Before, During & After: The Ultimate Event Networking Guide

Before, During & After: The Ultimate Event Networking Guide

It’s no secret that I love digital sales.

I firmly believe that every business should be digitally transforming the way that they sell. Digital strategies enable you to sell more efficiently and effectively, generating more profitable revenue.

But I also want to be clear that digital strategies do not replace all traditional sales activities

There is a time and place for in-person meetings, handwritten notes, and phone calls. In fact, combining traditional and digital sales tactics can be a powerful way to accelerate growth in your business.

A great example of this is in-person events. Tradeshows, presentations, networking events, etc., are all examples of in-person events that are traditional sales, but represent an opportunity to enhance through digital activities.

In this week’s Sell with Social, we will talk about how you can leverage social selling with your next in-person event.

The Synergy of Digital Strategy with Networking Events

In a world where digital interactions are the norm, the value of traditional, in-person events might be underrated by some. 

However, the reality is that when you effectively combine the tactile authenticity of traditional events with the expansive reach of digital strategies, you create a synergy unmatched by either approach alone. 

This combination is a potent formula for maximizing their social selling impact.

Traditional events provide a sensory-rich environment where meaningful connections are made. The subtleties of body language, the immediacy of a conversation, and the shared experiences foster trust and can quickly solidify relationships. These interactions are often the starting point of a relationship that will be nurtured over time.

On the other hand, digital strategies amplify your message and extend your reach far beyond the event itself. By leveraging social media, content marketing, and online networking tools, you can engage with a broader audience, maintain the momentum of new relationships, and continue the dialogue with ease, regardless of geographical barriers.

When combined, each approach boosts the other’s strengths. This is truly a case where the sum is greater than its parts.

So now, let’s dive into the tactical steps you can take before, during, and after your event to make the most of it! 

Before the Event: Prepping the Digital Groundwork

The date is set, the tickets are purchased, and you’re making plans to attend an upcoming event. Here are five activities you can do before you step foot in the room. 

1. Research and Connect:

Start by researching attendees, speakers, and organizations involved in the event. Connect with them on networks like LinkedIn so that you can start engaging in each other’s content. A personalized connection request can go a long way: mention the event to ensure there is context for the connection. 

2. Share Your Plans:

Use your social platforms to announce your attendance and share what you look forward to. This creates an opportunity for others attending to connect with you beforehand.

Awais created a graphic to highlight his upcoming event attendance.

3. Content is King:

Generate interest by creating and sharing valuable content related to the event theme. This positions you as a thought leader and someone worth talking to at the event. Post what you are excited about, share content from last year, or highlight how your company will be involved. 

4. Set Up Meetings:

Don’t leave all your networking to chance. Set up meetings with key prospects or connections ahead of time. Use social messaging to lock in coffee chats or quick meet-ups at the event.

5. Start Engaging:

Make a “virtual handshake” by engaging with the event’s social media posts or any content related to the event hashtag. This raises your visibility and helps to establish a digital rapport.

During the Event: Blending the Physical with the Digital

You’ve arrived! Now, it’s time to take advantage of your time to the fullest. Here are five activities to do during the event. 

1. Post Updates:

While I don’t see value in non-stop “live” posting (at least on LinkedIn), you should share updates, pictures, and insights from the event on your social media profiles. Use the event’s official hashtag and mention their company page to increase visibility. 

2. Meet with People (in real life):

Use the opportunity to strengthen connections made online. Introduce yourself to those you’ve engaged with digitally. And when you meet new people, don’t forget to exchange business cards – they’re a handy tool for reminding you to digitally connect after the event! 

Eagan and I networking and drinking grape juice.

3. The Power of Tags and Mentions:

When sharing content from the event, tag the individuals you’re interacting with, as well as the event organizers. This will not only enable you to tap into your connection’s audiences, but it can also help facilitate discussion around the event on your post. 

4. Take Good Notes:

Capture key information or quotes from speakers and share them online. This not only provides valuable content for your followers but also demonstrates your active participation in the industry.


Yes, caps lock was required for this one. Capture as much media as possible while you are at the event. You can never have too many pictures and videos for future content. 

After the Event: Nurturing the Connections

You’re back home and resting up. With the whirlwind of the event behind you, it’s time to get down to business. Here are five activities you can do after the event to make the most of it. 

1. Follow-Up Messages:

Send personalized follow-up messages to those you met. Reference specific conversations you had to refresh their memory and deepen the connection.

2. Share Learnings:

Post an article or video summarizing your key takeaways from the event. It’s a great way to provide value and remind new connections of your expertise. Tag speakers, contacts, and event organizers in your post. 

Marissa posts a recap from a Gary V. keynote address.

3. Keep the Conversation Going:

Continue to engage with the individuals and brands you interacted with. Comment on their posts, share relevant content, and propose additional ways to collaborate or assist them.

4. Analyze and Reflect:

Review the connections you’ve made and the content you’ve shared. Which posts got the most engagement? Who are the most promising prospects? Use this information to refine your approach for future events.

5. Say Thanks:

Send a thank you note to the organizers and any particularly helpful contacts you made. A little gratitude can pave the way for lasting professional relationships. 

For this week's action items, I want you to consider how you can turn in-person events into a treasure trove of social selling opportunities. Each phase of the event lifecycle offers unique chances to connect and sell socially; make sure you’re ready to capitalize on them.

Here are your action items for the week:

  1. Review a Past Event - How well did you combine digital and traditional sales strategies? Which of the recommendations above did you do? What can you do better next time? 
  2. Plan Your Next Event - Pop open your calendar and look for your next upcoming event. What can you start doing today to make it more successful? Review the “before” event recommendations again to get started. 
  3. Combine Digital and Physical Activity - If you are attending an event soon, commit yourself to combining your digital and physical activities. Find ways to leverage digital channels to make the most of the event - before, during, and after. 

Remember, social selling is about building relationships, not just closing deals on the spot. So, take the time to nurture your connections, and your in-person event experiences will yield results long after the doors close.

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