Network Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself
I was racking my brain, trying to decide what I should write about on my blog today and then I remembered a conversation that I had with my sister on the phone last night.
First, meet my sister (on the right.) Not only is she one of the funniest people I know in real life, she is also a damn good writer.
Though she currently has a day job, she has recently expressed how she wants to get serious about writing her book. She already has already written a big chunk of the book and is hoping to start networking at writers' workshops in the Atlanta area very soon. Being the PR visionary I am, I started spouting off a list of things she should do before she embark on her networking journey.
While networking is essential in any industry, it's not enough to just show up at a mixer and shake everyone's hand in the room. You have to give people a way to look you up once the networking event is over. How do you do that? Hand out a business card with your social media handle on it. If you don't have any made yet, you better get good at collecting cards like a boss. Once you have someone's business card, ask if they have a Twitter. If they say yes, make sure to jot down their handle on the back of the card and follow them on Twitter later.
Promise me this. Before you spend money and time schlepping to networking events, make sure you do the following:
1. Own Internet Real Estate
You don't have to spend thousands of dollars on a website or spend hours writing witty blog posts. You don't even need to be on every social media outlet out there. Choose one social network that makes sense for your industry and join! In this case, I recommended that my sister get a Twitter.
2. Choose your handle/username wisely
In my sister's case, she is going to release a book under her given name. I advised her to pick a handle that is closely associated with her "brand" (aka her name.) If your real name is already taken, think of something that represents you or your likes/dislikes. Always make sure your handle can be linked back to your brand name.
3. Follow every comedian, writer, personality, that you think is funny or that you admire.
Don't worry about gaining followers just yet. Focus on following others, learning what works/doesn't work in the Twitter community, and contributing.
Aim to tweet 2-3 times a day. Use hashtags. Be yourself (assuming yourself is hilariously charming, funny or intelligent.) If you aren't any of those things consider hiring a social media ghost writer, someone who can develop a voice for your brand and help your brand create a loyal, niche following.
Once you start building a following, you will gain more clout in your industry and eventually become a thought leader. Trying to get a book published as a thought leader is a whole lot easier than trying as a big, old nobody. YOU ARE A SOMEBODY AND YOU DESERVE TO BE NOTICED!
Want more networking advice? Get in touch with me on the following networks or drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.