Leveraging LinkedIn: How to follow up and nurture connections
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Digital X is Europe’s foremost cross-industry digitization initiative, spearheading the charge toward digital transformation. With over 300 domestic and international partners actively engaged in this endeavor, Digital X serves as a dynamic force bolstering the digital evolution of small and medium-sized enterprises. Over 250 esteemed speakers from politics, business, and science will take the stage, offering deep insights and personal perspectives on digitalization.
Are you as excited as we are for Digital X to start finally? We can relate. But while we eagerly await the actual event, it’s never too early to think about and prepare for what comes after.
Imagine you have exchanged business cards or connected directly on the LinkedIn app with interesting individuals at Digital X. What now? It’s common to wonder, “What’s the best way to proceed?” The prospect of jumping right into a formal business proposal can feel too assertive, yet building a genuine connection from a distance can be challenging. You might even feel stuck, leading to inaction with the valuable connections you’ve made.
However, this initial uncertainty is a common pitfall when it comes to nurturing connections post-Digital X. The key is to reach out shortly after the event when your new contacts still have a vivid memory of you and the conversation you’ve had.
So, what’s the best approach? A straightforward route you can take is leveraging LinkedIn to follow up and nurture connections after Digital X. Both posting and engaging with others on LinkedIn can help you stand out and stay connected with those you’ve met from the Digital X conference. To familiarize yourself with your recently added connections on LinkedIn, go to My network > Connections > Sort by: Recently added (this is the default setting)
Keep in mind that it’s essential to be patient and use multiple touchpoints to guide these connections toward meaningful follow-up conversations or next steps. It’s common for people to return home to a full inbox, a jam-packed calendar, and a ton of their own follow-ups to manage after events like Digital X. Just as you can easily get lost in your new connections, they may experience the same. Therefore, it’s vital to approach your newfound contacts with both patience and a strategy to stand out among the sea of inbox messages.
In this article, we’ll explore creative ways to leverage LinkedIn to connect with fellow Digital X attendees and enhance your chances of initiating a meaningful follow-up conversation.
How to stand out and leverage LinkedIn in your follow-ups:
We’re committed to equipping you with the tools you need to make a lasting impression and foster meaningful connections with your Digital X peers. Keep reading for useful best practices, handy writing samples, and expert tricks to help you navigate the post-event scene.
Connect with new contacts on LinkedIn.
Before you can nurture a new relationship on LinkedIn, you have to be connected to that person. Reaching out to new contacts from the event afterward is a great way to foster and strengthen your relationship. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to do just that while maintaining a friendly and engaging yet professional tone:
1. Personalize your connection request:
Start by sending a personalized LinkedIn connection request. Mention where you met and a brief reminder of your conversation or any shared interests you discussed.
Example connection requests for LinkedIn:
- “Hi [Name], connecting with you at Digital X 2023 was great! I enjoyed our discussion about [specific topic]. Let’s stay connected on LinkedIn.”
- “Hi [Name]. Our chat about [specific topic] at Digital X 2023 was a highlight for me. Let’s stay connected here and continue our conversation. Best regards, [Your Name].”
2. Express gratitude:
Once your new contacts accept your connection request, send a thank-you message expressing your appreciation.
Example thank you message for LinkedIn:
- “Thanks for connecting, [Name]! I really enjoyed our conversation at Digital X. It’s fantastic to have the opportunity to stay connected and exchange insights.”
- “Hello [Name]. Thank you for accepting my connection request. I can’t wait to continue the conversation we started at Digital X. Looking forward to talking to you soon. Best regards, [Your Name].”
3. Reference the event:
The next step is to reinforce your new connection by referencing the event you met at and the context of your previous meeting.
Example reference message for LinkedIn:
- “Digital X was such a valuable experience, and meeting fellow professionals like you made it even better. What were your key takeaways from the event?”
- “Hello [Name]. As I look back on Digital X, I’m reminded of the insightful conversations and connections like ours that made it exceptional. What were your standout moments or learnings from the event? Let’s keep the dialogue alive! Warm regards, [Your Name].”
Building meaningful connections takes time, so don’t get discouraged if your new contacts don’t respond immediately. Be consistent in engaging with their content and periodically reaching out with updates or ideas. It’s also essential to be mindful of other people’s response time and availability. Not everyone will have the same schedule or availability for networking.
