Networking can be a really helpful and insightful experience for any company, large or small. Networking in the digital age is becoming much easier as we can now connect with people at the click of a button, however is a face-to-face meeting still more effective? Here are our top tips on how to make networking in the digital age work best for your company.
1. Before the Event
- What do you want to achieve?
First of all ask yourself what do you want to achieve from the event? Do you want to increase your customer base or find companies to partner with.
- Verbal Business Cards
Create a verbal business card for yourself and your company, treat it like an elevator pitch and keep it less than a minute. For example practice answering questions such as What do I do? And What does my company do?
- Hard-copy Business Cards
Remember to take business cards, only hand them to people who you believe are a genuine connection and can help you and your company.
2. During the Event
- Arrive early
Always arrive early, there are often some great networking opportunities before the event is in full swing.
- Say it with a smile
Make sure that you have a smile on your face; a smile makes you instantly more approachable even if you are feeling nervous.
- Using social media at the event
We always encourage clients to use social media at events they attend. Take photos and tweet about your experience at the event. If there are any speakers make sure to tag them in your posts.
Take advantage of Apple’s iBeacon, a Bluetooth technology that is able to send location data, which you can use to advertise your brand to local customers as well as giving the location of an event.
Remember to listen to others; networking isn’t just about selling yourself it is about connecting with a relevant customer and client base.
- Business cards for the digital age
Finally ask for business cards if you feel that you will have a good working relationship in the future, or if you have a habit of losing peoples business cards use a scanning app such as CamCard which saves the details straight into your phone.
3. After the Event
After you leave the event or as soon as possible after, try to connect with any individuals and companies you have met on LinkedIn or other social networks. Don’t leave it too long, make contact quickly to show that you are enthusiastic about your new relationship or partnership.
If the event had a unique hashtag, make sure to check in after the event to engage further with the people and companies you have met.
To get the most from a networking event you must have a clear purpose for attending as it is about building genuine connections with people as well as learning and expanding your knowledge. And remember when networking always be yourself, and confidently share who you are with others.