If you are landing in your city of choice and are setting about the business of resetting yourself back to the workaday life after attending the big spring break for geeks, South By Southwest, then what you might consider doing next is probably what matters most. I mean after you kiss the kids/dog/girlfriend/fish, of course. What’s next is setting about threading up your communication lines, building out your connections, and making contact.
Sort Your Cards
I’m going to tell you a cold truth: a bunch of the business cards you received at the event aren’t worth a thing to you. They’re from colleagues, people you might work alongside, or people you might admire. Lots of times, they have come from someone you met in a hallway or out on the street, and you have no idea if there’s any “there” there.
Break out your piles into three:
Throw #3 in the trash. Now. Don’t keep dumb cards.
In #2, sort through who you really want to stay connected with, and send them a LinkedIn request, find them on Twitter, get their blog into your RSS reader, and throw them a really quick “Great Seeing You” email, and then throw the card away. You will stay tuned to these people via the social channel. That’s all you have to do.
For the #1 pile, saving the best for last, do the same steps in #2, but keep the card, plus enter these people into whatever you’re using for client relations management. (I use BatchBook.) Then, when you send the email, send something that reminds them of the conversation, and then offer to be helpful. Don’t push your product unless they specifically asked for a pitch.
Make a Temporary Twitter List
If you’re using Hootsuite (affiliate link) or TweetDeck or whatever, create a list for your new people from the #1 and #2 list so that you can keep warm on them for a while. This way, you’ll see if there’s any further ways you can connect or be helpful (which can lead to business). Take special note of what they talk about, and to whom. You might find even more people to follow, thus doubling the value of your SXSW connections.
Do NOT Add Them To Your Email Newsletter
This is the #1 sin of people who take my business card. They quite often decide that I must want their email newsletter. I mean, who wouldn’t? Don’t do this. #1, it’s borderline illegal by FCC standards (in the US, at least), and #2, it’s a jerkbag move.
However, and I know that Christopher S. Penn was waiting to see if I’d mention this, you can invite them to join your amazing email newsletter as a specific ask in a short email to their addresses. That works.
Post Your Media Fast
If you shot video with people or photos or whatever, get it up online and tagged and point it out to the people involved, if that makes sense. People who’ve given you some of their digital time want to know what you’ve done with the footage (I’m sometimes really guilty of not doing this, but I’m writing it in here because I know it’s what one should do).
Lastly, make some introductions between some of these new colleagues you’ve met (pile 2) and some of your existing friends and business contacts, so that you might help others find value via your connection. (We wrote about this in Trust Agents as being at the elbow of every deal).
Clearly, This is Universal Information
You don’t have to had come back from SXSW to execute on this information. You might be leaving Coldwell Banker’s Generation Blue conference, or one of the thousands and thousands of other conferences that happen daily all over the world. The connection points above still apply.
But, the real question: did I miss anything?