September 01, 2011

Networking Tips: Find A Reason To Follow Up

So you've made a few contact in the music industry, gone to networking events, and conducted a few informational interviews to meet new people and learn about different careers. The trouble is after that things seemed to fall flat. You can't build a relationship with someone from one event, meeting, or interview, so how exactly do you turn a brief conversation into something more meaningful? You find a reason to follow up.

What does that mean?

Well, essentially, you pay attention to the work being done by your contacts and their companies and use it as a genuine and sincere reason to keep the conversation going. For example, if you meet the manager for a new artist whose debut record does well on the charts, write a note to the manager congratulating them. If you notice a a record label is using a creative new marketing technique and you happen to know a marketing manager there, then why not contact them and ask about it. I'm not saying you should force it or do this very frequently (if you're fake it will show and reflect poorly), but pay attention for the things that truly do interest you the same way you would with a friend. You know that friend you text every time you see something that reminds you of an inside joke? Or the one you contact as soon as you hear your Lady Gaga is coming to town? Or maybe the one you've seen every Harry Potter movie with? It's kind of like that, but on a professional level.

So, how do you do that without becoming a creepy stalker? There are actually few great free tools out there that can help you stay up to date with what your network is doing.

Google Alerts
Google Alerts sends you an email with links every time Google finds something new online containing your keywords. You can use it to monitor yourself, your favorite band, a company, or anything else really. Just type in what you want to follow, adjust the settings, and you'll receive updates right in your inbox anytime the company, person, or band you want to follow makes the news.

Gist lets you manage and follow contacts from all of your social networks and email in one place plus gives you news items and lets you keep track of various communications. It also aggregates news from various sources about your contacts and their companies and puts all together in one convenient location for you. Gist is available as apps on most smart phones and as an email plug-in to help you manage your contacts on the go or while you're emailing them.

Hopefully. you're at least already a member of this important professional network. Even if you are though, you might not be using it to its full potential for staying in touch with your network. You can choose to follow various companies, join groups related to your industry, and make it a point to follow the posts, activities, and promotion or new jobs of all of your contacts on here. It's a great tool for staying in touch with or at least up to date with what your professional contacts are up to.
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