Easy Guide to Network Like a Pro
Category : Strategy
Networking can be stressful and award but statistics show that learning how to network can be hugely beneficial for your career. One of the best ways to set up more collaborations is by hitting the networking scene and getting new connections.
It is essential to make tons of new business relationships. One of the best ways to set up more collaborations is by hitting the networking scene and getting new connections.
Before you learn how to network, you want to make sure you’re presenting yourself in the best way possible both online and in real life. We’ve compiled all the things you should consider before you start business networking.
This handy guide has all the key networking tips you need to have you networking like a pro in no times.
Explore All Networking Options
Don’t limit your networking to just offline! In-person meetups are crucial to building out the creative network you have, but you can also network from the comfort of your own home.
Here are some social media websites that are great places to start:
Twitter: great place to build your personal brand through tweeting about issues you care about and attracting like-minded people.
Instagram: ideal for creatives working in visual mediums to share their work and connect with each other.
Facebook: wonderful for following the professional pages of people you admire, creating your own business page, and using messenger to introduce yourself.
LinkedIn: good platform to build connections through relevant industry groups—comment on other people’s posts, or share your own thoughts and links.
Follow people whose work you admire or are interested in, and strike up a conversation. You could comment on one of their posts, or reach out directly to say hello. Of course, you should exercise some discretion in your approach (don’t send out a generic messages to hundreds of people!), but know that many people are happy to respond.
Do Your Research
There are also many private groups on Facebook and LinkedIn for creatives and entrepreneurs which can connect you with more experienced people in your creative field for advice, or fellow professionals seeking influencers for contract brand deals. Ask around in the general groups for adds to these groups.
Treat Networking Like Making Friends
The key to network successfully is to be genuine, and to show sincere interest in the people you talk to and the work they’re doing.
Don’t try to talk to people just to see what they can do for you. The idea is to build up the creative network around you, so that you’ll hear about opportunities organically through your connections.
You don’t even have to talk exclusively about work—the idea is to forge connections, so engage with your fellow creators like you would a potential new friend.
Talk to Everyone
If you’re a YouTuber, don’t just talk to YouTubers. If you’re a Blogger, don’t just talk to other Bloggers. A key networking tip is to branch out and make contacts working in other industries or who have other interests; you might benefit in the long run when they hear of an opportunity you wouldn’t have seen otherwise, or want to collaborate on a project.
Keep Your Business Cards Handy
You’ll need to have business cards before you head out for your first round of business networking—scribbling your contact info on a scrap piece of paper when someone asks for it doesn’t exactly give the best first impression.
This is a crucial networking tip for creators and makers: your business cards should be professional, but they should also definitely show off your aesthetic. Take a peek at your brand identity guidelines, and make sure your business cards adhere to them.
Perfect Your Media Kit
If you’re serious about building a career in digital media, you need to have an awesome influencer media kit to share with the brands you want to work with!
It’s the best way to show off how serious you are about your work, your future partnerships, and what you can offer brands online.
Whether you’re a blogger, vlogger, photographer, or videographer, you want to have a document that represents all the work you’ve done, your achievements, and where you’d like to grow in your influencer career.
- Industry conferences: A great place to start are industry conferences, which give you the opportunity to learn new skills, connect with other freelancers, and meet potential employers or clients.
If you’re a part of professional associations or local networking groups, they’ll often host happy hour events or other networking opportunities that you can attend to meet creators like you. If you’re not a part of those built-in creative networks, check out websites like Meetup to join groups that appeal to you and start attending events. You can use Eventbrite.
You can also do a bit of networking at “creative clusters” like cafes, bars, and co-working spaces, where other freelancers tend to congregate and strike up casual conversations with other regulars.
Don’t forget to hit up brand launch events, and business grand openings and any other soiree where other creators and makers are likely to be.
Follow Up After Events
You might feel a little nervous about pursuing your connection after an event. But don’t hesitate to get in touch—reach out to them while you’re still fresh in their memory. Ideally that means within 24 hours, but for sure within a few days, of your initial meet.
When you’re connecting with someone after a networking event, make sure to re-introduce yourself, mention where you met, and refer back to something they said during your conversation. Something like, “best of luck with your big project!” or “hope your son has fun at his basketball game” or “congratulations again on your award!” goes a long way to showing you were interested in what they had to say.
Meet in Person
Firing off a quick email to make sure they have your contact info is a good start, but asking for a follow up one-on-one chat is even better to make sure that you stay in touch. Depending on what you’re looking to get out of your new connection, the way you phrase the message will vary.
Here are some examples you could adapt:
- “I really enjoyed our conversation and hoped we could continue it further; would you be free sometime next week for coffee?”
- “I was interested in hearing more on the project you’re assigning work for—would it be possible to meet in the next few days to talk more about it?”
- “I really admire your work, and would love to get your advice on getting started as a freelancer, if you have some time to spare. I’m happy to buy the coffee.”
Don’t forget to include a links to your online platforms so they can see more of your work!
Networking is more than just the initial meeting—it’s an ongoing process of keeping in touch. So perhaps the most important networking tip is to not drop off the radar after you’ve met someone. If you see on LinkedIn that one of your connections got a new job, or had a birthday, reach out to offer your best regards. If you see on Twitter they’ve been nominated for an award, shoot them an email to say congratulations. It’s all about keeping the conversation going.
Now that you know how to network, go forth and flourish! Here’s to successful connection-building.