How to follow up after networking events #4
If you’ve been following this series of articles so far, you will know that I’ve already covered why you should always follow up, as well as how to actively follow up, and then what I mean by “passive follow up” and why it is so important.
If you’ve not been following them, you’ll find a link to each article below:
What I wanted to cover in this edition, is how to use social media and Email marketing, particularly, to keep in touch with your network.
The way I look at it is this. When somebody joins your network, they appear on the outer edge of your network. They have met you, they don’t really know and at this stage they would have no idea whether they like or trust you.
It is now your job to move some of those people closer to you. At this stage the people you have met are contacts, and you need to put the effort in which will convert some of them into prospects, and some of those prospects into clients.
It is really important to understand that people you meet at networking events ARE NOT immediately prospects. Far too often people go straight for the sale and then, when the sale isn’t forthcoming, fail to keep in touch. Someone might not have been ready to buy then, but they may well be in the future.
So this is how I use social media to keep in touch with business contacts after networking events.
Firstly, I make sure I connect with them. Sometimes people will have their social links on their business card, sometimes you may have to go and find them. Evernote’s excellent business card scanner will automatically try to find that person on LinkedIn and automatically connect with them. Otherwise, do it manually. Use the search facilities on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to find them and connect with them.
Would you believe that most people don’t even go this far? They rely on the other guy to connect with them.
I would then send a message on your chosen platform, just to say you enjoyed meeting them and are pleased that you’ve connected.
By the way, if they exist on platforms that you don’t “like”, you have a choice to make. You can either go to them, or expect them to come to you.
Now is the time to apply effort to strengthen these relationships. As Dale Carnegie said “You will win more friends in two weeks by being interested, than you will in two years by trying to be interesting” (more on that HERE).
What that means in practice is that you move onto their turf by showing genuine interest in what they’re doing. On social media it means you take the time to read their tweets, posts and articles. You check out what they’re putting on Instagram. And, when you’re genuinely interested, you take the time to like, comment and share.
When you do this, consistently, regularly and honestly, guess what? People then come back and look at your stuff too.
When your ratio of being interested in other people’s stuff, to putting your own stuff out there is right, people will reciprocate by showing interest in what you do too. It isn’t a 1–1 relationship, some people never will, but enough will.
Then when you put your own articles, tweets, pictures and even ads out there, people will be watching, because you spent the time and put in the effort to look at their stuff first.
Being genuinely interested in other people is one way of being the first in the relationship to bring value. People really do like to reciprocate, to pay back that effort, and they will.
All of my social media timelines have many more replies, comments and shares in them than they have broadcasts.
When I work with business owners, I look specifically about how this should work for them, which platforms will work for them and what strategy will work best on each one. The above gives you an overview and I completely accept there is no “one size fits all” approach to social, quite the opposite.
Secondly, but still about going to people rather than expecting them to come to you, is the thorny subject of Email marketing.
People tell me, often, that Email marketing is dead. It absolutely isn’t, but it has evolved. I get open rates of around 25% on my Emails and I am ridiculously flattered that so many people choose to read what I send out. Furthermore a small proportion of the people who read the Emails even click through to the links I send them.
Think about how many Emails you receive? Do you read every single one of them these days? Of course you don’t, it is nigh on impossible in 2016 to receive every message that appears in our inbox, including the newsletters and sales Emails.
So put yourself in the recipients place. What is going to inspire them to actually read what they send? Is an update of what you or your company has done in the last few weeks and how well the office move went going to cut it?
Once again, ensure you are constantly bringing value to the relationship. Send Emails which draw attention to articles you have already written. Send Emails which your audience will actually want to read.
Email marketing programs such as MailChimp offer you the opportunity actually see who is reading your Emails and who is clicking the links you send. You can also see who has unsubscribed from your list (which isn’t the insult you think it is, it is actually incredibly helpful information).
And most of all, pay attention. Who is actively reading and commenting on your articles? Who is opening every one of your Emails? Those are the people who are moving closer to you, those are the people you should be paying special attention to, because they’re paying special attention to you. Those are the people, frankly, who I would put myself in front of at a networking meeting before too long and ask them for a 121.
Imagine how much information people have the opportunity to read, watch or listen to these days. And how flattering it is if they choose to read, watch or listen to yours. And how flattering it is to them if you choose to read, watch or listen to theirs.
All of this takes effort and application and, as you know effort is currency.
Do you want to be completely clear on your strategy for following up after networking events? You can book a two hour strategy session with me which will cover exactly that, for just £225+VAT. Call me on 01993 768292 to book.
Originally published at stefanthomas.biz on June 25, 2016.