COM0015 – Blog 5: Out of the Box

Wow, I can’t believe it… my last blog post and assignment for the Algonquin Social Media program!  Now I only need to be concerned about keeping up my own blogging content, and social media accounts, and of course their monitoring and measurement.  When I started to program a seemingly long time ago, there were lots of things I didn’t know about online marketing and social media… mainly to do with metrics, measurement, and blogging.  But these have all become common place for me, and are all widely used and embraced by social media experts alike.  There are however, a couple of things that have come up in the past few weeks that I didn’t really expect to have applications in for online marketing.

The first one is Eventbrite (https://www.eventbrite.ca/).  I’ve used it multiple times in the past to register for conferences and other events, but had no idea that you could use it to search for events in a specific area.  Any time I have used it for registration, I’ve always gone directly to the registration page via a link from the hosting organization’s website. I plan on using the search function in the future to check out local events for both personal and professional interest, as well as using it to list the paid events offered by my company.

The other unexpected application I have found is Meetup (https://www.meetup.com).  I had first heard about Meetup a number of years ago, but it never really stayed on my radar.  I was always under the impression that it was geared towards leisure activities, and really had no applications in the business world… was I ever wrong!  This is a great platform for finding other like-minded professional, or ones that are in the same field.  Looking at it recently I found a number of events for individuals who are in the social media marketing field, as well as Career Development, and small business.  I’m excited to see what events I can be part of in the future, and convincing my company to host some free events to get out name better known.

This is the beauty of the social web, there are always new technologies presenting themselves.  Maybe they aren’t always used for their original intention, but web-based technologies are dynamic by nature.  I’m looking forward to seeing what is on the horizon, and how I will be able to integrate them with my social media marketing plans.

COM0015, Blog 3: My Professional Networking

Having a professional networking strategy that incorporates an online presence with face-to-face opportunities is nothing new to me. When it was time to leave my last job, I let my networks know and ensured my LinkedIn profile was up to date. While I was away on a vacation, there was a lot of activity on my profile and a voicemail message from John, the printing rep for the medical journals I was producing at the time. John had spoken with his coworker, Randy, who is the rep for Canadian Nurse, the magazine I am currently producing. Not only had Randy viewed my LinkedIn profile, so too did the Canadian Nurse editor-in-chief (EIC) who was looking for a new managing editor. The EIC messaged me, we met and the rest, as they say, is history.

portrait2014-small

Virginia St-Denis

My professional network not only includes people I have worked with over the past 25 years and connections of connections on LinkedIn, but also various professional groups of which I am a member. With most of my career being writing and editing, I joined Editors Canada. The Ottawa-Gatineau branch offers monthly speaker nights and seminars (for example, see COM0015, Assignment 5: Writing and Editing for the Web). These are not only great opportunities for professional development, but also for meeting other editors in the National Capital Region. Editors Canada has an annual conference, which brings together editors from across Canada and beyond. In celebration of Canada’s 150th, the Ottawa-Gatineau branch will host the event June 9-11, 2017. I will attend to learn, share information and gain a few more contacts, I hope.

While I have covered the cost of Editors Canada activities myself, I find out-of-town professional development and networking opportunities outside of my budget. I’m thankful that my EIC has agreed to cover the cost of travel, accommodation and registration for MagNet: Canada’s Magazine Conference. Held in Toronto April 25-28, 2017, MagNet draws magazine professionals from across Canada, and not just editorial, but also design and circulation.

While my career has focused on writing and editing, my husband and I hope to turn our photography hobby into a retirement business. Whether a hobby or a business (we could charge for presenting workshops), Photography Meetup groups like the Ottawa Photography Meetup Group, Ottawa Photography Events, Ottawa Photography and Ottawa Nature and Conservation Photography Workshops are a great way to meet new people, learn and share knowledge.

One thing I know I need to do better is attending club meetings. While some groups like the Orleans Photo Club are inexpensive to join, others like the RA Photo Club are not. I also want to find out more about Facebook events as another way to meet people in the Ottawa area.

COM0015 – Post #3 – Professional Networking

group of lions on a rock

I just have to admit one thing right from the start – I’m a social animal! I love networking, meeting new people, talking about business and digital media and attending educational or social events. This is especially true when there’s food involved!

I have found several in-person and online methods to get involved in networking events, including the use of some social media tools. My favourite thing about networking is when the in-person and online methods converge and strengthen relationships because of the combination.

Meetup Logo

In real life, I like to meet people through Meetup.com and wrote an article about this platform called Use the Internet to Get Off the Internet!

Eventbrite LogoI’ve also found it useful to network through Eventbrite, my local Chambers of Commerce, free social media seminars, my professional association (IABC), mutual business associates, and volunteering in the community. I’ve also done a short working stint for free at a local digital marketing agency.

I’ve found you can meet a huge number of contacts using these methods!

But there’s more to it than just meeting people, sharing a short conversation, and then exchanging business cards. I try to follow up with people after meeting them in person. I connect with them on LinkedIn and follow them on Twitter. I check out their websites. I join LinkedIn groups where my new contacts hang out. Sometimes it’s as easy as sending an email providing some information or a valuable tidbit regarding a conversation we had the previous day. The trick is to keep connected somehow, encouraging a fruitful relationship that can benefit both parties in future.

So my networking activity is already quite hectic. But I always think of more things I should be doing to strengthen my relationships so that one day, people I’ve met will say:

“Hey, Sheila’s into blogging and social media marketing – send her an email.”

My Networking Strategy for 2016

In 2015, I found networking to be easy and enjoyable. In 2016, what will put the “work” into networking for me? To do more in the coming months, I’d like to write some more interesting and informative articles on Pulse on LinkedIn. I’ve noticed my colleagues doing this and getting lots of comments. It keeps their names familiar to me, so I know it helps people remember their contacts. I would also like to send some simple “let’s get together” messages on LinkedIn to my connections.

Next, I’d like to get to know my professional association members better in person. If you happen to be a member of International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) and an independent in Toronto, check out our group on LinkedIn called Professional Independent Communicators (PIC). This is a great group of people who share all kinds of information about what it’s like to be an indie in this business. Monthly meetings alternate between educational topics and social gatherings. Our next meeting is tomorrow night with a guest speaker to help boost our productivity in 2016. I’ve met some members who live nearby and we plan to get together for a coffee sometime soon, so I’m already making some headway regarding my 2016 networking strategy.

Do you take advantage of your professional association events? Local chambers of commerce? LinkedIn or event-based social media groups like Meetup and Eventbrite? Do you hold your own special events or workshops? If you haven’t already, why not try some of these groups for your own networking strategy in 2016. And please let me know if you find any new social media networking platforms like them.