Last weekend, I attended the Shecon New Media Expo in South Beach Miami. It was three days of great panels and speakers and a prime opportunity to network with other bloggers and social media enthusiasts as well as connect with key brands. Attending the conference is just one aspect of networking; once the conference is over and you go home, the real work begins.
As shown in the graphic attached, I received a lot of business cards during the Shecon event. So much so that it is overwhelming at times. I asked my colleague, Kesha, who roomed with me in the hotel how she planned on organizing her contacts after conference and she gave me some pretty good advice. We both agreed that the relationship building truly happens after the conference when you must use the tools you’ve been given to reach out to others. Sitting on the business cards you received after conference isn’t a way of truly networking—the art is connection long after the conference is said and done.
Here are 5 tips to use to help build relationships after conference has concluded:
1. Organize the business cards received: Once you get back home, organize the your cards into categories. For me, I organize them in these categories: speakers/panelists, sponsors/brands, bloggers, and media. Once that is done, I add all of the information into my Outlook for easy emailing. If you have a scanning system such as NEAT, you can scan the cards and then file them in categories.
2. Reach out: Reaching out means creating a unique and professional email correspondence to everyone in these categories. It shouldn’t be form mail-ish, but authentic and friendly.
3. Use social networks: Adding your new contacts to your social networks is another great way to extend the conversation. Remember, having your Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin information on your business cards makes it easier for people to connect with you online.
4. Phone call, anyone?: Phone calls are a great way to give a more personal touch to reaching out.Yesterday evening, I received a wonderful call from Scuba Diver Laura whom I met at Shecon. She called to make sure I had gotten home safely after my flight and we made plans to stay in contact. Now that, my friends, was pretty classy of her!
5. Stay on course: My friend Joyce from MommyTalkShow.com added that she sets an alert or reminder on her computer to touch base with people every so often to continue the relationship. This works really well with brands, especially since they work with so many bloggers that they may have forgotten about you. Connecting with someone via email every so often is a great way to remind them that you are there to help.
We often think of the conference as being the major point of contact, but it’s what you do after the conference that makes the most difference. I hope you have found these tips useful and valuable.
Do you have any additional tips to add? Let’s chat!