Okay; I've finally nudged you out of your comfort zone by nagging you to go to networking events. You've dressed up in your best suit, met a bunch of people, held your own in casual conversation, exchanged a bunch of business cards (physically or digitally).
Now what? Do you crawl back into your hole, slapping your hands together, breathing a sigh of relief "Ah! At leat that's over with"?
Of course not. Here's a list of proactive strategies to follow up on your newly established contacts. When you contact someone a year down the road, you are much less likely to get the deer-in-the-headlights equivalent in a response email.
Networking is not merely about meeting people. It's about keeping the relationship an ongoing, mutually beneficial ongoing contact.