“It’s all about who you know and your connections.”
It’s not unusual to hear this phrase roll off the lips of PR gurus and strategists. If you take stock of how successful companies started out, there’s bound to be a mention of a “friend of a friend”, a former colleague or someone the owners knew who took notice and offered help when they were just starting out.
Networking in the fashion industry has evolved through the decades. But even though some conventional methods, such as carrying business cards, wearing your own creations, appointing a brand ambassador or image model, and calling for press conferences, remain relevant and effective in this digital age, rapid developments in society and business call for equally dynamic and more aggressive solutions.
If you talk about your brand without sounding like you’re making an obvious sales pitch to virtually anyone, consider yourself a networking fiend. If you live, breathe, and eat fashion and believe in what you are doing, your passion will surface naturally in your speech and in the way you conduct yourself. And potential contacts and clients wouldn’t be able to help themselves but lend you and ear and even their patronage and recommendations.
Take guidance from a fashion veteran with an illustrious track record of achievements and connections. Under this kind of tutelage, you’ll not only upgrade your skills and streamline your operations, but also get to be introduced to power players in the industry who have previously remained out of your reach. These people will be more open to investing in your business or working with you when they know you’re associated with someone they respect.
Social Media Savvy
The rise of fashion bloggers has encouraged many in the fashion industry to turn to social media and digital channels to boost presence, image, and generate more interest in an effort to convert it into purchases. However, be careful not to use these channels to obsessively stalk contacts or members of the media or criticize certain detractors/competitors to the point of defamation.
Remember that using LinkedIn and Facebook as your “digital business card” or portfolio is not just a great way to expand your network. It also helps you stay in the loop with regards to your contacts’ latest projects and activities, which may bring great business opportunities your way.
As you confidently promote your brand, flourish under a mentor’s guidance, and make the most of what social media has to offer, fine tune your networking strategy by assessing which specific moves work and which don’t to make sure your efforts translate into tangible returns.