If You Did SXSW Right

Rock Band Party

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:

  1. Business.
  2. Colleagues.
  3. Trash.

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).

Make Connections

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?

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  • http://www.charlesedmunds.com Charles Edmunds

    Great advice… As usual! :)

  • http://www.charlesedmunds.com Charles Edmunds

    Great advice… As usual! :)

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      One never knows. I miss my mark sometimes. : )

  • http://www.charlesedmunds.com Charles Edmunds

    Great advice… As usual! :)

  • http://www.charlesedmunds.com Charles Edmunds

    Great advice… As usual! :)

  • http://www.charlesedmunds.com Charles Edmunds

    Great advice… As usual! :)

  • http://www.dogwalkblog.com/ Rufus Dogg

    You forgot about the number one thing you should do as you are getting back from SXSW. AS the plane is landing, you should IMMEDIATELY check into @foursquare, tweet something like “Wheels down DAY” and then tweet “@delta worst flight ever, lost bags, no water on board.”

    If you are unable to discern sarcasm, I’m sorry. This whole comment up to now has been sarcasm. Seriously, quit with the “wheels down” tweets and the negative energy. Airline screw ups are opportunities to connect with people who are probably as frustrated as you are and who really, really want you to find your bag and go home. They are great stories percolating just below the surface. Tell those instead of snarking about what a pain coming home is…

    And figure out what is really causing you to be snarky, irritated and frustrated. I almost guarantee, it isn’t really your lost bag.

    Then do Chris’ list above :-)

    • http://twitter.com/susangiurleo susangiurleo

      Rufus, are you reading my tweets? I’ll admit to frustrated snark about my trip home. And, while there may be a bigger story to tell there, I’m not in the mood to tell it right now. Sometimes being social is communicating who we are and it can’t always be “an opportunity” for anything.
      And, why isn’t a lost bag (or, hey, an unexpected stay in Baltimore on your dime..not that I know anything about that) a reason to be a tad snarky?
      I see you points and don’t totally disagree, but I think there needs to be room for the real human to sneak into our social…

      Oh, and I did some of your list, Chris, while sitting in said unexpected hotel in Baltimore : ).

      • http://www.dogwalkblog.com/ Rufus Dogg

        Not discounting your experiences, but in the context of hundreds of other snarky tweets about the same gripes, the whole group looks a bit… well, like a pack of whiners.. And I’m sitting back thinking, “why the heck would I EVER want to go to SXSW? Sounds like one giant pain in the ass smashed in with a lot of negative people.”

        That is just me being “real” about my reaction to the stream of coming home snark, especially when balanced against the gleeful “going to #sxsw” stream I saw earlier last week. :-)

        The airport experience: No rain, no rainbows. All events are neutral. Only our reaction to them makes it good or bad. Baltimore? The Home of @charm_citycakes, Mo’s seafood restaurant and the setting of Hairspray?? Who wouldn’t love that? :-)

        • http://twitter.com/susangiurleo susangiurleo

          No, I get it…but this bring us to a bigger point. Do we only want to hear the sanitized, “nice” stuff in our social media space, or do we want to hear the real down and dirty from time to time? I don’t think we can have it both ways… If I only shared the perky I’d be boring to follow. : )
          And, as a psychologist who spoke at SXSW about social media and mental health,I have to disagree that all events are neutral. In the big scheme (way beyond travel woes) some stuff that happens in life sucks and negative reactions are appropriate….

          • http://www.dogwalkblog.com/ Rufus Dogg

            Heck no!! Sickening sweet crap is an unhealthy diet. I snark about stuff all the time. I vent just as badly as the next guy. BUT, in the context of a wave that SXSW is, I do not want to be one of the many who snipe about flights coming home. I’d rather look for the positive spin because in a sea of negative, I will be the bright shining beacon of hope… all about context. (Now, if I went to a shiny-happy-people festival, I might go the other way :-) )

            The Universe really is indifferent. I got nothing more than a BA in English with a License to practice walking in and around Montgomery County, Ohio, but Imma gonna stick with my neutral POV, but really look forward to debating it. I wish I could find the story of an old maybe-maybe-not guru that illustrates my argument well, but alas, I have lost that bookmark long time passing… I’m now off to read your blog, hoping to find nuggets on SomMe and mental health!

