Virtual Event Networking Starts with Better Social Profiles

by Gerry Moran

A better social media profile is the first step to better virtual event networking.

Shine up your social media profiles before your next online or in-person event. It’s a personal branding best practice in anyone’s book! 

I can remember when My mom sent me off to my first day of school. She used a checklist to get me all spit-shined and presentable. The routine included tucked-away index cards in my pockets, lunchbox, and school folders. All of the notes were there to help me. She wanted me to make an excellent first impression and have a way for others to get in touch with her if I got lost!

What is Virtual Event Networking?

Virtual event networking is sharing and exchanging ideas, points of view, and information with others who attend webinars, online meetings, or conferences.

There’s a big difference between in-person and virtual networking. Typically in-person mingling occurs in informal settings like lingering after a speaker session or in the lobby. Virtual events pose an entirely different set of dynamics. Online schmoozing requires following Twitter feeds, making and responding to chat-window comments, and being proactive with a mention, reply, or DM on social media.

Whether you are attending an in-person event, or a virtual one, there is one thing for certain. You have to set a good first impression! Starting with your online appearance.

Do you walk the talk? Or, will others walk away from you?

Well, I am headed to an online event this week. And I was reviewing my handy-dandy preparatory virtual networking self-checklist. One that would make my mom proud! However, this time my list is for my social media first-impression. And now I am sharing it with you!

Why is this quick refresh so significant? Many who see your name on the registration list will look you up on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. It’s just native behavior. So, spend a few minutes to make these updates.

3 Steps to Improve Your Social Media Profiles for Better Virtual Event Networking

Step 1. Quick update of your LinkedIn profile

LinkedIn is the social media hub for most—marketers, customers, media, and other passionate fans! If people see you at an online or in-person event, they’ll look for your LinkedIn profile. This online research is native behavior. Here are a few suggestions for you to make an excellent first impression on those searchers:

  1. Take a great photo! Quick! If your photo pairs you with a pet, girlfriend, or your boat, take it down! First, put on some professional clothes. Then ask someone to take a nice, clear, and close photo from your smartphone so that you can make a smart impression!
  1. Update your Headline, About, and Experience sections. After looking at that great mug in your new photo, say to yourself, “I am interesting.” You should immediately make sure your background details are up to date. Please make sure they represent our recent work or accomplishments. This LinkedIn update is your way to make yourself interesting! This update is the place to let your personality shine through. If it is too much to rewrite all the sections, then update your Headline. And make it your priority to refresh your About and Experience areas after the event!
  1. Expand your contact info. If someone is trying to get in touch with you, it should not be a scavenger hunt! Everyone’s LinkedIn profile should include clear and simple ways to get in touch with you. So, have your cellphone, email, and Twitter contact information. Make sure to state this information early in your summary and avoid the hunt!

If you are looking for suggestions for the way your photo, bio, and contact information should look, check out my approach at http://www.linkedin.com/in/gerrymoran

Virtual event networking starts when many who see your name on an event’s registration list will look you up on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. It’s just native behavior. So, spend a few minutes making these profile updates.

Gerry Moran

Step 2. A simple refresh of your Twitter profile

Twitter profiles are the second most important profile. If you use social media and Twitter, your profile needs to be as sharp as your LinkedIn information. However, the challenge is that you have only 160 characters to do it!

  1. Take a Terrific Picture! No one likes Twitter egg pictures. Use the same image as your LinkedIn and get with the best B2B and B2C platforms in the world, IMHO.
  1. Create a descriptive and engaging Bio! You have 160 characters, so make a good impression in your bio. Embrace your personality. Use keywords since they are searchable. And link to another place to get in touch with you like a blog, LinkedIn profile, or website.
  1. Add a brilliant and attention-getting background! Please get rid of the standard Twitter background and replace it with a relevant picture. I’ve still not mastered Photoshop, so I have used Canva to create mine.
  1. Shine up, your Twitter handle. Handles are for people to grab onto, so make it easy to let people grab on to you on Twitter. If you don’t have your handle on your business cards, then write it on the back of a handful of cards!

Step 3. Simple revitalization of your Instagram profile

If you’ve not embraced the best social photo service yet, then how’s the time! If you are a closet iPhone photographer like me, then this service is for you! However, like Twitter and LinkedIn, you need to have a photo-centric strategy! If you can’t find something to take a picture of on the show floor, then you need to look a little harder! I already have five picture-based blog ideas!

  1. Change your profile photo. It’s OK to be a bit more creative with Instagram. But remember, your social profile is public and impacts your professional impact. Instagram makes it very easy to import your Twitter or Facebook pictures, so take advantage of it.
  1. Refresh your Instagram Bio. The Instagram Bio is shorter than your Twitter Bio, at 150 characters. Use it to take advantage of a quick overview of yourself with a link to another one of your owned social media properties.

More Social Media Tips to Improve Your Virtual Event Networking

If you have a brief profile refresh tip, then please comment below. Or, reach out to me at gerry@marketingthink.com

Now, get working that networking checklist.

NOTE. This blog post originally appeared as 3 Steps to Fix Your Social Media Before the Next Trade Show on October 14, 2012, and was updated on February 8, 2021.

Gerry Moran is a social media and content marketing strategist who's worked for large global brands and digital agencies. He's spent significant time in hands-on marketing leadership roles with HBO, IKEA, Ralston Purina, Kodak, and numerous digital agencies. He spent his last ten years working at SAP and Cognizant, where he built their content marketing operating models, developed social media training programs, and helped thousands with their LinkedIn makeovers and personal branding strategies.

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