Making a Good First (Social Media) Impression

I’m pretty much the same here on the blog as I am in person:

  • Loud
  • Snarky
  • A Know-it-All
  • Blond

I’ve had a lifetime of public speaking, theater performances and broadcast journalism training to help me shake off any nerves that I feel when I get to know people (although don’t be fooled — the nerves are there!).

Social Fresh 03

But I know that for many of you, blogging is a way of sharing your points of view and documenting your personal lives in a semi-private way (as in, you get to conceal some things). So when you are attending events, speaking for the first time or breaking into a new group of people, it can be terrifying!

So I thought you all might be able to help another Katy, the talented and sweet Singing Runner. She asks:

While I am ecstatic to go to [an upcoming media] event, I am also very nervous.

It is the first time that I am really representing my blog in a formal social media setting. I feel like there is a difference between an informal blogger meet-up (like dinner) and a media event like this. While I know that this event is going to be a blast, I also know that it can be a great networking opportunity.

I guess what my question is – do you have any tips on how to make the best first impression from a social media standpoint? Since my blog is more focused on health and running, I am nervous that I will be a little “out of my element.” While I am extremely interested in [the topic of this event], it is not something that I document on my blog. I am also a lot more quiet and reserved in person than what comes across through my blog.

What advice do you have for Katy?

Here are some of my thoughts:

  • Have a quick pep talk with yourself. Remember that confidence breeds confidence, and the more you look yourself in the mirror and play up your strengths (you’re smart, creative, funny, nice, etc.), the more you’ll believe in them yourself. I don’t know any true experts that call themselves experts, so don’t be intimidated by the idea that you’ll me outmatched or outwitted by anyone.
  • Write your resume, even if it’s just a reminder to yourself of your credentials. Maybe your degree is relevant, or perhaps guest posts that you’ve done for other bloggers can help you show that your work has been shared by a wider audience. Don’t stress out about your analytics — remember that it truly is about quality over quantity.
  • Practice your elevator pitch (need a reminder? check this post out and also this post) so that you can quickly and easily introduce yourself. Keep it short — your name, your blog name and a brief description of what you write about and who you write for.
  • If you’re attending an event that doesn’t exactly match up with your blog genre, don’t worry! Nobody likes just one thing…at the NASA Tweetup I attended, there were very few pure space bloggers there. We were teachers and runners and chefs and radio DJS and actors and more. We all happened to also be interested in space and social media, which gave us common ground. But if that’s all we were talking about, that would have been incredibly boring!
  • Smile, smile, smile. And make a point of sitting with strangers whenever possible. I understand it, but also cringe when I see friends sitting with friends, especially at social networking conferences. The point of going to these is to meet new people, and while it may be scary to separate from the pack, please understand that if you’re approachable, you’ll be approached. And goodness knows I remember the people that came to me with a smile and extended hand. I don’t remember many people that I had to shoehorn into hellos and conversation.

And if you’re worried about being an expert in the topic that you’re meeting about, be an expert in what you DO know. Be the person that takes the photos that everyone wants to borrow; write down the names and blog links of everyone you meet and arrange the Twitter list for keeping in touch after the event. Set up the Flickr pool and Facebook groups, and stand out for what you do rock at.

Leave your thoughts in the comments — what do you do to feel more confident at events?

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  1. says

    First of all I spell my middle name the same way!! Anyways, when I speak in public, something I notice that totally helps is making sure you’re 100% comfortable in your clothes. This probably goes without saying but if you bought this awesome new top, but the cut is a little off and you find yourself twitching or moving in ways that aren’t 100% natural, go with an older top. Nothing is worse then being remotely, even the slightest bit (physically) uncomfortable standing in a room full of people!

  2. says

    I am such a naturally shy person!! Thanks for reminding me not to just sit with friends. I want to meet new people so badly but I am scurred. I can’t wait to go to HLS!!! Great post Katy!

  3. says

    Well for me, getting older helps. I just have more practice :) Plus I’m finally settling in to being COMFORTABLE being me – I’m never trying to be better, smarter, funnier than anyone else. Yes, my style is different. But that is also my gift and I’ve finally learned that.
    And for me, despite the years of experience and professional kudos, I still get nervous.
    So I dress up! Shop at Banana Republic and look like a RockStar!

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