It’s time. Over a thousand legal marketing professionals wait a year for this. The suspense looms large in firms all over the world. An investment in knowledge, growth and relationships has been made.
LMA11 is shorthand for the Legal Marketing Association’s 2011 Annual Conference, where marketers from around the world come together to advance the legal profession and continue to learn about the ever-changing roles they must take to stay relevant. Our conference this year is April 4-6 at Disney World.
I’ve attended my share of these conferences as I started in-house as Director of Marketing with Baker & Daniels in 1997. I’ve learned a great deal, have watched my career evolve, and have made friendships with many wonderful, intelligent, supportive people, for which I am forever grateful.
The past few years have been different. There has been a change in the way we communicate about the conference. The conversations before, during and after are much richer than they ever have been before. It has been easier to form, nurture and protect the relationships that revolve around the conference and the Association.
Social Networking is what is different.
Attendees have begun connecting in ways not possible in past years because we often only had time for short introductions and pleasantries in between sessions, at lunch, in the exhibit hall and other events. I, and others, love that these connections are being made.
What is important to note is that this activity is no different just because we’re marketers. This kind of networking can take place regardless of the profession, the size of your firm, the nature of your business, the position you hold or the type of clients you serve.
In honor of this new era in conference communication, I’ve created a list for you!
THE TOP 10 THINGS YOU CAN DO TO GET SOCIAL AT THE CONFERENCE!
(Pardon the alliteration!)
1. TRAVEL OVER TO TWITTER
Twitter is a great place to connect with conference attendees, as well as those who can’t attend. There are several ways you can use Twitter.
- Make sure you set up a Twitter account that actually has your name somewhere in the profile so we know who you are.
- Use a Twitter management tool. My favorite for all-day use is TweetDeck. I also use Hootsuite for other purposes.
- Begin following this list of all legal marketers on Twitter that Laura Gutierrez created.
- Take a look at the list of legal marketers created by Lindsay Griffiths, then follow them.
- Set up search columns for #LMA and #LMA11, and monitor the conversations taking place in those spaces.
- Look at the Profiles of those whose Tweets end up in those columns, and Follow them.
- Put these new Follows in a column titled “legal marketers,” or something like that. This helps you watch and converse with them throughout the year.
- When someone posts in those #LMA & #LMA11 columns, reach out and say hello…you know, network with them!
- Attend the Tweetup on Monday at 6:45PM at The Captain’s Cup Lounge off the Yacht Club Lobby.
- When your new contacts post something that you like, RT (share) their Tweets often. This is the lifeblood of Twitter.
2. LIVE IT UP ON LINKEDIN
LinkedIn offers many opportunities for growth and connection. Let’s start here:
- Make sure you have joined your local LMA chapter group on LinkedIn. Participate.
- Head on over to the 2011 LMA Conference Group, then join it.
- Take a look at all the conversations that have taken place. Comment if you have a thought.
- If you have a question about the conference, particularly if you’re new, start a Discussion. No one will laugh at you. I promise. They’ll laugh at me, but not at you.
- Invite those in your Chapter and the 2011 Groups to connect. When you send the invitation, don’t use LinkedIn’s standard invitation copy. Write a sentence of your own, reminding the person how you found them.
- If you’d like, connect with me here.
3. BEEF UP THE BLOGOSPHERE
Whether you have a blog, or like to read blogs, or both, you have options.
- Write a blog post talking about some aspect of the conference that has your attention.
- Head on over to Heather Morse’s blog to find the list of legal marketers who have indicated they will be blogging from the conference.
- Visit each of these blogs, add them to your RSS feed, or sign up to have their posts delivered to your inbox automatically.
- If you don’t have a blog, send out a general statement asking if any LMA bloggers would like your guest post for their blog. Megan McKeon did this yesterday on Heather’s blog.
- Share what you read with others. Use the Social icons on blogs, and share & bookmark these posts with others. Again, this sharing is the lifeblood of Social Media.
