Social media connection leads to first successful Seattle networking event

What began with five industry friends using social media platforms to stay connected morphed into an outdoor, action sports and adventure travel networking event. SNEWS has the details and insight.
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What began with five industry friends using social media platforms to stay connected morphed into an outdoor, action sports and adventure travel networking event in Seattle at Bandolero’s tequila bar on Oct. 19. It was so successful that organizers are already planning more such gatherings.

Organizers included Dirk Collins and Matt Chase of One Eyed Bird; Sara Lingafelter of Waypoint Outdoor and RockClimberGirl.com; Kristy Graves of Greenlaces.org, Environmental Athletes and blissmo.com; and Jonathon Colman of REI.

Lingafelter told SNEWS® that following a lively networking session, Chase introduced the event and highlighted the importance of the Seattle business community by observing, “When I ask people in Seattle to list off the adventure travel, outdoor and action sports companies and brands they can think of with a strong presence in Seattle, most can come up with seven or eight. When we made the invite list for this event, it contained over a hundred brands.” 

Attendees included product designers from Eddie Bauer, staff from multiple teams at REI, and a wide selection of creative professionals, sales reps and in-house marketing staff from companies all based in the Puget Sound, Lingafelter told us.

“We're all members of the same family, and have the outdoors in common. It makes sense to get together to network, share knowledge and build relationships close to home,” said Lingafelter. 

Lingafelter gave a short presentation on social media relationship-building for the very busy, emphasizing the importance of focusing on a “small number of big relationships,” and on the social media audience's desire for engagement.

Collins of One Eyed Bird, a lifestyle-based marketing and entertainment agency with offices in both Seattle and Jackson Hole, Wyo., gave a presentation on “Film as Storytelling...Anywhere." 

The event drew over 50 attendees -- many more than the organizers originally planned. 

“We expected a small turn-out of people from our existing networks,” Lingafelter told SNEWS. “Instead, we wound up looking around and scratching our heads about where everybody came from. To have over 50 people turn out, on relatively short notice, representing such a broad cross section of our community far exceeded our expectations.”

“I was thrilled to see the business diversity and to see how everyone mixed it up so easily. Everyone kept asking when the next event was and several great brands have already volunteered to host,” Chase said.

Lingafelter told us that she and the other organizers have a strong interest in cause marketing and non-profits and are already planning a second event, likely to revolve around the local non-profit community. 

The group has no formal entity or permanent online presence, and will continue to organize, appropriately enough, via the #aaoiseattle hashtag on Twitter -- so what began on social media continues on social media. The October Facebook Event page remains live at http://on.fb.me/cYHqcQ, and SNEWS was told that an update will be posted there when the next event is planned.

--Michael Hodgson

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