        • http://twitter.com/susangiurleo susangiurleo

          No, I get it…but this bring us to a bigger point. Do we only want to hear the sanitized, “nice” stuff in our social media space, or do we want to hear the real down and dirty from time to time? I don’t think we can have it both ways… If I only shared the perky I’d be boring to follow. : )
          And, as a psychologist who spoke at SXSW about social media and mental health,I have to disagree that all events are neutral. In the big scheme (way beyond travel woes) some stuff that happens in life sucks and negative reactions are appropriate….

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      I’m totally and utterly guilty of that. I complain about flights often, especially when they lose my luggage (three days ago). I try hard not to do that. I will watch myself even more.

  • http://twitter.com/ed_han ed han

    Chris, I love the timeliness, coupled with your incisive observations. I mean, I wasn’t even there but I found myself nodding along the whole time, thinking “yes, that makes sense”.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      Happy to hear it ,Ed. And I wasn’t there either.

  • http://twitter.com/TruffleMedia TruffleMediaJohnBlue

    This are important actions no matter what the event:) Thanks for the refresh and reminder.

    LOL on keeping dumb cards: I had the habit of putting cards I received on top of my desk shelf. Each new card moved the cup next to them over and over and over. Then I realized that that cup was going to dive off.

    Why was I keeping those cards? I have no idea. I had already gone through them, connected with those I wanted, and moved on from the rest. The keeping of the cards was one of those habits of “I might need some info from them” (old skoll bus card mental model). Now the cards dive into the recycle bin.

    Are business cards still useful? Yes, (IMHO) as they are easy reminders of a connection (especially when EverNote+Android technology is not cooperating).

    Thanks again:)
    John

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      I definitely think business cards are useful. I just think it’s up to US to make them so. : )

  • http://www.margieclayman.com Marjorie Clayman

    Oh yes!

    Make sure you send out a press release if your presentation got a lot of good buzz or if the show in general seemed really upbeat. People like to hear what you actually did/achieved at shows, especially if you were a bit out of touch with customers during that time. Information + good PR = bi-winning.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      Really? Not asking in a facetious way, but you’d give a press release talking about a speech you gave?

      • http://www.margieclayman.com Marjorie Clayman

        Well it can’t just be chest thumping, but yeah – I think that telling your customers about a show, giving the state of the industry, and mentioning that you were an important part of it can really help give you a boost. It shows that not only are you going to these events, but you are also helping to educate, and people are looking at you as a reliable source of information.

        This methodology could also give you a chance to talk about key questions the audience raised, which could then help you segue into, “More information about those issues will be coming soon.”

        Lots you could do with it.

  • http://twitter.com/melgordon Melani Gordon

    Any advice on how to digest all of the session info we’ve gotten and how to let it leak from our brains and actually execute on the top 1-3 things we learned?

    • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

      Great question. Did you take notes in any form or format? Did you search for the speaker’s twitter name to see other people’s notes? Do you use evernote?

  • http://www.ChristopherSPenn.com Christopher S. Penn

    Technically, the FTC regulates email under the CAN SPAM law. That said, Canada just rolled out its new FISA law which mandates opt-in only, so the personal invitation to join a list is now the ONLY legal way to go there, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see other countries adopt the same approach shortly.

    • http://mrtunes.ca/blog Mr. Tunes

      thanks penn. do you know where i can find out more about the new FISA law?

  • http://www.ricardobueno.com Ricardo Bueno

    My follow up process used to be:

    - Upload my photos to Flickr or create an Animoto video (love Animoto!)
    - Write a recap blog post
    - Connect with people on LinkedIn (modify the invitation to share the link to the photos and/or post – though I don’t believe you can customize invites anymore)
    - Add certain cards (my #1 and #2 piles) contact information into Highrise
    - Follow up calls with people I really connected with (or want to connect with) – these were random at times, sure, but I built some really good relationships that way.

    Uploading the photos probably took me the most time but as you said, it’s most effective when you do it right away rather than waiting a day or two (or a week later). Often times, if you wait, you end up NOT posting it. I’ve done that.

    The latter part, adding the contacts in, connecting with them etc is something that I just do naturally. It’s part of my “cleaning” process when I get back. To add them to LinkedIn or my database I mean. However, I do make the (dare I say) “mistake” of keeping all if not most of the business cards I get. I don’t know, it’s just a habit at this point is all.