Remember to maintain a friendly and professional tone throughout your interactions, and always be genuine in your communication. Building strong LinkedIn connections is a gradual process, and nurturing the connection over time can lead to valuable professional relationships.
The post-conference post.
Did you know the LinkedIn algorithm prioritizes your new connections among everyone who sees your posts? When publishing a post, it is more likely to be viewed by your more recent connections than those you’ve had for a while. This fact makes a post-conference post a great way to help you keep in touch with new contacts and offer them value and insights.
Before you write your post-conference content, keep a few handy tips in mind:
- Write a (longer) LinkedIn post summarizing your key learnings and insights.
- Use relevant keywords, hashtags, and – if it makes sense – mentions for people you have met at the event.
- Save mentioning people for those who were significant to you and stood out. Examples are people who gave you a memorable tip or shared an exciting story.
- Add your personal reflections and insights.
Are you wondering what you could write about? Here are some ideas:
- Event highlights: Share your favorite moments from Digital X, whether a snapshot of a captivating speaker, an exciting booth, or a memorable networking encounter.
- Key takeaways: Summarize the most valuable insights you gained from the event, highlighting actionable tips or strategies you plan to implement.
- Networking success: Spotlight a particularly meaningful connection you made at Digital X and how it could potentially lead to future collaborations.
- Speaker quotes: Share impactful quotes or statements from keynote speakers or panelists that resonated with you.
- Behind-the-scenes: Offer a glimpse into the behind-the-scenes experience, showcasing the preparation, setup, or team effort that went into attending Digital X.
- Interactive polls: Engage your audience by asking questions related to the event, such as “Which Digital X session resonated with you the most?”
- Resource sharing: Share valuable resources or articles that complement the topics covered at Digital X, positioning yourself as a valuable source of information.
- Gratitude: Express gratitude to the event organizers, sponsors, and fellow attendees for making Digital X a memorable and enriching experience.
- Next steps: Discuss your plans for what comes next after the event, whether it’s implementing new strategies, reaching out to connections, or continuing your education.
Remember to keep your posts friendly, engaging, and aligned with your professional but approachable tone to resonate with your audience effectively.
Here are some example posts:
- For a new connection: It was great meeting @Person’sName at Digital X 2023! Our conversation about [mention a specific topic you discussed] inspired me. Let’s keep the momentum going and explore how we can collaborate in the digital world. Connect with me on LinkedIn, and let’s make amazing things happen together! #Networking #DigitalX
- For keynote speaker takeaways: I just attended an incredible keynote session at Digital X 2023 in Cologne! [Speaker’s Name] dropped gems on [mention a key takeaway or topic discussed]. Their insights on [briefly summarize the key points] were eye-opening. I’m ready to implement these game-changing ideas into my digital strategy. 💡 #DigitalX #KeynoteWisdom #EventHighlights
The main spotlight should be on your personal reflections and insights. If you have too many things to talk about or find one post a bit daunting, you can also make it a mini-series of posts – each dedicated to a different topic of interest.
Tracking activity like a pro.
After connecting with new contacts and sharing your own event highlights on LinkedIn, keeping track of your connection’s activity on social media is critical. Observe what’s happening in their professional lives and engage with content that interests them. While you don’t need to go and engage with every single post the person has published, showing that you have common interests in topics opens conversations between the two of you, which may lead to a follow-up meeting.
Here are some tips and tricks on how to stay connected on LinkedIn:
- Like their posts: One of the simplest ways to show support and stay connected is by liking your new connection’s LinkedIn posts. This small gesture lets them know you’re paying attention and appreciate their content. Example comment: “Great insights, @Person’sName! 👍”
- Leave thoughtful comments: Engaging comments can spark meaningful conversations. When you see a post from your connection that resonates with you, share your thoughts or ask questions about the content. This gesture demonstrates your interest and can lead to valuable discussions. Example comment: “I completely agree, @Person’sName. Your point about [specific point mentioned in the post] is spot on. How do you think this trend will evolve in the coming year?”
- Share relevant content: If you find articles, videos, or resources that align with your connection’s interests, consider sharing them. Mention why they might find it valuable. Example comment: ”This article reminded me of our conversation at Digital X, @Person’sName. It dives deep into [topic], which we discussed. Thought you might find it insightful!”
- Offer congratulations: Celebrate your connection’s achievements, whether a new job, a work anniversary, or a milestone. This gesture shows your support and enthusiasm for their successes. Example comment: “Congratulations on your new role, @Person’sName! Your expertise in [industry] is truly impressive, and I’m excited to see where this journey takes you.”
