Get business cards
If you are speaking to people at networking events, be sure to either get their business cards or memorise/write down their name. I have been to networking events before where they have even given out a list of attendees and what company they are from, which makes it easier to remember names afterwards, but this is unusual. I would recommend getting business cards from anyone you talk to. Even if you don’t think they will initially be a good contact to have, you never know what they might be able to do for you in the future and vice versa. Remember that networking is not all about getting business for yourself, while this is obviously a nice thing to have, use the time to build up contacts that you can pass on to others, and chat with others in your industry – there may be collaboration opportunities.
LinkedIn is such a useful tool for after you have been to a networking event, it is like an online business card holder. Whether or not you manage to get the contact details of those at networking events, as long as you know their name, you should be able to find them on LinkedIn. Some people have their LinkedIn address on their business cards, and others you will have to search for. I recommend that you connect with people on LinkedIn within 48 hours of attending the event. You should still be fresh in their memory and by adding them on LinkedIn, they are now part of your online contacts.
Follow on Twitter
Follow personal and business accounts of the people you have met on Twitter to keep up to date with what they are doing. While you can learn a lot about the background and skills of someone on LinkedIn, Twitter allows you to find out more about them and their business, which they might not necessarily disclose on LinkedIn. If you don’t want their updates appearing in your Twitter feed all the time, but would still like to have them on your radar, think about putting them into a Twitter list along with others you have met at networking events. This way you will only see their tweets when you look for them.
By adding people you have met at networking events on social media, you get to know more about them and about their company without doing a lot of research or meeting them multiple times. By reading their updates you will be better placed to give them referrals and vice versa. If you read an article or see something that might be of interest to them, send it to them on LinkedIn or tweet them about it. Stay in contact, even if it is on an irregular basis – they will remember your face and your name through social media sites more than if you sent the odd email to them.
Do you use social media after you have been networking? Let us know below if you have found it a useful way to keep in touch...
By Sarah Laughran