  • http://www.ricardobueno.com Ricardo Bueno

    My follow up process used to be:

    - Upload my photos to Flickr or create an Animoto video (love Animoto!)
    - Write a recap blog post
    - Connect with people on LinkedIn (modify the invitation to share the link to the photos and/or post – though I don’t believe you can customize invites anymore)
    - Add certain cards (my #1 and #2 piles) contact information into Highrise
    - Follow up calls with people I really connected with (or want to connect with) – these were random at times, sure, but I built some really good relationships that way.

    Uploading the photos probably took me the most time but as you said, it’s most effective when you do it right away rather than waiting a day or two (or a week later). Often times, if you wait, you end up NOT posting it. I’ve done that.

    The latter part, adding the contacts in, connecting with them etc is something that I just do naturally. It’s part of my “cleaning” process when I get back. To add them to LinkedIn or my database I mean. However, I do make the (dare I say) “mistake” of keeping all if not most of the business cards I get. I don’t know, it’s just a habit at this point is all.

  • http://twitter.com/JudyHelfand JudyHelfand

    Chris,
    I can’t think of anything else…I got stuck on this sentence: “You don’t have to had come back from SXSW to execute on this information.” I think it should say: “You don’t have to have come back from SXSW to execute on this information.” My brain is a little crazy today.

    I love the photo…and I remember reading all of your tweets and notes from last year’s SXSW. To me it seemed like a turning point for you and your business plan.

    I agree with Rufus…some tweets this week were startling, like this one: “Note to all companies with street teams handing out crap on the street but don’t sponsor the event U Suck we hate you #SXSW”

    Marjorie’s idea about the Press Release is interesting. I can see writing a post about it, but I am not sure about a Press Release, unless it is really newsworthy.

    Thanks, Judy

  • http://twitter.com/JudyHelfand JudyHelfand

    Chris,
    I can’t think of anything else…I got stuck on this sentence: “You don’t have to had come back from SXSW to execute on this information.” I think it should say: “You don’t have to have come back from SXSW to execute on this information.” My brain is a little crazy today.

    I love the photo…and I remember reading all of your tweets and notes from last year’s SXSW. To me it seemed like a turning point for you and your business plan.

    I agree with Rufus…some tweets this week were startling, like this one: “Note to all companies with street teams handing out crap on the street but don’t sponsor the event U Suck we hate you #SXSW”

    Marjorie’s idea about the Press Release is interesting. I can see writing a post about it, but I am not sure about a Press Release, unless it is really newsworthy.

    Thanks, Judy

  • Marsha Collier

    I have always archived the “trash” cards in a shoe box. You’d be surprised at how often you may not remember a person, but much later realize you met someone at a company you nedd to contact. The business card box is often a saving grace.

  • http://www.OrganicBabyProducts101.com OrganicBabyProducts101.com

    I see you points and don’t totally disagree, but I think there needs to be room for the real human to sneak into our social…

  • Anonymous

    The point of following up and keeping in contact with friends, clients, and associates is great. I would add, however, that you should try to keep in contact with colleagues and possible clients in the way that they desire.

    I have clients I’ve met at conferences who don’t have twitter accounts – but are on facebook. I have also met people who don’t have a social media presence and still have thriving businesses. I realize they are behind the times, and that I can perhaps help them ease into the 21st century, so I send them an old-fashioned, snail-mail card.

  • http://www.danielroachblog.com Daniel Roach

    So glad you talked about not signing people up to email lists automatically! It doesn’t matter if it’s legal or not, it’s just an irritating party fowl. Not once has doing that to me ended favorably for the sender. Emailing me like a human talking to another human they genuinely enjoyed meeting, however, that works every single time.

  • http://twitter.com/ImageFreedom Image Freedom

    Thanks for speaking at Get Ready 2 Live 2. Was glad I was there for your Skype in.

    This is a great kick in the ass for my “holy crap have to catch up” self. There’s probably a certain perfectionism component to that where you panic because you know you learned all this stuff and you want to make the most of it. I’m definitely going to split up the card stack and cull the crap.

    Sometimes simplifying something is the easiest way to get ‘er done.

    Thanks for this.

