Using Business Card Apps to Build Networking Relationships

EvernoteWhat do you do with all those business cards you’ve collected at networking events? I used to just pile them all up in my rolodex and occasionally organize them. On rare occasions I’d actually contact the person.

That all changed when I added a few apps to my phone. Now, I scan my new connection’s business card while they are standing with me and ask if we can connect on LinkedIn or another network of their choice. My goal is to extend that relationship more casually in an ongoing manner.  I don’t want to only interact with them when one of us needs something, but to foster that business relationship even before a need exists.

There are a few apps that make doing this easier. Here are the apps I’ve tried over the years:

  1. Evernote Hello – this one is my personal favorite. It integrates with my Evernote account that does have OCR (optical character recognition). That means when I scan their card, it can detect phone numbers and other information when saving them as a contact back to my phone, and integrates with LinkedIn and Facebook. This is my go-to app lately at networking events. It saves the location and date of where we met, including integrating with the calendar on my phone. Wow!
  2. CardMunch for iOS (no other devices supported yet) is owned by LinkedIn.  I can use this to scan the cards as well, and save notes of how we met. It works for exclusively building LinkedIn connections.
  3. Bump – this is fantastic if you both have the app for exchanging contact information or even swapping files.  I seldom meet people that have this app, though it works on multiple platforms.
  4. About.Me for iOS – great if you’ve already built a profile on about.me.  This service is great to showcase all your social media accounts easily for others to connect with. You can swap contact information with other users of the app.
  5. CardFlick for iOS – again, this app is great if the other person has the app. It creates a virtual business card that you can send to another person using the app.

I would love more people to be using several of these other apps, and for the app makers to be on multiple smartphone platforms.  However, Evernote Hello is a fantastic way to not worry about any of these details and just simply connect. Scan the card right away, connect as soon as you possibly can. Build the relationship in a natural ongoing manner.

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