Every conference or webinar is an opportunity to brand yourself and strengthen your professional network. Don’t be one of those people who just heads right out of an event or who half pays attention to a webinar. Be present in the moment and really immerse yourself in the experience.
Following up not too soon and not too late is one of the most critical things to do after any conference or event. Even though we are attending events virtually right now, here are some tips for now and later on how to build and strengthen relationships and your brand.
- Spend time to make a thoughtful connections plan to build stronger relationships with your contacts. First, go through all of the business cards that you collected from the conference. If it’s a webinar, screenshot the list of Zoom attendees if you can see it. Then send each person a connection request on LinkedIn. Follow each person on Twitter if they have a Twitter handle. It’s also very important to add their contact information to your email address book so you can send them email newsletters and communications (with their permission of course).
- Write follow-up emails to those individuals to whom you promised to send materials/information or make an introduction.
- Continue to share insights and learnings after the conference and foster relationships with key contacts by having a strong social media presence. The conference hashtag will still be used after the conference, and it’s a great way to 1) identify others who provide/share great content and 2) make new/strengthen existing connections. You can also use the conference’s hashtag and other relevant hashtags to help your posts become more visible and searchable.
A quick note on personal social media accounts – as the lines between personal and professional become blurrier each day, I’m often asked whether you should “friend” a professional colleague or accept a friend request from a colleague or industry friend on Facebook, Instagram or other platforms.
On these more traditionally personal social media platforms, my advice is to always think carefully before you accept or send friend requests and be very careful about what you post on each of these channels. (While Facebook has audience selectors, Instagram does not once you accept a request.) There is no right or wrong answer here.
Remember that everything you post on social media can be screenshotted and sent to anyone (even after it is deleted). You never know, so that’s why I say to always err on the side of caution.