  • http://twitter.com/SimrenDeogun Simren Deogun

    Hi Chris,

    First, thanks for the post! Second, I completely agree that it’s bad practice to immediately aggregate all the cards and sign up them for your email newsletter, but how do you feel about sending them a specific, post-event email and asking if they’d like to sign up for your newsletter — obviously, this is within a sales/prospect specific setting.

    Simren

    • Rory

      Chris stated: “…you can invite them to join your amazing email newsletter as a specific ask in a short email to their addresses. That works. “

    • Rory

      Chris stated: “…you can invite them to join your amazing email newsletter as a specific ask in a short email to their addresses. That works. “

  • http://twitter.com/SimrenDeogun Simren Deogun

    Hi Chris,

    First, thanks for the post! Second, I completely agree that it’s bad practice to immediately aggregate all the cards and sign up them for your email newsletter, but how do you feel about sending them a specific, post-event email and asking if they’d like to sign up for your newsletter — obviously, this is within a sales/prospect specific setting.

    Simren

  • http://www.ProfessorProsperity.com ProfessorProsperity.com

    There’s probably a certain perfectionism component to that where you panic because you know you learned all this stuff and you want to make the most of it.

  • http://thebusinesslaunchpad.com Gillian

    Just sharing what I do with business cards.
    When someone gives me a card if all they’ve done is pitch me themselves, their biz and asked nothing about me then this is not someone I want to do connect with so as I put their biz card into my pocket I bend a corner. Later I trash the cards with bent corners ! The others I enter into an Excel spreadsheet with details of where, when we met also if they are anglophone or francophone (important when you live in Quebec). I also write down one or two key things from the conversation which might be something personal like they have a sick family member, their son is leaving for univeristy whatever (I always try to have something personal to note about them). I let a week go by (I hate pouncing on people and I want to stand out from the crowd) and then I write an e mail to say I was pleased to meet and discuss with them blah blah and if I’ve noted something personal about them then I refer to that. Out of the cards where I’ve recorded the details I keep the few that belong to the people I perhaps want to have as a referral source or partner up with etc.

  • http://www.beamondcreative.com/ Sam Beamond

    I have to admit that in the early days, I was guilty of the “jerkbag move”. Thankfully, i’ve grown up since then!

  • http://www.advancedwebads.com/sc/164 Randy Addison

    Making connections is one of the most important thing in the industry. Well, it is actually important in everything and in every industry.

  • http://www.advancedwebads.com/sc/164 Randy Addison

    Making connections is one of the most important thing in the industry. Well, it is actually important in everything and in every industry.

  • Smnp65

    Im just starting to get my head clear from all of the drinking, and panties washed, from all of the sex.

    God I hope I’m not pregnant! You geeks never wear condoms!

    I’ll be keeping all of your cards for paternal tests!

    • JLC

      Eww. Just eww. Even if it was meant sarcastically – it was just entirely in bad taste. Yuck.

  • Smnp65

    Im just starting to get my head clear from all of the drinking, and panties washed, from all of the sex.

    God I hope I’m not pregnant! You geeks never wear condoms!

    I’ll be keeping all of your cards for paternal tests!

  • http://raulcolon.net Raul Colon

    Chris… I had not come to your blog given my Geek Spring Break Festivities…

    On the way here I was chatting to @waynenh and he give me one of the tips which you elaborated on.

  • http://raulcolon.net Raul Colon

    Another point I forgot was the fact of people shooting you Press Releases for your blog because they saw you where at #SXSW. I think the same process with some modification should apply.

  • http://raulcolon.net Raul Colon

    Another point I forgot was the fact of people shooting you Press Releases for your blog because they saw you where at #SXSW. I think the same process with some modification should apply.

  • http://www.bdb.org/index.php?submenu=bdb_board&src=gendocs&ref=board_of_directors_pics&category=the_bdb Fenjuljr Pepe

    They quite often decide that I must want their email newsletter. I mean, who wouldn’t? People who’ve given you some of their digital time want to know what you’ve done with the footage.

  • http://ajleon.me ajleon

    Chris, thanks for the *incredibly* valuable advice. Doing this now. :)

  • Gator

    3. why on earth would anyone in their right mind throw businss cards in the trash? Have you never heard of a blue box? Recycle!

