Do you have a bag of business cards hiding in some corner of your room? This is a bag of business cards, flyers, and pamphlets I've accumulated from comic conventions, art shows, and more over about 6 years. In years past, I was not the best at following up with all of these people (that's what the cards are FOR, right?). But recently I've optimized my follow-up strategies! Here are some tips to help you avoid the overwhelm of following up when you find yourself with like 50 cards after any event:
1. Pick the TOP 5 most important people you met and get back to them the week after the event. How you define "important" will vary based on your priorities and goals. Your criteria could be people from major companies, people most likely to lead you to a job, or just new friends you felt a strong connection with!
2. Pick the NEXT 5 most important people and get back to them in the following month. Beyond a month and you risk them not remembering you. A month seems like a long time, but a solid follow-up email requires more work than you'd think. For my follow-ups, first I review all notes I took when I met Person A (if you don't take notes, START!). These notes usually include recommendations of people and companies Person A said to check out. Next, I check out said peeps/companies online, which can be like going down a rabbit hole. One cool link leads to another, and before you know it, hours have gone by! Make sure to keep track of your time to not get too caught up in this research step, but have enough knowledge to mention something about it in your follow up email to Person A. They'll see that you're more serious about taking their advice.
3. For all other business cards beyond those 10, just follow them on social media. Think quality, not quantity. With my busy schedule, there's no way I can write a thoughtful email to every person I've met, which is why in the past sometimes I just put it off entirely, which lead to that gigantic bag of cards. It makes me wonder what happens to all of my business cards...
The next step after following up is... will you actually DO the advice those top 10 people gave you beyond just checking out so-and-so? Granted, take all advice with a grain of salt - you may even get conflicting tips. Pick what advice feels right to you. Make a list of specific steps you can do to improve your artwork (or any other skill!) and begin implementing them. All too often in the past I've just let this last step go, but it's important to moving forward in my career. That could be a whole other blog topic of project organization and implementation, but that's for another time!
Oh yeah and that note on the bag is an idea I had one time to scan all the cards. It's a project on my "rainy day" to-do list. Considering following everyone on social media, or just throwing it out.