Conferences can quickly introduce you to an enormous array of networking contacts. However, while you can do a lot to build an enduring relationship before and during a conference, what really cements a new person’s place in your network is what you do after the conference ends. Try the following solidify your impact on your new contacts:
If you had a busy conference, you probably have a big pile of business cards from new contacts, not all of which are of equal importance. Jot down notes on the backs of cards about who the person is and how you met them, then sort the cards into piles for quick follow-up and piles for later follow-up.
You may not want to send a follow-up right away, because the day after a conference can be a very busy one for everyone involved. However, you should start working through your follow-up piles soon, making sure to write a customized e-mail to each new contact. Remind them of your interaction at the conference and try to offer them something useful, like a link or an introduction to someone else.
Follow up on social media
If you’re on Twitter or LinkedIn, add or follow your new contacts and interact with them. Take a look at their blogs, if they have them, and start engaging with their content in order to build more durable connections.
Fulfill your promises
If you told someone you’d send him or her a link to a resource or an article, make sure you follow up on that promise quickly, while it’s fresh in your mind.
Deepen your ties
Look for opportunities to get into deeper conversations with contacts with whom you made a strong initial connection. Include something in your follow-up e-mail that provides you with a chance to have continued contact.
Refresh contacts later on
As time goes by, flip through your piles of cards and ping your contacts. Let them know what you’re up to, and ask about projects of theirs that you’ve discussed. Doing so will help you maintain your new relationships.