4. HOLD A HAND
Being Social also takes place IRL, or In Real Life. In fact, this is often one of the goals of Social Networking; Stage 3 perhaps, after connecting virtually, then maybe talking on the telephone or email, which are Stages 1 and 2.
When you meet someone, reach out and extend a warm handshake. Don’t actually hold their hand as this section title suggests, but let the other person know you are happy to see or meet them.
- Leave the vice grip handshake at home. Firm and strong is one thing, but showing your strength with a clamp is not.
- Don’t assume women can’t handle a firm handshake. Wimpy, half-handed, shake-the-fingers-not-the-whole-hand handshakes can actually make you look bad, and are even irritating to some.
5. CARRY YOUR CARDS
What? Old-fashioned business cards?! Perish the thought!
- If you have two pockets, use them.
- Put your cards in one pocket. Put new cards in the other, not in a card case, but free so you can grab one quickly.
- Bring enough cards so you never have to say you only brought a couple, and you’re out.
- Don’t ask for someone’s card if you aren’t interested.
- Don’t hand someone your card if they are showing an obvious lack of interest.
- Actually look at the card you receive. Is there some bit of information that you are curious enough about to ask a question?
- Keep a pen in one of your pockets, and always try to write a note about where you met that person, what was significant about that meeting or that person, and any follow-up you think might be useful.
6. BE BOLD WITH YOUR BADGE
Name badges are interesting pieces of equipment. Some come with lanyards that lie flat, or not, and some don’t. Some are too long. Some have safety pins. Some get lost and become the topic of conversation, as happened during LMA10.
- Make it easy for everyone to see your name.
- Don’t force people to look at your chest or abdomen to see your name, firm, company or city.
- If your badge is too long, shorten the lanyard in back so your badge is higher.
- Put some backup business cards in the pouch in the back so you never have to say you didn’t bring enough down from the room.
7. GET NICE WITH NOTES
Ah, the good old-fashioned hand-written note! Do I believe in them? You betcha I do! A handwritten note played a part in a new client I was honored to work with as a result after LMA10.
- Refer to the Business Card section above about writing notes on the back of business cards.
- If you’re really organized, bring note cards with you to the conference.
- Even though we’re usually dragging by the end of the night, find time during the day to at least address the envelopes, putting the business card inside as a way to remind you what comment you’d like to follow up on.
- Make sure you remind the note recipient how and where you met. It’s hard to remember everyone after a conference, and this will help.
- The note doesn’t have to be long. Telling someone you met on Monday outside the Exhibit Hall, that you enjoyed your discussion about Social Media, and would love to stay in touch takes about a minute.
8. BE A RELATIONSHIP REMINDER
When you follow up with someone during or after the conference, give them a gentle reminder how you met.
- Never expect people to remember where they met you. You & I are one of hundreds of people they will meet at conferences.
- Look at the note you wrote on their business card, and tell them how you met.
- Make a note of the presentation they gave, and tell them you attended.
- If you invite them to connect on LinkedIn, tell them how they know you.
9. CALENDAR YOUR CONTACT
Building relationships takes time, so it’s important to remind yourself to follow up.
- When you’ve met someone with whom you’d like to continue to connect, add them to your CRM system, your database or whatever you use.
- Open your calendar, and make note of the note card you just sent so you are reminded when this relationship originated.
- Decide what kind of frequency of contact would be of value to you and the other person. Don’t push too hard.
- Schedule automatic reminders to get in touch with this person based on the frequency you have chosen.
- Vary your communication. One time you might forward an article about Social Media to me, another a phone call letting me know about a conference of interest, and so one.
- When you can tell this relationship is no longer valuable (that’s another blog post in itself), either lengthen the time between contact, or cancel the reminders.
10. ENJOY EVERY ENCOUNTER
This goes without saying, but I’ll go ahead and say it. Enjoy the conference. Enjoy each person you meet as you can always find value in them. Enjoy the sessions. Most important: Get Social and enjoy the networking!
I look forward to seeing you at the conference, and hope to get to meet each and every one of you, as well as to continue our relationship via Social Media!