LinkedIn as a Prelude to Follow Up

Ilise Benun on your online marketing planHere’s a trend I’ve noticed…

You attend a conference (I was at MYOB last week). You meet some new people during the networking reception and grab their card (or not — as long as you vaguely remember their name, you can now find them online).

Then, you go back to your room and before you go to bed, you find them on LinkedIn and invite them to connect.

(Is this follow up, since it happens before the event is over?)

This reminds me of a story a client, Tiffany, told me last week. She went to the event for her target market industry and, at the end of the first day, looked up the executive director of the association on LinkedIn. She invited her to connect before she went to bed and her invitation was accepted early the next morning!

But wait. Later that day, she decided to attend the post-conference board meeting of the association and of course, the director was there. Everyone was introducing themselves but Tiffany was sure she wouldn’t have to, since she was sitting on the side of the room. But sure enough, the director expected everyone to say who they were.

When it came to Tiffany, the director, whom she’d never met before, called her by name (obviously recognizing her from her LI photo) and invited her to introduce herself too.

If she hadn’t connected on LinkedIn the night before, that exchange would not have been possible.

But wait. If she hadn’t connected on LinkedIn that night, it’s also quite possible that the meeting she has this week with that new and excellent prospect also wouldn’t have happened, especially not as quickly.

What’s the lesson?

(For more networking tips, check out “It’s Who You Know: The Ultimate Networking Kit“)