Even though a lot of our professional interactions happen from behind the computer screen these days, in person networking is still important. Putting in some “face time” can be a great way to grow your professional contacts and your business. In order for a networking event to be successful, you can’t just show up, you have to put in some work after the fact so here are 3 things you should do after every networking event.
1. Connect on Social Media – Social media is a great way to keep in contact with people you meet at networking events. I recommend you connect with them on LinkedIn and follow their business page on Facebook. If they do not have a business page, I would hold off from trying to connect with them on their personal page until you get to know them better. Many people reserve their personal Facebook page for personal contacts.
2. Set Up Meetings – After every networking event I attend I go through all the business cards I received and pull out those from people that I may be able to do business with. After connecting with them on social media, I take it a step further and reach out to set up a meeting. I use the meeting as an opportunity to learn more about the person’s business and brainstorm on how we may be able to work together. It gives you a chance to get to know the person better as well.
3. Keep in Touch – Don’t expect to reach out one time and get business from people you met a networking event. Of course there are times when that happens, but more often than not you need to continue to build the relationship before it results in business. Use social media to keep in touch by commenting on things the person posts and send a personalized email every so often.
Networking is a great way to grow your business if you are willing to devote the time and effort to developing the relationships you establish at this events. If you expect to go, collect business cards and have your phone ringing off the hook, you have the wrong impression of networking. Networking takes time, energy and patience before you will see an impact on your business so be patient and consistent!