Web Summit, the largest technology conference in the world, is a great place for networking and opportunities. But with more than 70,000 attendees, 2,630 exhibitors, 1,120 investors, and 1,040 speakers it can be really overwhelming, especially if you are not prepared. So, we will try to ease your way through making the most of Web Summit by sharing our experiences and tips.
Know what you want. And go after it.
First, think what is the goal of going there. Is it purely fun and networking with like-minded individuals and industry peers? Is it business opportunities? Are you looking for investment? A mix of these and more? Once you set your expectations, then you can make decisions based on this. Select the speeches you will attend, connect with the right people, and attend the right events. Read on to find more tips on this!
Do you know what you and everyone else at the Web Summit have in common? Everyone is there for the same reasons! So, the same way you are looking to meet interesting people and companies, they are also looking to meet people like you. Make it easy for them. Acknowledge your presence at the event by using the official hashtags #WebSummit and #WebSummit(followed by the year of the event) even before your arrival. Also, tag WebSummit’s social media accounts and add Web Summit as the “location” tag of your posts while you are there.
Before the event, announce that you will be there, what you are excited about, where people can meet you, or how they can get in touch with you. During the event, post frequently. Take selfies with people you meet and tag them. Take photos of speakers, tag them, and share something interesting from the speech. Take photos of companies and brands and tag them. Once you’re back, be sure to highlight the “best of moments”, tag the people you met there, and remind people how they can reach you.
Hashtags are not useful only to announce your presence but are also a good way to find out who is who among all the people at the event. Click on the hashtags and see who else is there. Browse through the hashtag feed and pinpoint people whom you’d like to connect with. And before you say this is creepy and feels like stalking, keep in mind that when it comes to networking events, people want to be found and connected with- as long as you keep it professional!
Extra Pro Tip: Find your insider
You may have a friend or a LinkedIn connection who is going there every year. These people can be pure gold for giving you important tips, sharing with you the VIP events, or adding you to targeted WhatsApp groups. Friends for the win!
Use the official app as a networking tool
The official Web Summit app is a great networking tool. First, make sure your profile is up-to-date. Use a profile picture that is recent. Don’t use the photo from two years back with a totally old hairstyle. People who search for you may use the photo to find you in the audience. Make sure your bio is interesting and clear as to what you do.
Extra pro tip from our founder: “I never use the title “Founder at GrowtGirls”. Because it doesn’t show what I really do. Especially at an event filled with founders. I prefer to use “Growth Marketer at GrowthGirls” so people know what my expertise is right away” Effie Bersoux, Founder at GrowthGirls.
Through the app, you can connect with people, message them, and book meetings with them. You can also find them on social media and connect outside the app.
Mark all the speeches you want to attend on your agenda
The app isn’t just a digital networking tool. This is where you will find the full schedule, all the speeches and events, and the Web Summit map. Add the events and speeches you want to attend to your in-app agenda, it will send you reminders for when an event is starting and it will help you navigate to the stages.
Think outside the box. Use your Hotspot as an ad!
This is something fun our founder does. She renames the hotspot on her mobile phone to something fun. You can do that or just name it with the name of your company or even a code for a special offer for your SaaS product. All people searching for WiFi will do this!
Also… use your laptop as an ad!
Most probably you will spend some time working on your laptop while at the event. Add a sticker with a QR code that will make people curious to scan. And your company stickers.
Be picky, it’s ok!
Don’t be afraid to say no to connections and meetings with people outside of your interests. With so many things to do and so many opportunities, your time is precious.
“I receive tons of outreach messages from companies where you can outsource development work, creative work, etc. I prefer to keep my contact list clean of these connections as I am not interested in them and the constant communication can be distracting” Effie Bersoux, Founder at GrowthGirls
Extra pro tip: While having a plan is crucial, leave room for serendipity. Some of the most valuable connections and opportunities arise spontaneously. Leave room for fun, have a coffee and be open to conversations.
Show-off: You got a badge!
Your badge is more than just an entry ticket; it’s also a networking tool. Always wear it and remind people to scan it at the end of your conversation with them. And scan theirs.
Extra Pro Tip: Share on Instagram a photo of yourself wearing your badge with the QR code visible. People can scan it and connect with you without meeting you in person.
Extra Pro Tip 2: The badges have people’s names on them. Read it and call them by their name. People love hearing their name and they warm up to you.
Don’t it fade away.
After the event, take the initiative to follow up promptly with personalized emails or LinkedIn messages. Express gratitude for the insightful conversations and include any promised information to further demonstrate your commitment. Timely follow-ups not only showcase professionalism but also contribute to solidifying the connections forged during the event.
And don’t be shy about contacting Growthgirls CEO, Effie Bersoux, for more Web Summit tips.