- Engage in polls and questions: Participate in any polls or questions your connections post. It not only provides feedback but also encourages interaction. Example comment: ”Interesting poll, @Person’sName! I voted for [option] because [reason]. Can’t wait to see the final results.”
- Show appreciation: Don’t hesitate to appreciate your connection’s content when it resonates with you. A simple “Thank you for sharing, @Person’sName” can go a long way. Example comment: “Thank you for sharing this, [Name]. Your insights always provide valuable perspectives.”
By consistently engaging with your connections in these ways, you’ll stay on their radar and nurture your professional relationships.
Create a mini content strategy.
Creating a small content strategy for your content (as notes on a piece of paper or electronically) can help ensure that your content is directly related to your conversations with your connections and aligns with your professional goals.
Here are a few points to keep in mind when creating your content strategy:
- Relevance: Ensure your content is relevant to you and your network.
- Consistency: Regularly post and engage with your network to keep your connections engaged and to remind them of your presence (e.g., share a relevant article or a thought-provoking question).
- Content creation: Besides sharing existing content, create your own content that reflects your expertise and interests (e.g., write a brief post summarizing your key takeaways from a Digital X keynote session).
- Prioritize topics: If you have numerous ideas from the conference, prioritize them based on their relevance and your audience’s interests.
- Leverage trends: Stay informed about current trends in your industry and incorporate them into your content strategy.
- Showcase personal growth: Share your professional journey and growth to let connections get to know you better.
An easy way to create your content strategy is to jot down significant things you’ve learned at Digital X. If you feel worried about creating too much content, split up your topics over time and prioritize your favorites.
Follow up using LinkedIn message.
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, many convention-goers will return to overflowing inboxes after Digital X, all seeking the same thing – a follow-up conversation. A simple yet refreshing strategy to distinguish yourself from the crowd is using LinkedIn messages instead of email. Doing so can project a more approachable and friendly demeanor while sidestepping the clutter of email inboxes.
This approach may prompt swifter responses, as your connections feel less pressured when responding to you compared to the flood of emails they’re dealing with. It creates a more relaxed atmosphere for them, increasing the likelihood of a successful follow-up meeting.
Here are some tips and tricks on how to propose a follow-up:
- Initiate a pathway for continued dialogue or collaboration in the future. Whether it’s a virtual coffee chat, a collaborative project, or attending another event together, show enthusiasm for exploring possibilities.
- Example 1: “I’m excited about our potential to collaborate further. How about a virtual coffee chat to delve deeper into the ideas we discussed? I’d love to hear your thoughts!”
- Example 2: “I’m really happy we connected at Digital X and about our fantastic conversation. How about we set up a virtual coffee chat to continue our conversation? I’d love to hear your thoughts and insights!”
One more thing: Utilize the event hashtag!
While many of these strategies are designed for post-event engagement, here’s one you can start implementing right away: discovering and following event hashtags.
This handy trick allows you to monitor posts and discussions related to conventions like Digital X. It also lets you plug into relevant conversations and make connections even faster.
Remember to incorporate the event hashtag each time you share content about Digital X. This simple practice allows other Digital X attendees to see your posts and engage with your insights and conversations.
How to Follow a Hashtag on LinkedIn:
- Log in to your LinkedIn account.
- In the LinkedIn search bar at the top of the page, type in the event hashtag (e.g., #DigitalX2023) and press Enter.
- Click on the ‘Hashtags’ tab in the search results to filter for posts with that specific hashtag.
- On the hashtag page, you’ll see a ‘Follow’ button. Click it to start following the hashtag.
Following and actively using the event hashtag in your posts amplifies your presence at Digital X and engages with a broader audience interested in the event’s topics and discussions.
And now, have fun!
While using LinkedIn effectively is crucial for nurturing connections from Digital X, it’s equally important to keep things simple. Rather than obsessing over the perfect LinkedIn message or post, remember that the heart of professional networking lies in meaningful relationships.
So, as we wrap up, let’s keep it simple. Connect with those who inspire growth, and be someone who inspires growth in return. Networking is a two-way street, and events like Digital X are fantastic for learning, sharing, and connecting.
Did you come across a familiar tip today, or perhaps you stumbled upon a brand-new idea that you can’t wait to implement post-convention? Share your thoughts with us on our LinkedIn page! And for those attending, see you at Digital X 2023 in Cologne!