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Networking 201: Follow Up with Online Content

You spent two hours at an event with interesting, diverse people from a variety of industries and made a few good connections. You exchanged business cards and talked about how your products and services would benefit each other. Now what? What’s the best way to follow up with those connections and nurture your invested time so it yields the best returns? Technology these days makes keeping in touch easier than ever before. The key to turning great connections into great professional relationships is quality online content.

Optimize your business cards. 

Your business cards can be so much more than your name, phone number, and email address. Use them to direct new connections to your web content – your main site, your portfolio, and your profile on LinkedIn or other networking sites. One cutting-edge way to do this is using QR (quick reader) codes – those little squares with dot patterns in them. You can encode any type of textual information in a QR code: your website's address, a Facebook page, a coupon, or other contact information. QR code generator services are available free online. Reading the code is as easy as pointing your smartphone, once you download one of the free code-reading apps. This can be a fun and space-saving way to convey a lot of information in the very limited space of a business card.

Perfect your online materials and websites. 

Once you’ve figured out an effective way to direct people to your online materials or sites, make sure it’s worth it for them! Your website or portfolio should be visually interesting, representative of your product, services, or brand, and easy to navigate. If contacts arrive at your site and become frustrated by broken or nonfunctional links, overwhelmed by too much content stacked too deeply in menu trees, or confused about what you have to offer, your networking efforts will be pointless. Making sure that you have interesting, relevant, high-quality content on your website gives visitors a reason to stay and navigate around to learn more about your business. A well-designed website can be one of your business' greatest assets.

Learn to Love LinkedIn.

LinkedIn can be a valuable tool to organize and maintain your professional connections. Unlike Facebook or Twitter, which tend to focus largely on activities and friends outside of work, LinkedIn emphasizes nurturing professional relationships. It also has tools to help you develop a more effective profile and encourage you to interact with your network. Its “premium” subscriber functions can also increase its effectiveness and improve its ease of use.

Commit to regular updates and communication.

In addition to making sure your online content is updated – new projects in your portfolio, current products if you offer online sales, seasonal specials on services – it’s important to maintain a regular online presence. This can be as simple as scheduling periodic Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ updates (easy to do with social media scheduling programs) or publishing regular blog posts, or as involved as re-tweeting and actively engaging online with your social media followers and connections. Regular (but not excessive) LinkedIn updates, blog posts through its “pulse” publication service, and direct communication to your connections can ensure that you stay on the radar for when a connection has a need you’d be perfect to meet.

Making sure that new connections turn into nurtured relationships is an essential part of effective networking and marketing. Creating quality online written and visual content can help make that happen! If you don't know where to start, we can help. Our team of professional custom content creation specialists can work with you to develop a content marketing strategy and quality website, blog, and social media content. Contact us today!

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