[Editors Note: This article was written by Angela Mastrogiacomo.]
First of all, congrats on surviving another chaotic (but no doubt amazing, inspirational, and productive) SXSW!
Once you’ve had a chance to take a breather and recoup, odds are you’re going to feel pretty excited about following up with all your new connections. And while the follow-up email isn’t a bad start, there are many more ways to make sure you’re staying memorable while continuing to nurture and develop the relationships you’ve just made.
Follow up—but be memorable
It’s one thing to follow up with someone, it’s another to make sure they actually remember who you are. To give yourself a head start, try to make yourself memorable during the interaction in general, so that you have something to reference when you follow up a few days later.
For instance, maybe the person you’re talking to has really cool shoes that you comment on when you’re talking to them, and then in the email you say, “I’m the person who said how much I loved your bright orange shoes and those lime green laces!”
Or, reference something very specific you talked about, like your dog Bowie or their cat Speckles. Also, don’t be afraid to reference something specific about yourself. “I’m the girl with the pink tips in her hair” is how I used to identify myself.
Engage them on social media
It’s a no-brainer to follow the people you admire and want to connect with on their social media platforms, but take it a step further and actually engage with them in a meaningful way. There’s a sweet spot between commenting on every single thing they post (semi-creepy) and making sure they remember who you are by staying current and continuing to engage.
Just remember that: 1.) you want to actually engage, so that means commenting rather than just liking; 2.) you’re actually better off commenting and bonding over non-music related posts, as this helps you connect in a way that simply talking about career stuff won’t (this is also good general networking advice); and 3.) you want to make your comments worth reading and possibly open-ended for response.
So when someone posts a photo of their dog don’t just say “cute dog!” say “Cute dog! What’s its name/what breed/I wish my dog would wear a hot dog costume like that.”
The idea is to create a genuine connection, and to do that you need to have content and conversation that people actually want to engage with. Try to imagine the interaction as if it were in-person. If you said that to their face, would they have something to reply back with? If not, it’s back to the drawing board for you.
Make a spreadsheet
One of my go-to ways to keep track of all the people I meet is a spreadsheet that tells me who they are, what they do, and where they live, as well as their contact info and any notes. This is a really good way to remember to keep in touch with everyone, but it also allows opportunity for relationship building down the line.
For instance, if you get word that your friend Joe needs an upstart manager, you can go to your sheet and see if there’s anyone you can intro them to. It also means when you’re traveling you can refer to the spreadsheet and see who lives in the city you’re about to be in—a little one on one facetime might be just what you need to boost the relationship.
When I say keep in touch, I don’t mean follow up one time and then call it a day and hope they think of you in a year when they’re doing something awesome.
I mean actively keep up with their life and schedule some one on one time. Show them you’re invested in them by continually thinking of them, and yes, actually interacting with them. Sometimes even outside of social media (I KNOW. Wild.).
Especially for the people that you really hit it off with in person, or whose connection you really want to keep, it can require a little extra effort beyond the usual social media interactions. This means taking the time to reach out on a semi-consistent basis via email, phone, text, whatever it is they prefer, and see what they’re up to.
If there’s something you can do for them, do it. (i.e they’re a studio drummer in NYC and your friend just mentioned they’re looking to hire someone—introduce them). There’s also a lot of value in just staying connected, asking them what they’re working on, and supporting their endeavors. Stay connected, treat them like a friend, and watch how you grow together.
Angela Mastrogiacomo is the founder and CEO of Muddy Paw PR, where her artists have seen placement on Alternative Press, Substream, New Noise, and more. She’s also the owner of music blog Infectious Magazine.