By Steve Guglielmo, Managing Editor
Every year at the MHEDA Convention, I ask attendees what they enjoy most about attending Convention. And while there are always a variety of answers, one response that is almost ubiquitous is the networking opportunities Convention provides. Whether the networking comes from the Exhibitors’ Showcase, the Roundtable discussions or even the Sunday morning golf tournament, Convention is a wonderful opportunity for like-minded people to discuss common themes and issues.
2013 MHEDA President Jerry Weidmann put it best when he said, “There are so many opportunities to get together and have discussions about business. To share discussions about training we received or even some of the concepts brought forward by the speakers. I know probably 100 people that I really look forward to seeing when I come here.”
Because networking is such a vital exercise, MHEDA has taken steps in recent years to facilitate more of it. Most notably, for the past two years, MHEDA has been using Poken Tags to encourage networking and interaction. We are very excited for Poken to return to Convention this year in Orlando.
We here at The MHEDA Journal are renewing our focus on online platforms such as MHEDA-TV, blogs and especially social networking platforms. MHEDA has an active presence on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
Many MHEDA members have begun using these platforms for business, but others are still reticent to try. Interestingly, even those who don’t see the value in Twitter or Facebook have been much more accepting of LinkedIn. They see the networking benefits of it. Twitter, Facebook and Google+ offer those same benefits but with a larger base. There’s a very good chance your customers are on these sites. Making a concerted effort to have a strong presence could give you a leg up in building relationships with prospects or maintaining a relationship with current customers. Relationship building is the name of the game!
And for those who can’t make it to Convention this year but want to be involved in the networking aspect, make sure to join Twitter and follow the hash tag conversations going on at #MHEDA. We encourage all attendees to tweet about Convention using this hashtag.
Every day there are insightful and thought-provoking conversations going on in the MHEDA LinkedIn group, or on Twitter or Google + . With more than a BILLION active users on these sites, social networking provides a treasure trove of networking, branding and even prospecting opportunities. For more information about how social networking can be used in our industry, use MHEDA’s educational resources, follow the MHEDA social networking accounts and watch the MHEDA-TV episode “Improving Your Website and SEO Strategy.”
I look forward to networking with you in Orlando and online!