Swap Business Cards, Make Connections

Posted by By at 23 August, at 16 : 11 PM Print

shakeThere is no connection like the human connection. We are a passionate social species that builds great relationships with those around us when we’re given the opportunity. You can spend all day twittering and build a list of 1,000+ quality twitter followers but the one missing link is actual human contact: a handshake. You don’t have to shake hands with all your thousands of twitter followers (or facebook fans) but you should at least let a few of them know you’re human.

If you live near a big city, it’s usually easier to find some folks in the industry you’re trying to dominate with video and audio content. For instance, I’m working to build a cocktail show from the ground up and I’ve build a good roll of PR folks, industry leaders and distributors who are ready and willing to send me content in the form of spirit samples. They’re dedicated to your cause because they’re hoping you can show their products off in your content. This is a good give-and-take relationship but that’s about where the line is drawn and you’re still only a name.

A launch event last week in Boston gave me the opportunity to shake a few hands. I’m 45-minutes out of Boston but making the trip was well worth the time and effort. I met up with some folks I’ve talked with in the industry and build some new relationships with folks that I didn’t know existed before the event.

Meeting folks in person allows you to establish a stronger relationship. Hitting parties and industry gatherings will give you new exposure to journalists and bloggers to which you can swap “business cards.” Saying, “hi I’m Derrick from everydaydrinkers.tv” isn’t good enough; do you want them to remember you among all the other party gatherers? If so, you’ll want to toss them your card with contact information on it. After the event they’ll head home and toss all the business cards they gathered on the coffee table for later viewing. You want to be part of that list otherwise they’re not going to remember “that guy” they met at the show.

A week after the event the e-mails will start to come in saying, “nice meeting you last week, love your website.” Some folks may have never heard of you before while others could have seen you in passing while working in the industry. Of course, you’ll know a few people from “chatting” over e-mail or Twitter direct-messages but now there is a greater connection: you’re a real person. The experience of a five minute chat at an event is all that is needed to begin to grow a new contact. Next time you hit an event you may see them again and can shake with a familiar grasp.

During the event you may pickup a few new folks that have never heard of your show. This goes back to my preaching about building your relationships one person at a time. If you give away one business card at an event and they take a look at your website, you’ve established a new potential fan. Even public relations folks in the industry can become fans of your content for more than just pimping their products. I’ve got many PR agencies that watch every show I produce because they like the content, quality and it’s relevant to their industry. PR agents are typically passionate about the industry they’re in, this is what keeps them going to work each day and your content brings them closer to their own world.

Many folks may live far away from the big city and find it much more challenging to get out to launch parties, meet up and all the good human gathering that occurs in our social circles. For those folks (much like myself) plan to hit two events a year that have large gatherings where you can do a full year of meetings in a single day. Make yourself known, stand out, print up some business cards and spread the love with as many people as you can shake hands.

It may cost you $30 to head to staples to print out a few hundred basic business cards. If it has your domain, name and contact information on the card then you’ve done your job right for very little cash out of pocket. It is important to make those connections and let a small group of folks in your industry know you’re a human and not just a voice. Who knows, you may establish some great relationships beyond a simple ‘tweet’.

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