The Value of a TweetUp

I have a confession – I really do not enjoy going to live networking events and having to mingle with a bunch of strangers. I get this knot in my stomach when it comes to discussing what I do and making small talk, not to mention a bit of unease at approaching strangers for conversation.

Do you ever feel that way?

Brookstreet Tweetup

I am that classic person who shows up with a buddy and sticks with the people they know the whole time – that feels safe and enjoyable to me. But, I end up leaving without having met any new people. So, what is the purpose of even going one might ask?

If this sounds a bit like you, I have a remedy for that feeling. It’s called a TweetUp. It is the antidote for networking jitters and it works just fine.

Tuesday night, one of my favorite clients Brookstreet Hotel held their very first TweetUp and well, it wouldn’t have looked too great if their fearless Social Media Advisor said, “I can’t make it, I have to paint my toenails,” now would it? Thankfully, one of my BFF’s, Samantha from Starfish Creative Events, offered to help out so I knew I had at least one friend to keep me comfortable!!

Ok, I exaggerate, because that was not really my reaction – quite the opposite. As soon as I found out they wanted to host a Tweet Up to meet some of the people they had been engaging with through Social Media, I was in! I called Samantha immediately to seek help, because I know a Tweet Up is not the same as one of those “typical networking events”.

I walk in and this pretty chick with a camera hanging around her neck immediately says, “Lisa!! It’s Natalie!” I look at her and think she looks a bit familiar, but she is acting like she has known me for years. And to make matters worse, I can’t quite place the name! I casually glance at her name badge and see Natalie is @ndsphotography and suddenly, it’s like seeing an old high school friend! You see, we have never met face-to-face before, but we have had tons of great conversations on Twitter.

Then, it is one person after another who I already “know” from all these conversations online and I immediately feel that I am among friends.

Now, don’t get me wrong. This is definitely more than a social gathering. This gathering is more powerful than SIX WEEKS of attending your local BNI breakfast or other weekly networking group (no offense intended).  Let’s take Natalie as an example:

She is a photographer, the owner of NDS Photography. She shows up and spends 95% of her time engaged in conversation with people, and about 5% taking a few photos from the event. And, each time I am within listening distance I hear people asking about her services. “Would you come to my house to take photos? Do you do pet portraits? Would you photograph my horse? Could we hire you to take pictures at an event?”

And the funny thing is, not once did she try and sell anything. She was just smart enough to carry a camera around her neck, smile brightly and engage in meaningful conversation with a lot of people.

Brookstreet TweetupYes, Social sells.

As for my favorite client, I am so proud of them! They were gracious hosts, they went above and beyond to make people feel welcome and, not once did they as a business try and pitch any product or service. They understand the value of hosting this community and participating in this community, and they kept their focus on that the entire evening.

You see the future of business networking, in my opinion, is all in the Tweet Up. It is a place where you can go and connect with people who already know who you are and are happy to see you. No more networking jitters!!

To find a Tweet Up in your area go to www.twtvite.com and do a search where you live. Or, better yet, schedule one and invite some Twitter friends!

PS. Now for the true test of our “Social Media Friendship”. Be honest, leave me a comment and let me know, am I the only person who dreads a networking event where I don’t know anyone?? It’s ok to tell me, we’re all friends here and don’t worry, we won’t tell anyone else!  :-)

All Photos Courtesy of NDS Photography

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7 Comments

  1. What a great post and thank you. You truly are as kind in person as you are online and I can’t say enough great things about you.

    As I admitted in my post, networking makes me nervous and you expressed my sentiments exactly which is why Shakira & I went together. It is better to grab a friend and go than miss it and wish you had.

    @LittleRandy was the first person I met ‘in person’ from our connection on Twitter and I have to say, if it wasn’t for him, I would’ve been missing out on meeting a lot of wonderful people.

  2. ok, I’m the first to admit… i really don’t enjoy networking events! It’s just not my thing! It’s not that I’m not social, I genuinely love people! really!! but meeting people for a purpose just sends me in a tizz!! I wasn’t able to make the tweetup, I was called to do dryland training at the last minute.. however, as your post suggests, may need to find balance as well… thanks for posting Lisa

  3. Hi Lisa! I hope you’re well! I don’t dread networking events, because anyone who knows me, knows that I’ll start up a conversation with just about anyone, anywhere. But…in my first sales job, in the first month I had to drive from Montreal to a networking event in Long Island, NY and that made me a little nervous. After realizing that nobody is going to slam the door in my face at a networking event, I did get over that feeling for the next time.

    I just wanted to stop by and mention how much I LOVE Tweetups! I can’t tell you how many times people at these events recognize me from my profile picture, and we get on just like you mentioned – as if we were old friends. The comfort level is definately much higher after having conversed with other attendees online! Thanks for the great article – I’ll repost on my FB page!
    Best,
    Stef

  4. I love tweetups! I adore getting to actually meet the people I know online, and of course it’s always difficult to walk into a room of people, whether you know every one or not. Just remember, every one there is feeling the same anxiety. So just get in an mingle. Sound like brookstweep was a huge success. Here’s a post I wrote a while back on how ‘NOT’ to hold a tweet up. http://sherrilynnestarkie.com/2010/09/14/how-not-to-hold-a-tweetup/

  5. Hi Lisa. I’m sorry I missed it – sounds like it was a tremendous success!

    I have engaged in conversations with so many amazing people on twitter that I would love to have continue in person – and what a better way than to have them all in one place. I admire your initiative to organize a tweet-up.

    Live networking is always difficult. I don’t care what anyone says – that feeling you get when you walk into a room of strangers never away… but I have to tell you, this twitter thing does make it easier.

    I have been to networking events where I have recognized people, introduced myself by name – followed by my twitter handle and immediately get responses like “I know exactly who you are” or “I recognized you right away from your picture.” The conversation starts at a completely different level. I agree with you, Lisa, it’s a nice feeling that provides the comfort of being in a room of friends rather than strangers. I hope to meet you and others at tweet-ups in order to continue to build on the many relationships that have all started on twitter.

  6. I was nervous a little wondering who I was going to meet but I came because you were in volved firstly. But…as soon as I go to the top of the stairs Caroline greeted me like I was coming home…the perfect hostess.
    What I like about tweetups is that they make me appreciate my city a lot more too.

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