Do you walk away from every networking event with a selection of new business cards with potential new leads and they only end up back on your desk in a pile that looks something like the leaning tower of pisa?
Most events I find that I rock up to, I meet and greet several people, and if I’m lucky I walk away with a few great conversations and one good new connection. Only on the very rare occasion do I come away with a commitment to follow up with a meeting or to continue the conversation.
Now there are some golden gooses out there who are just born networkers. These lucky people will meet several great leads at every event and turn even the most introverted person into a live wire. I‘m hazarding a guess that most of you are not like this. You need every enhancement, short of performance enhancing drugs, that you can get.
Here are some tips on for the networking challenged business bod to use online.
5 easy steps to making your network so much more effective
- At the event, instead of swapping business cards, connect immediately via your chosen social media platform. LinkedIn is usually the most logical platform if you’re in a business to business scenario but other connections are equally valid. As a bonus, LinkedIn also provides a notes section for each of your connections where you can save the details of where you met this person and what was the ‘conversation’ that you had with them.
- After the event check up on their business and other social media accounts, support them by following their business pages eg. On Facebook or LinkedIn
- If you had a particular discussion on a business problem that relates to your business then make sure you have at the ready either a white paper or articles that you can send on to them via the social platform. It’s a great follow up and immediate value share to make them remember you. If you didn’t have a discussion about business but other things non-business, see if there is a article or something of relevance that you can share instead – but if you believe they might be interested in your product then ask them if they’d like to you send on the relevant article or whitepaper.
- Proceed to regularly like their posts and share their posts. If you don’t send it to them, tag them if you think it will be of interest.
- Over time continue to send the odd article of interest on your topic in common. Find other reasons to occasionally message them such as upcoming networking events where they might also be present
Don’t be creepy – do let the relationship to grow over a period of time.
You will over time establish a rapport that will take what would have been another lost business card and all with the power of leveraging your social media skills!
With a digital social connection, it will also mean that they will be able to see your regular content and postings and if you’ve a great content program in place with regular updates and useful information, it’s a great way to take that one meeting and make it into a warm lead for your business.
The key is to make sure the content is good and relevant and of interest to them. Again, don’t be creepy and don’t be annoying. But if you can become useful to them adding value, then it may not be long until they become a great connection and maybe a new customer.