  • Gator

    3. why on earth would anyone in their right mind throw businss cards in the trash? Have you never heard of a blue box? Recycle!

  • http://twitter.com/affiliatetip Shawn Collins

    I hope nobody who got my card at SXSW feels inclined to invite me to subscribe to their newsletter.

    I’d rather not get a follow-up than get a boilerplate solicitation.

    If I want their newsletter, and I probably don’t, I’ll find it.

  • http://www.netwitsthinktank.com frank barry

    Man, i just finished 12 days of conferences between #11ntc and #sxsw. I’m sitting on a plane now checking out the snow covered mountains and thinking to my self … “so much to do, but all i want to do is relax” :)

    Great kick in the pants Chris.

    @franswaa

  • http://www.smilesoftware.com Jean MacDonald

    Thank you for the permission to triage the cards. :-)

    One thing that helped me was creating a TextExpander snippet for LinkedIn. I know the best practice is to write a personal note when you ask to connect, but in many cases, it’s overkill. You’ve just emailed the person separately, so something short and sweet in your LinkedIn request makes sense. However, the standard “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn. – [your full name] could be improved. Here’s the snippet I created, which is triggered by the abbreviation “lnk”:

    Dear %clipboard,

    I’d like to add you to my LinkedIn network.

    - Jean

    1) The “Dear ___” is a nice personalization. If you use TextExpander, you can double click on the person’s name and copy it to the clipboard. The name then gets inserted automatically.

    2) “Professional network on LinkedIn” seems redundant and pedantic, so I just changed it to “my LinkedIn network.”

    3) I shortened my name to just my first name. I’ve met the person and we are already on a first name basis. The invite to connect will show my last name anyway. Signing it just from “Jean” is more my style.

  • http://www.artbizblog.com Alyson Stanfield

    I wrote about this same topic recently, but I love the addition of the temporary Twitter list. I’ve never done that after an event, but it reminded me to set one up prior to a big upcoming workshop I’m giving.

    I also love the permission to trash. Some people are horrified at the thought, but the only reason I keep a card is to use it as a good example in my marketing material notebook (to show my artist-clients). Even then, sometimes I just scan it and make a slide of it.

  • https://www.macrobusinesscapital.com/ small business startup funding

    They’re from colleagues, people you might work alongside, or people you might admire.

  • http://www.palmbeachpost.com/accent/content/accent/epaper/2008/02/24/a1d_acc_fanjul_0224.html Pepe Fanjul

    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.

  • http://www.pacebutler.com/cash-for-cell-phones.cfm cash for cell phones

    This way, you’ll see if there’s any further ways you can connect or be helpful.

  • http://www.belladomain.com SandyJK

    Great post Chris. To me, another important part of post-event follow-up is simply doing what you say you are going to do.

    I’m a big fan of writing notes on the back of the cards I collect. Typically, the note is their answer to one or both of my 2 favorite questions: 1) “What are you working on these days?” or 2) “So, what do you need help with right now?” These notes serve as reminders of the follow-up I need to do based on their response and no card goes into the recycle bin until I’ve finished all my follow-up (even #3′s).

    I make sure to prioritize based on urgency. For example, “Oh, I read about this start-up in TechCrunch yesterday that you might want to approach about a strategic partnership before CES next year. Give me your card and I’ll find it again and send you the link to it,” always gets done before, “I don’t currently know anyone at LeapFrog, but I expect to meet the head of product management at a conference I’m going to this summer. If I meet him, and he’s the approachable type, I’ll email you and intro then.”

    And, yes, I’m a BIG FAN of using LinkedIn for follow-up when I’ve really clicked with the other party and definitely want to stay connected. I always customize the invite and start by re-activating what I call the “emotional spark” we had by reminding them of the joke we shared at or the OPI nail polish discussion we had. (Ricardo – you can still customize LinkedIn invitations by looking the person up via the People search and going directly to their page and then clicking on the “Add Chris to your network” button near the upper right corner. You can customize it there and use the Other category since you have their email address via their biz card. @sandyjk

  • http://mrtunes.ca/blog Mr. Tunes

    it’s funny what having direct access to the experts provides too.

  • http://mrtunes.ca/blog Mr. Tunes

    it’s funny what having direct access to the experts provides too.