always follow up
I will let you in on a little secret. Networking can virtually occur in any settings. But networking might not be the most important part of making contacts, my friends, it is essential to always follow up. An initial contact is great, but you aren’t really networking if the relationship does not continue. To achieve success in your networking efforts, it is vital to follow up.
You want to cultivate those relationships and the solution isn’t more networking, but rather spending more time networking with a follow up system in place. Honestly, your business or career may even depend on it. Let me fill you in on a few best practices.
More than likely, you exchanged business cards, if not get in the habit of doing that. At the very least get their business card. Immediately after the event, jot down a few quick notes about the people you met. I write these directly on their business card. It’s important to do this shortly after the event so the conversation is still fresh in your mind.
Send an email 24 hours after meeting
When sending your first email, you want to demonstrate that you are thoughtful, reliable, and consistent. Just like you put the effort in to make a good impression at the event, continue to do that in your email. Of course, make sure there are no typos, spelling errors or run-on sentences. Sharing useful data, offering further help and focusing on the receipt of the email are all things to keep in mind when writing this exchange.
Connect on Social Media
The next step is to connect with the person on LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ or follow their blog. Once I am connected with someone on LinkedIn or Twitter, for example, I am less likely to lose touch with them and they will be reminded of me every time I post something. Plus, both are excellent tools for remaining “top of mind” with people in your extended network.
Follow-Up & Add Value
The hardest part about following up with people who you still don’t know that well is finding excuse for contacting that person without sounding like a car salesman. When you follow up with your contact, add value to your outreach. A few ways to do this could consist of sending an information article, making an introduction or inviting them to an event. Again, it’s hard to make these follow up connections but know that everyone is in the same boat. Here’s another useful article about adding value from the NYTimes.
Keep these things in mind next time you are next working and following up with those connections!