How to Leverage Networking for Lead Generation
Networking is a key component of virtual events and a great avenue for lead generation. Virtual events provide a unique opportunity to connect with a large number of people in a short time span. Networking is an effective avenue for lead generation, recruiting or job hunting, and more.
Virtual events are particularly ideal for networking for lead generation, as virtual events allow you to leverage a variety of features designed to capture leads and direct you to the right people to connect with.
Whether you are sponsoring, organizing, or attending a virtual event, networking at events can help you generate many high-quality leads.
Ensure That the Event Aligns With Your Target Audience
Before you dive into the actual networking, it’s important to make sure that you’ll have the opportunity to network with the right people.
For virtual event organizers, this means targeting your event and event advertising towards the correct audience.
For sponsors, it means asking the right questions before signing on to sponsor an event to ensure that you will have the opportunity to reach your target demographic to generate qualified leads.
Attendees planning to attend the event primarily to network for lead generation should still research the event to ensure that it’s reaching the audience that you’re hoping to interact with. See who the organizer, speakers, and sponsors are to get an idea of the event’s target audience. You can also look at social content from previous events by the organizer to get a feel for the attendance numbers and audience, or check out who is interacting with event information and advertising on LinkedIn.
Take Advantage of Multiple Networking Avenues
Event owners should aim to break up the event day and provide meaningful networking opportunities by planning a variety of activities to help get attendees talking and getting to know one another.
Event owners often find organizing networking activities difficult. 68.8% of event organizers reported it was difficult for them to provide helpful networking opportunities to attendees. This doesn’t have to be the case!
The right networking activity can leave a lasting impression; both through a memorable experience and the connections made that can help attendees throughout their career. If you need more ideas on how to get creative with your virtual event networking activities, check out our list of 15 virtual networking ideas.
For sponsors and attendees looking to network, it’s important to take advantage of the different networking features offered. Even if you have a virtual sponsor booth, step away from it when you can and join the chat in the networking lounge or participate in a roundtable! It’s also important to remember that your prospects will all have their own communication preferences, so some may prefer chats while others will be found hanging out in virtual meetings. Try to join a mix of activities for the most exposure.
Be Conversational, Not Pushy
Remember, networking is about fostering relationships. Engage with potential targets in a conversational manner that allows you to build a rapport. Your first goal should be to listen to and learn about who you are networking with in order to gauge whether they would be a potential lead.
When attending in-person events, some of the best connections and conversations will take place in the hallways or the buffet line. These organic networking encounters tend to be productive because they feel natural and casual rather than pushy and overtly sales-focused.
Initiate Networking Activities
Organizers should always aim to build in a variety of formal and informal networking activities to their event. However, organizers aren’t the only ones that can initiate networking activities.
On Social27 Virtual Event Platform, sponsors, speakers, and attendees can also start their own Roundtables, small group virtual meetings, to meet others to network, host a product demo, or discuss a topic. Sponsors can even schedule or start Roundtables right from their exhibition booth microsite to talk with visitors and potential leads.
Leverage Recommended Connections
A recommendation tool can help attendees find recommended connections, sponsors, and content based on their interests.Social27 Virtual Event Platform features a Recommendation & Prediction Engine that makes this process easy and allows attendees to seamlessly find the right people to network with.
Recommended connections can streamline the lead generation process by directing you to the right people to initiate conversations with based on their interests, job titles, and more. On Social27 Virtual Event Platform, recommended connections are populated at every section in the networking lounge and the Roundtables page to make it easy for you to find the right chats or video calls to join. You can also browse the attendee directory to find targets to reach out to and schedule meetings with – attendees who share similar interests, industries, and job titles will be shown first.
Keep the Conversation Going After the Event
Once you’ve made a connection with a potential lead, follow-up while you are still fresh in their mind. To improve the likelihood of getting a response, personalize your follow-up messages. If you talked about a specific topic or they expressed interest in a particular product or service that you offer, include a reference to that in your follow-up note. If you didn’t get their email, send a LinkedIn connection request with a personalized message that you met them at the event.
If you are an event sponsor on Social27 Virtual Event Platform, you can integrate lead generation forms into your exhibition booth to capture contact information and follow-up requests to make this part of the process easy and efficient.
While virtual events do allow for an accelerated sales journey in many instances, proper follow-up is essential to close the sale.
Network on Social27 Virtual Event Platform
Social27 Virtual Event Platform provides a wide range of networking features that can drive lead generation for all event participants. Lead generation forms, recommended connections, Roundtables, and more can help you kickstart your lead generation efforts.
Set up a demo today to learn more about Social27 Virtual Event Platform.