Networking doesn’t have to start with meeting online or in-person at an event. Here are some tips to kick start a future relationship with potential clients, collaborators and referral partners.
Create a LinkedIn networking strategy including the three key phases of events; pre-event, live-event, and post-event.
Before the event build your personal brand awareness, connect and engage.
- Research about the event, from the speakers, to the organisation, sponsors, partners and potential attendees.
- Post about your intention to attend the event on LinkedIn (mention relevant people such as speakers, other attendees, organisers and sponsors).
- Make a list of people you want to meet at the event from the guest list.
Next get more specific;
- Find and connect with relevant speakers on LinkedIn using a message to give context such as how you know of them and what you are looking forward to, and even reference something they published.
- Engage with a piece of their content via their Activity section
- Follow their LinkedIn Company Page.
- Connect with context – referencing the upcoming event.
- Comment on the post about the event
- If they are using the Event feature on their Page, hit Attend
- On the LinkedIn event review who is attending via the Networking tab.
- View profiles – connect with conversations mentioning the event if relevant.
- Join the conversation via the Comments tab
- Review engagement on the post and connect with conversation, referencing their comment on the post.
Allow time to arrive early, network before and after any presentations to get most value. Look out for the people you want to meet.
- Wear brand-coloured clothing
- Introduce yourself to people who appear to be alone and introduce them to others.
- Listen and ask questions.
- Connect with new people on LinkedIn using the LinkedIn QR code– your digital business card in the app.
- Take photos and take notes to share in future content such as a post about the event.
After the event is an often missed opportunity to continue the networking and relationship building activities. Schedule time in your calendar to follow up.
- Connect with people you met on LinkedIn with a relevant message about meeting them.
- Connect with people you met and continue conversations.
- Thank the speakers for their presentation and resources via LinkedIn message if you are connected.
- Follow up people you spoke to book in meetings.
- Share anything you promised to send.
- Write LinkedIn Recommendations for speakers you enjoyed
- Create content from notes and photos captured at the event. Publish and tag relevant people and use relevant hashtags.
- Craft a text post with single image and a list of quotes from speakers with your interpretation.
- Use a document post for multiple images by using Canva to create a multiple page image, exported as a PDF.
- Create a collage using Canva of multiples images
- Create a video from your images and insights using Canva
- Publish a poll to seek input from a topic discussed.
- Write an article summarizing your takeaways.
- Film a video discussing a topic further and inviting input.
- After implementing the actions you took away, share with the speaker via LinkedIn message.
- Send a message to thank the organizer and share your biggest takeaway.
- Continue to engage with important people to be top of mine and of service to them
Take your networking investment of time and dollars and get more value by extending the time-frame and being strategic in your approach. Rather than collecting business cards or LinkedIn connections and feeling we must push our products and services, be a better listening and take the time to express gratitude. When you are about others they will naturally be curious about you.
What networking strategies work well for you?