Transforming Connections into Opportunities: My Journey in Social Media Strategy as an Event Professional

10 Unexpected Doors That Opened For Me Thanks to Twitter

When I started to implement a rudimentary social media strategy in August of 2009, my goal was to find new clients for the family business, Icon Presentations Audio Visual for Events.

I knew it wouldn’t happen overnight, but I had LOTS of time on my hands, so I committed to a strategy I called #EIR (Engage, Inform & Retweet), posting 10 to 16 tweets per day that included links to information potential clients might need.

As I scoured the web for this information, I got a crash course on the issues affecting the event industry the most.  (Probably the first fringe benefit I got from social media.) I realized that I find the event industry and event professionals fascinating.

I did what the most respected social media experts said to do.  I set up a blog linked to my website, as well as a Facebook page for my business. And I started reaching out to others, engaging in conversations on Twitter, commenting on other blogs, taking part in Twitter chats etc.

I tried my best to help people with information, with encouragement and with promotion of their blogs, etc.

And then some amazing things started to happen that I never expected.

1 – Enriching Friendships led to Collaboration

I made wonderful friends who gave me loads of encouragement, support and guidance.  These friends helped to promote me and all of my efforts.  And several of these friendships led to collaborations on projects that I would never have considered doing before and provided me with more exposure and/or new revenue.

2 – Event Camp

Being involved so strongly in the Twitter #eventprofs community, I was eager to turn my online relationships into face to face relationships. So, even though I had never flown on a plane by myself and it was located on the other side of the country, I took the opportunity to meet  my friends “in real life” at the first Event Camp in NYC in February 2010. Attending Event Camp, the first conference born from the #eventprofs community,  led to many more opportunities and collaborations with my event professional friends.

3 – Engage365

A meeting at Event Camp Twin Cities in September of 2010, along with the recommendation of one of my dearest Twitter friends, Lindsey Rosenthal of Events For Good, led to a position as Community Manager for the online community for event professionals, Engage365.

4 – Speaking about Social Media

I spent SO much time tweeting and blogging that I began to feel comfortable sharing what I had learned about social media in blog posts. Quite a few people began to adopt my #EIR strategy.

Then in January of this year, one of my Twitter friends, Liz King of Liz King Events, was set to speak at The Special Event Show on social media but unfortunately was prevented from attending.  She asked me and another friend Lindsay Fultz, of Middle Child New Media, to fill in for her.  This was a wonderful opportunity to attend the event and to get more exposure for myself, as a social media speaker and for my company.

5 – Eventprov

At Event Camp East Coast, held in November of 2010, I was asked to speak on using improv for business. Sharing the concepts of improv for leadership, team building and self-improvement, had been a cherished dream that began to develop shortly after I started using social media to educate myself on event industry issues. My first-time sharing these concepts was a big hit and led me to begin another blog all about applied improv, called Eventprov.

6 – EPHH

After meeting so many of them at Event Camp, I wanted to hang out with my Twitter friends more regularly. But living in the California desert was a huge obstacle. My daughter had met her boyfriend on a video chat and I wondered if we couldn’t use that technology to do some socializing.  My friend Eric Lukazewski made it happen. And now our #EPHH (eventprofs happy hour) group meets once a week on a site called Tiny Chat.

7 – Freelance blogging

I was approached by another Twitter friend recently, Terri Hardin of Cvent, to do some freelance blogging for the company. I’m very glad to have the opportunity to write about the subject of social media for event professionals.

8 – Conferences

The conferences (and I wouldn’t know about them if it weren’t for Twitter) I’ve attended have led to many new opportunities, friendships and learning experiences. I have presented at 4 event industry conferences – 2 on social media and 2 on improv for business/teambuilding. In addition, I will be involved in presenting, planning and organizing a few conferences in the coming months. (Who knew?)

9 – Blogging Skills

I got serious about blogging. My blog Sound n’ Sightis now on Alltop and enjoys a website grade of 92.  Eventprov is gaining ground.  My blogging skills and confidence have both improved enormously.  I actually had a post go “viral” (for my standards, anyway) recently.

10 – Me a tech geek?

Finally, and probably most surprising of all, I am considered a tech geek by my offline (and even a few of my online) friends. I know a little html code, I use many different desk top and mobile apps. Heck, I even have a mobile app for my blog now! And I like to cover the latest internet tech advances on my blogs and on Engage365.

YES – I achieved my original goal of attracting new clients to Icon.  Due to my constant online activity and content generation, our company is at the top of search engine results for all of our key words. And we are getting many new calls from people searching online.

But, even if somehow my efforts never gained us another new Icon client, I would still say it was worth it.  My life is so much richer with friendships and new personal career opportunities popping up everyday.  I am a very grateful tweeter.

About Jenise:

Jenise Fryatt

Jenise Fryatt has worked in the event industry for more than 20 years as Co-Owner/ Marketing Director of Icon Presentations AV for events.Thanks to Twitter, she is also manager of the online community for event professionals, Engage365, writes for 3 blogs and also freelance blogs.  She speaks on social media marketing and, as founder of Eventprov, facilitates interactive conference presentations using improv concepts to build leadership, collaboration and communication skills.

Follow Jenise on Twitter

Keith Johnston

Keith Johnston

Keith is the Managing Partner of i3 Events but is most widely known as the outspoken publisher of the event industry blog PlannerWire. In addition to co-hosting the Bullet List and Event Tech Pull Up Podcasts, he has been featured in Plan Your Meetings, Associations Now, Convene, Event Solutions, and has appeared on the cover of Midwest Meetings Magazine.

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