Are you set on building a long, sustainable career in your field? Apart from hard work and skill, the best way to do this is by attending conferences and live events that are relevant to your profession. This is because they are a great way to discover new trends within your industry, but also give you an invaluable opportunity to build a professional network.
How can you go on to strengthen the connections you make during these live events? LinkedIn is a great way to do this, while developing those relationships at the same time. It is a powerful social network that lets you connect with new people in a professional setting.
Before the Live Event
Before attending any conference or live event, it is important to make sure your groundwork is in place. This could involve the following steps:
1. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date
Updating your profile helps you look more professional, and makes the best first impression possible. This is because a lot of people are likely to look at your profile at least once before or after the live event.
Go over each section, and make sure they are correct and updated. Pay special attention to critical details like where you work, the projects you have done, as well as any awards you may have received.
2. Have a good profile picture
Make sure the profile picture you use is clear and recognizable. This helps instil a sense of trust in the people you meet, increasing your chances of getting new business.
Your background image should also reflect your industry, current projects, or the theme of the live event.
3. Do your research
A primary part of your pre-event preparations should be to do your research. Take time to look up the sponsors, organizers, speakers, and venue before the event. You could also see if there are any LinkedIn groups related to the event and join them.
This where you begin developing relationships. Therefore, it is important to connect and engage with event organizers or prospects ahead of time. It is also good practice to customize your connection requests to mention the event.
You can affordably outsource your research work to experienced freelance professionals online.
4. Add a tag
As you start connecting with new people, make sure to add a tag with the event's name. You can do this through your network tab, or their profile. Take note that you can only do this using a desktop computer or laptop, not on a phone application.
Adding tags helps you search through your network for anyone related to the event. It helps you engage with the organizers and attendees, building a vital top-of-mind awareness with them.
You could also start reaching out to the people you want to connect with here. Scheduling time to meet with important new connections could prove invaluable during the bustle of the event.
5. Create templates
Reaching out to new people for the first time can be intimidating, so having some message templates can make the whole process easier and less stressful.
The simplest way to do this is by writing and saving your templates on the notepad app on your phone. This ensures they are easily accessible. All you will have to do next is copy and customize.
You should also prepare a template to use when asking a mutual connection for an introduction. These messages could be sent before the event to schedule a meeting with a viable prospect.
6. Download the app
In case you have not done so yet, make sure you have downloaded and installed the LinkedIn app on your mobile phone. This is a great way to make sending messages and connecting easier at the live event.
During the Live Event
It is important to remain engaged and active on LinkedIn even during the live event. This is an ideal way to ensure you can reach out and communicate with your new connections.
7. Connect with event attendees
Make sure to meet with people in person, and connect with them via the LinkedIn app. This is because they are more likely to accept your invitation to connect when you are right there with them.
Add the event tag once you are back home and in front of your computer. It would also be a good time to write down a few notes on your conversation with that person for future reference.
Another option would be collecting business cards during the event, and using them to connect with people afterward. Take some notes on the card of a unique detail you can add in the custom LinkedIn message to help them remember you easily.
8. Take pictures
Have your picture taken with various speakers, influencers, and new connections during the event. You can also take pictures with fellow attendees. You can then use these photos and different quotes from the event as status updates, or posts on LinkedIn.
After the event
Meeting new people during the event is not enough: you must follow up with your connections after the conference closes. You can do this in various ways:
9. Send invitations
In case you were not able to do this during the event, make sure you send invitations to connect to everyone who gave you their business card. You can then book a call or schedule a meeting with any good prospects to keep the conversation going.
10. Write a post
A great way to help fellow event attendees find your profile is by writing a great LinkedIn post about the event. The post can be your recap of the event, with any important photos and quotes that you gathered.
You can take it a step further by tagging, mentioning, or notifying anyone you mention in the post. This will be especially helpful in ensuring that influencers find your content and share it.
11. Stay on their mind
Take time to share your messages and updates related to the event over the next few weeks. This will help you stay top-of-mind with the other attendees.
You can then keep sending periodic, brief, and private messages to your new connections. Keeping a consistent line of communication open is especially important for those who could be prospective clients, or good partners.
Conferences and live events are target-rich environments for starting and building new professional relationships. This is a vital practice, because you never know when you may need a particular skill or resource to advance your career. Networking through such events is a great way to develop relationships that could help take your career to a higher level.
As older methods of networking slowly become obsolete, it is a great idea to embrace emerging technology. LinkedIn is one of the best tools in this arena. This application is designed to make it easier to form sustainable professional bonds. It makes worrying about differing geographic or time zones a thing of the past.
Combining these tools will help propel your professional life forward. You can use LinkedIn to find and connect with new people. You can also then go ahead and follow up and develop relationships with everyone you meet. Furthermore, as the next event approaches, you can send a custom message to your connections to schedule even more meetings.
Have you ever used LinkedIn to connect with new people during a live event? Do you think there are other ways to use the application during an event? We would love to hear your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.