Networking follow-up ideas

Networking events are a part of the life of any business owner. And they can be incredibly valuable...if you know how to use them. 

One of the struggles I consistently have is figuring out how to follow up and stay connected with individuals who were particularly valuable/engaging/fun in ways that makes sense and set me apart from others. 

If I have this struggle, I imagine some of you do as well. So here is a list of some of the best ways other people have followed up with me, and I now try to replicate when it makes sense.

  1. Simple card or note. Not exactly original, but if you have a particularly personal note inside, it is still memorable. I have a stack of cards that are always on my desk so I can shoot off a note to people I meet with.
  2. Send a book. Neely Tamminga with DISTILL did this for me; she sent me a book by Jon Acuff that she particularly enjoyed. This was a particularly memorable follow-up, and we now have something to talk about anytime we interact. Not practical for every connection, but a great option for those few connections that you find particularly valuable.
  3. Name them in social media. This can be as small as tagging them in a new post, or as significant as doing a video with pieces of your conversation as the focus (maybe get permission!). This shows you value your exchange and also gives them some visibility.
  4. Invite them to an event with you. You met at a networking event, so it stands to reason they are looking for more networking opportunities. A friend from the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal did this for me, and it gave us a chance to interact on top of the great feeling of being thought of.
  5. Connect them to someone else. You may not be a potential client of theirs, but if you can connect them to a possible client or someone who can generally help them, they won't forget it. Don from Evolve did this for me recently, and now I am particularly aware of people who may need the services they offer.
  6. Grab coffee. This is a standard for a reason. Be sure to have a reason for coffee, and if you don't, wait until you do. You want this to be a positive experience. Maybe bring that potential connection to the meeting and use it as a chance to introduce them in person. Where possible, make the coffee date as convenient for the other as you can.