to see once again. If you have a love for new media, blogging, podcasting, social networking, and all things online, you should add NMX to your list of must attend conferences for 2015.

Were you at NMX? What was your favorite thing about the conference? Leave a comment and let's keep in touch please.

Meet Your Friends Offline

Dave Delaney

Photo by Nicola CorboyThe Internet is a powerful place. We meet like-minded people from all across this wonderful world. We socialize with our new friends via an array of different social networking sites, and these relationships grow stronger as we invest time in them.

This is a magical experience to me, and one that becomes even better when I meet my online friends offline, “in real life”.

In my book, New Business Networking, I write about some of my personal experiences with meeting online friends in person and what transpired. There is something special about that moment when you reach out and shake their hand, give them a high-five, or even better, a hug.

I have often met many of my online friends in person at conferences like South by Southwest or Consumer Electronics Show, but not everybody has a budget for attending such events. This shouldn’t stop you though.

The truth is, you are probably conversing online with many people who reside in your city. Our hometowns provide countless topics for discussion and debate, so it is only natural that you meet other locals. Can you find a way to invite these people to meet in person? Forget what your parents said; you must talk to strangers.

Why not organize a tweet up with your Twitter friends (and their friends)? Use Meetup.com to create a casual meet up with your online pals. Facebook has Events. You get the idea.

Here is Your Homework

Do a little digging for local events worth attending to meet the people you converse with online. If an event doesn’t exist, plan one and invite them. Don’t charge a fee to attend, and include a cash bar. It’s dead simple to do this. I created Geek Breakfast, which now has chapters across the US, Australia, South Africa, and in Canada on this very model. You can do this too.

We meet people in person to build stronger relationships, which may lead to business opportunities down the road. Not only can these lead to more such opportunities, but they can also result in new friendships.

Leave a comment with the event you are planning (or planning to attend) and the city you reside in. Who knows, maybe fellow Owner readers from your town will see this and connect with you in person too.

Do it. You will be glad you did.

Photo by Nicola Corboy


This post originally appeared in Owner Magazine.