Networking in the Creative Industry
My first job out of college and my last job before I started my own was at the local Chamber of Commerce. In short, the Chamber of Commerce is a local organization that exists to promote and advocate for the interests of local businesses. However, my title and duties didn’t include a lot of work with actual business owners or business promotion. I was more on the backend of things, make sure the tedious tasks were completed. This is just a pretty way of saying I worked the front desk.
In my short time there, I saw a lot of events planned for businesses and did behind the scenes work for plenty of networking events.
To be honest, I was so glad that I was support staff because just the word “networking” makes me get a little anxious inside. I was relieved to know that I wasn’t required to attend these business networking events. The few that I was required to go to resulted in anxious belly aches for a solid 48 hours prior to the event.
For some reason my family thinks I am dramatic. Makes no sense to me.
Back to networking.
My worst nightmare has always been walking into a room where I know no one and being required to find people to talk to. If I show up early, then there’s no one to talk to (and who likes showing up early, anyways?!). But, if I show up a little late, then anyone who has arrived is already in a huddle or conversation with someone. This is definitely worth something to stress over.
Don’t show up.
Too bad that doesn’t work when you’re required to be there. Well, praise the Lord I am no longer required to attend these events. However, shortly after diving into the creative industry, I quickly became aware how important networking was.
To put it simply: the more people that know about you, the more sales you get. Plain and simple.
So, let’s take a look at what small strategies I implemented in the beginning of my business to kickstart my networking, grow my audience, and find biz besties.
Set a timer and start commenting: I don’t have this luxury and time for this as much as I used to, but in the beginning, I would set aside anywhere from 20-60 minutes to simply connect with others on Instagram. I would scroll and comment and interact with other people. I would always leave encouraging notes and take time to really engage with other people. We are so often asking other people to like and comment on our posts, but how often are we giving back? Take time to just spread your message and kindness.
Hand Lettered Quotes: this trick that I did, will only apply to hand letterers, but it was successful for me! I would message all sort of accounts and ask if she had a favorite quote. I would then hand letter the quote, style the image, snap a photo, share on Instagram, and then mail the print to the person who gave me the quote. This works for a multitude of reasons. First off, it connects me on a deeper level with someone. So, when it comes time to ask for the sale, she is a warm audience. It will most likely result in her either re-posting my photo, or taking a photo herself and sharing about me. She will probably tell her friends about me too. So, that’s a win-win-win!
Reply to stories: take time to watch the Instagram stories of other accounts and create a relationship! Reply and tell her “good job!”. Spread the word about her new product and tell others about her! Give away before you expect anything in return.
Send emails: in the very beginning of my biz, I would send so many emails, just introducing myself to other entrepreneurs and telling her how much I admired her. I didn’t ask for anything in return, I just reached out to start to build a friendship!
Want to take this a step further? Download my FREE Networking Tips for Creative Entrepreneurs:
The tips you will find in this guide will go a bit deeper and expand upon the small things I did to help build my business and find a tribe!
Networking is so important to build a trustworthy business. You want people to talk about you and know who you are. And this all occurs from smart and heartfelt networking!