This is a follow up to last week’s post on a tweet up I attended in Somerset and the many fine businesses I met there.  This post looks at whether Tweet Ups are worth attending and what to do if you do go.  I make personalised and bespoke wedding invitations and stationery in Somerset for all around the UK and occasionally Europe and the Rest of the World.

Bit of stationery hermit

I can be in danger of being a little bit of a stationery hermit.  I make highly personalised bespoke wedding invitations through Artemis Stationery.  Most of my clients I deal with by email so I can be short of chances to get out and about.  Unlike many wedding suppliers from other disciplines like florists stationers don’t often turn up on the day to do set up, at least those that sell nationally.  Neither do I do that many wedding fairs.  So for me tweet ups seem a really good chance to get out and meet people in the industry that I rarely have.

Intimidating?

Tweet ups can be intimidating to turn up to if you don’t really know any other people there.  I must admit the first one I went to I found really difficult and left in under an hour.  Though I arrived quite late after a friend backed out and I debated whether to go by myself or not.  It’s easier if you can go along with someone else though, but I must admit I haven’t noticed too many partners there if not in the wedding trade.  But if you want to meet people before you go you can always try and arrange to meet other local suppliers first, businesses with premises being easy places to go along and introduce yourself when they’re not busy.  I’m really glad I tried again though.  If you ever went university it slightly reminded me of the first day there.  There will probably be quite a few people there in the same position who are keen to meet new people.  If you get there earlier it’ll help to as the host of the tweet up will probably be able to introduce you to a few people.  Some Tweet Ups can be busier than others and I must admit I found the quieter one easier to meet people at and have longer and more interesting conversations.  There’s quite a few around especially in bigger areas and you can probably find photos on facebook or blogs to suss out what the events are like.

Suppliers showing off

There will probably be numerous suppliers who will have displays or be active showing their skills.  This is good as it also means there are things to take a look at if you’re between conversations.  One of the perks of attending is normally the food as either the venue or a caterer tends to be showing off just how good their food.  I enjoyed this greatly at the recent Marry Me in Somerset one, Fosters Event Catering made some amazing things I hugely enjoyed trying.

Tweet Up Weirdness

It can be said that talking to other people in your trade may be a bit weird.  If you’ve displayed at a wedding fair with competitors there you may already be familiar with this.  One person introduced themselves as a stationer and promptly excused themselves after I said I did stationery.  Was a bit odd but there are often more people trying to earn a living from a market than there is business for them all.  Meeting other people from different disciplines though it is much easier to talk and swap tips on common points like advertising and is there really any point to using Google+.

Essentials

I took samples as well as a good supply of business cards.  You’ll want to give a business card to every one you talk to and there’s normally a table full of them for people to browse and pick up.  Though reclaim them at the end of the night as they’ll just get binned.  The samples I kept in folder.  It’s good to have examples to show people.  I think it’s handy as when talking to people who have not come across your work before it’s hard to know how good your products may be and if you can wow people there and then it might open up opportunities.  Also if you’re nervous it’s something to keep your hands occupied.  I’ve seen other people like photographers use a tablet to show images.  It is worth saying that at some there can be a lot of photographers!

In Summary

All in all as a person who mostly works alone a lot I found these events really useful.  I think my business would probably be more advanced if I’d attended more earlier.  The opportunities to connect with other businesses can open up can be priceless though it may take some perseverance.  A lot of the people I spoke to who had attended before thought they were really useful and had led to work through new connections formed.