We hear it said all the time: PR is all about relationships. In support of your need to constantly grow and nurture your connections, and in follow-up to last week’s article on 15 conference opportunities perfect for fashion publicists, we’ve put together some techy tips to help making the most of your in-person networking and ongoing relationship management, aka world domination via your electric magnetism. Go get ’em.
Identify Nearby Influencers
You’ve got a cup of bad hotel coffee in hand and are anxious to get networking, but where to start? Wishing you could know who on your PR hit-list is in attendance at the event? Check out Here On Biz, which serves as a quasi tracking device to facilitate networking through LinkedIn. The app shows you other LinkedIn members within your current geographical location and to connect add or chat with them. Already at the conference? Check into the event itself or conversations and begin the device-to-device networking with others attending. The app also alerts you when other LinkedIn group members or those in your network are nearby while you’re on the move and traveling, so you never miss an opportunity to take the online offline.
We also recommend UberSocial, a popular tool which helps you connect with your network and find contacts via Twitter. The app optimizes your twitter experience away from the office: check event hashtags, view early adopters and power users with vine, and post/tweet more effectively from the road.
Scan Business Cards
Ever find yourself wondering what the equivalent number of trees would the to the number of business cards spilling out of your purse, desk drawers, blazer pockets and somehow, the floor of your car? We know the feeling. It’s time to start scanning cards, and then putting them immediately into the recycling bin.We love CardMunch. Snap and upload a photo of a business card, type in your new contact’s information and store it as a clean, mobile contact. Recently acquired by LinkedIn, the app syncs with your LinkedIn Account, automatically pulling the person’s profile, shared connections, and key information from their bio. In other words, snap.
Not for you? Here are some other options to check out: CamCard; ScanBizCards; Bump; CardFlick; WorldCard Mobile
Sync Notes Across Devices
You had a great conversation with an up-and-coming style blogger who has recently caught the attention of the print mags. You gave her a quick pitch on your client roster and you connected over the lack of vegetarian options at the lunch buffet. She mentioned a love of polka-dots, shared that she actually mixes her own perfume – jasmine and vanilla – and that she’s planning a trip to Greece later in the summer. She also verbally gave you her email address because she doesn’t have business cards. Put that (innocuous to anyone not in the PR) conversation to good use for future you (future-self-self-five!), and jot down those notes for future follow-up. How many times have you had a great conversation with someone, and then…well, dropped the ball? As Oreo proved with it’s now-famous Super Bowl spot, timing is everything!
Instead of scribbling notes in your fancy purple moleskin, we suggest Evernote for storing all of your of-the-moment pitchideas. Easy-to-use, the app allows you to save ideas, capture images and share those notes across devices and to other people. Take notes and photos, record discussions with your smartphone’s speakers, create checklists and voice reminders and access them anywhere! Not convinced? Did we mention that the app was on the New York Times ‘Top 10 Must-Have App’ list; and a winner at the TechCrunch Crunchies, Mashable Awards, and the Webbys? (Can you say three-peat?!)
Price: Free *Evernote Premium is also available for $4.99 a month subscription plus the cost of add-ons.
Alternatives: Penultimate; Tape-A-Talk
Keep Co-workers in the Loop
Congrats on being the lucky one who gets to spend a day out of the office soaking in some good conversation and expert ideas. But what about your teammates back in the office? Keep them in the loop by sharing your notes with LogMeIn, an app that allows you to view, edit, and share Microsoft Office products from anywhere. Like Evernote, this app allows you to sync and share files in real time across your multiple devices. With free remote access, you can open/save files, run various programs, and check email. The app also shares the encryption settings of online banks which takes care of any security issues for on-the-go management of your company’s budget and finances.
Compatible: LogMeIn (iPhone); LogMeIn Ignition (Android)
Alternatives: CloudOn; GoToMeeting
Follow Up with Flavor
Networking mission accomplished! Bask in your accomplishments and as Amy Poehler says, “treat yo’ self!” Then, tomorrow, or whenever you’re back to the grind, don’t let those pitch ideas, new tool discoveries and of course, new contacts go cold! Try CallFlakes. Once you finish a call, the CallFlakes menu will pop up on your screen showing you different choices for following up on a call: text message, call back, email, set a reminder, schedule a calendar event, or share (Twitter/Facebook). With the share option, once you affiliate your Facebook ID with CallFlakes, you can also take advantage of the app’s caller ID replacement screen to view your friends’ Facebook profile pictures and latest Wall activities. It’s a pretty convenient way to set up a process to continue to reach out to new contacts; save your brain power and personal hard drive for PR strategy!
While you’re the one whose job it is to show up and creatively mine experiences for opportunities for partnership and connection, the days of the paper rolodex and five-inch stacks of business cards are long-past – as you upgrade the strategies and tactics you use for client success, so is it time to upgrade your own networking process – it will help you do what you do, better.