How to boost your event networking with automation?
It is quite common to attend business events in order to network and get new business contacts. However, if you want to be successful in it you need a lot of preparation. You can take advantage of a few automation tools that can help you prepare your networking ahead of the event.
Step 1 get information about the speakers
Your first source of data is to take a look at the event’s website. The quality of data you can get from there can vary. Some event websites provide a list of attendees while others include just LinkedIn profiles of the people. Others website quite simply don’t have any info at all.
In most cases, you can at least get the speakers’ names and job titles from the website. For example, with https://eastwestblockchain.com/ you can easily copy/paste the list of speakers and then use a basic google doc formula to concatenate the speakers’ names and job titles as I have done in this document..
You can then Leverage phantombuster to find speakers’ Linkedin profiles (which is much more actionable data as you will see in the outreach part):
- A: Clean up the spreadsheet with the speakers’ details
- B: Use phantuboster’s Linkedin profile URL finder. (just follow the step by step guide from phantombuster to make the setup)
- C: As a result, you will get a list of Linkedin profiles’ URL for most of the speakers.
What if the information on the website is spread over several pages?
Some event websites are not so easy to scrape data from. For example, if you want to contact the startup taking part in Money2020 startup academy you would need to click on every startup logo to copy their name which would be quite a time-consuming process.
For these kinds of websites, you’ll need to build a small web-crawler like this.
Developing a scraping tool will consume a developer’s or Growth Hacker’s time, so consider the ROI before going in for it.
Step 2 get information about the attendees
Most events do not list the attendees on their website, so how can you get a list of them?
The easiest is to use Facebook. If the event has a Facebook event, you can easily scrape the list of attendees from there. For example Tel Aviv NEXTBLOCK conference has a Facebook event with 200+ attendees: https://www.facebook.com/events/602475456833555
You can use phantombuster’s Facebook event guest exporter to extract those attendees :https://phantombuster.com/api-store/8674/facebook-event-guests-exporter
Now you could potentially contact people over Facebook using this API: https://phantombuster.com/api-store/8852/facebook-message-sender.
However, this outreach method can be considered too personal for the audience. Also the message you send over Facebook will arrive in a contact request folder, so people might not check it or see it very often. You can choose to contact people over Facebook if you are targeting younger people (the mobile messenger app gives notifications for message requests which will give you a better open rate). Facebook messaging is also more suited for a more “relaxed” audience like startupers. It is not recommended to go this way if you are targeting a conservative industry like law consulting.
If you don’t want to contact people over Facebook, then you need to take an extra step to get people’s LinkedIn profiles:
- A – use Facebook’s profile scraper API to get people’s job titles & company names: Follow the setup from phantombuster. You need to spread the scraping over time (set 5 scraping sessions per launch and max 100 scraping sessions per day)
- B – use LinkedIn’s URL finder API to get people’s LinkedIn profiles.
However, be aware that this approach will give you a lot of miss-matches (you can expect up to 80% miss-matches). Keep this in mind when you want to perform the outreach
Step 3 Automated your outreach
You should know have a database of people you would like to contact ahead of the event. The best way to do so is to use LinkedIn’s network booster API. This will allow you to send contact requests to people on your database.
You can prepare a copy similar to:
“Hey #firstName#, I’m heading to [event name] as well. We are [your USP]. Would you be available for a quick chat during the event?”
Pay attention that you are limited to 300 characters for the copy (including the person’s name which is required to not look like a bot).
I recommend you not to send more than 20 contact requests per days. Therefore, you need to spread your effort over time. If you are in a rush before the event, you can increase your outreach with LinkedIn’s auto follow API: This API has a lower limitation as you can follow up to 80 people per day (split over 8 launches with 10 follow each).
LinkedIn’s auto follow API is also practical to avoid inconveniences with miss-matches. As you can imagine, if you send a message that goes “I’m heading to [event name] as well” to someone not going to the event, the result can be quite awkward. Just following people is a less aggressive outreach technique and still can help you find interesting prospects. That is why if you extrapolate LinkedIn profiles from Facebook profiles, you should use the ‘follow API’ to the network booster API.
Bonus: What if you only have the company’s name?
Some events do not provide a list attendees, but instead provide a list of companies that will attend. So you cannot discover the attendees' Linkedin profiles easily, but rest assured there still is a way:
You can use phantobuster as follows (it is quite a slick road):
*Use LinkedIn’s company URL finder API to get the company’s Linkedin profile.
*Use Linkedin’s company employee API to get a list of all employees per company.
There is a faster way to do it and to even get employees’ email addresses using Anylead. Anylead offers a tool named “domain enrich” which takes an input – the company website, and then automatically provides you with a list of all the employees with LinkedIn profiles and emails. However, Anylead’s subscription starts from 99$ per month which is not worth it if you are not going to run this hack very often. Therefore, you need to assess the ROI of this hack before investing in Anylead subscription or instead hire a Growth Agency owning a subscription.
Last but not least, when you are finding people from the company’s name, you need to change the copy of your outreach. In fact, you know that the company will attend but you don’t know who within the company will attend. You need to include a statement as follows in your outreach copy, for example:
“Hi, I see your team on the list of attendees of [event name]. Are you the one who’ll be there?”