A couple of weeks ago I gave a LinkedIn presentation at a huge conference on the West Coast. It reminded me about how much time and money people and companies commit to these types of events. It also struck me that very few people have a system or procedure to ensure that they’ll see measurable results from their next conference.
Here are some steps you can take before, during and after an event that will help you achieve the results you deserve.
Before the Event
Contact the event coordinator and request a list of who will be attending. Many times you can get the list—if you ask politely. Spend some time checking out the LinkedIn profiles of the people who look most interesting to you. In addition to conference attendees, don’t forget to consider connecting with sponsors, presenters, and conference organizers. Many of these people are the movers and shakers in your industry.
Send a customized LinkedIn connection request, and, where appropriate, suggest you meet during the conference. People are much more likely to agree to a short meeting during a conference than when they’re in their regular work environment.
You can use your mobile device to look at their profiles before you meet with them. Or you may want to print the profiles and take them along. You will then have lots of information at your fingertips to figure out how to start a conversation with the most interesting people. Plus you’ll have photos to help you pick them out of the crowd.
Join any relevant groups associated with the conference.
Post a status update about how excited you are to attend the conference. Be sure to mention some of the speakers you’re looking forward to hearing from, and include them by name. Use the LinkedIn mention and hashtag features so your update gets seen by more people in your network.
During the Event
When you’re having conversations with those “right” people, be sure to ask them if they use LinkedIn. If yes, ask them to join your LinkedIn network as a way to stay connected after the event. This is much more productive than just grabbing business cards and adding people to your database after the event. Once you’re connected on LinkedIn, you can stay in front of them with status updates, and review their profiles at all times.
I suggest you include media on your LinkedIn profile. Then, when you meet people at an event, you can suggest they go to your profile and look at or download materials that will help them. You’ll be immediately adding value to a new relationship.
During the conference, use individual status updates and/or group conversations to share comments, pictures or videos about important information you’ve learned each day.
With the LinkedIn mobile app’s Find Nearby feature, it’s quick and easy to add to your network people you meet at the conference. This is a real winner and was designed by LinkedIn specifically for these types of events.
After the Event
Review the conference agenda and the list of participants. Then send LinkedIn connection requests to any important people you weren’t able to meet with. Do this only if your connection strategy includes adding people to your network that you may not know but would like to know. Rather than using LinkedIn’s standard invitation, include a thoughtful message with your invitation.
Review the profiles of the people with whom you had productive conversations at the event. Follow up with a phone call or suggest a meeting to move the relationship forward. Consider attaching or adding a link to a piece of content you think will be helpful to them.
Publish an article with your most important conference takeaways. Then share it with your network as a status update. Even better: send a direct message to a select group of connections and to those people mentioned in the article.
Try these strategies before, during and after your next conference. That way, the time and money you spend to attend conferences will never be wasted again.
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Power Formula.
About the Author: Wayne Breitbarth is the CEO of Power Formula LLC. An experienced businessman, speaker, and author, Wayne shares his passion for social media with 40,000+ business pros. Through private business consulting and presentations to audiences including Inc. Magazine and also the American Marketing Association, Wayne makes LinkedIn simple. Wayne is the author of the best-selling book The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success. Connect with him on Twitter.