If you've attended a networking event, chances are you've left with a few business cards from the people you met. The best thing to do is save a person's contact information and any additional notes about them you would like to remember, especially if you had a great connection. It's a good networking practice to follow up with someone if you told them you would connect them with them or if you see yourself doing business with them and vice versa.
But if you're anything like me, which is busy, it's easy to let the follow up step slip by you. Work gets hectic, life happens and those good intentions you had to grab lunch or coffee with someone falls off of your priority list. Connecting with someone on social media allows you to stay in touch in a virtual way.
This is known as the business-oriented social network, so naturally my top recommendation is going to be this platform. Once you connect with someone on LinkedIn, you will receive notifications when they get a promotion or new job. You will also be notified when they publish an article to LinkedIn Pulse where you can read their latest articles. This acts as a way of keeping top of mind with each other — long after the networking event is over. LinkedIn is also a great network to endorse people for their skills and vice versa. The more you grow your network and people get to know, like and trust you, the more inclined they will be to endorse you. An added benefit to LinkedIn endorsements: If you are looking for a new career, employers do check your social media accounts. The more endorsements you have for your professional skills, the more desirable you look.
If you're looking to simply save a person's contact information and connect with them instantly by using the Evernote app, check out our Brilliant presentation on Using Evernote For Networking Brilliantly!
On Twitter, you can follow people and the company they work for to stay current with any news they share or to read any blog articles they Tweet. This platform is great for social networking. If you continually Favorite or Retweet a person or company's content, you are going to get on their radar. This gives you a good chance of getting your content in front of their followers if they decide to share your content.
It may seem disingenuous to stay in touch with someone by following them on social media, but it's actually flattering to that person and it shows you took an extra step to stay connected with them.
Now you might be wondering why I'm not suggesting connecting with people on Facebook after meeting them at a networking event. In my opinion, Facebook is a more personal social network. People tend to share a lot more about their personal lives and what's important to them since it's socially acceptable. Since we are in an election year, people are really using their First Amendment rights to discuss their political views and opinions on Facebook. Unless you really know someone well, I would hold off on connecting on Facebook. You might see a different side of people and vice versa.
However, this isn't the case for everyone. I know lots of people who use Facebook to invite connections to events and to join local groups to promote their business.
If you are going to "friend" a networking connection, you need to make sure that your profile matches your personal brand. Whether you are in a C-Level position or you are new to the workforce, if you want people to respect you and take you seriously, you cannot be posting half-naked pictures of you and your friends drinking shots at the beach. My point is: If you want to open up your professional network to your personal life, make sure it matches who you are when you are at work and networking events.
Social Media Strengthens Relationships
Connecting on social media with your networking contacts strengthens your professional relationships. You can learn more about a person and the company they work for by the kind of content they share, and they can learn more about you and your brand.
You never know – the content and information you share on social media can be a foundation trust and credibility. If a person sees value in your and your company, they will more likely want to do business with you because they learned more about you on social media. In the words of Ray Higdon, the best way to earn a new client, customer, or friend is "to share before you sell, and give before you get."
After the next networking event you attend, connect with each person you've met and start following their company on social media. Build up your network and strengthen the connections you've made by connecting virtually.
Want to learn more about networking? Check out our other Brilliant blog posts!
Be Brilliant!® | Be Brilliant!® Marketing is a branding and marketing agency based in Fort Myers, Florida. Our work and experience has taken us around the globe, working for clients ranging from local entrepreneurs to global, Fortune 100 companies. If you’re on Facebook, be sure to Like our page. Follow us on Twitter @BeBrilliantMktg.