Recently, I had the pleasure of sitting on a panel entitled “NetworkIN” presented by Cliquish at LinkedIn Chicago alongside some amazing women in the beauty industry including Crystal B. Peters, Brand Manager for Amika, Kelsey Reitz, CEO + Founder of Maëlle Beauty and Shirley Yang, Founder of Muses. The panel detailed ways rising influencers and content creators in the social media space could connect with brands to expand their careers. Here are some key tips I learned and shared at the panel for networking with your peers.
Support the Careers of Your Peers While Building Your Own. “A major part of my career I’ve spent building my brands and focusing on the internal operations to make sure that when I did get that opportunity, I was ready.” You may not notice but your go-getter friends are just as ambitious as you are. They are climbing the corporate ranks, accelerating their networks and building their own brands, too. As a rising entrepreneur early on, I made it a point to keep in touch and support the careers of my peers – all the while building and growing my own businesses. When they landed new job opportunities, the first person they referred to their organizations was me because they trusted and believed in my work. Peer collaborations and referrals have been a crucial part of my business success and is a viable strategy to grow your business.
Work with the Brands of Your Peers First to Gain Experience. If you want a brand partnership, typically brands want to see that you’ve worked with other brands before. If you haven’t already, partnering with your friend who just started their new business would be beneficial to landing that gig with a larger brand in the future. Brands are all around us and you can start right now, where you are with the resources you have available to you. It’s much better to gain an understanding of how brand partnerships work when the stakes are not as high. You have one shot with large brands to deliver results. Practice with your peers.
Other General Networking Tips for LinkedIn:
Be Sure Your Social Media Profiles Reflect the Job Opportunities You Are Pursuing. Particularly on LinkedIn, it’s really imperative for your profile to reflect your experience that correlates to the opportunities you desire. This goes back to my previous tip on working with the new brands created by your peers. If you do not have the experience right now, work with brands you already have access to and include portfolio links in the “Experience” section of your profile.
Build a Niche and Aligns That Aligns With the Core of Who You Are. These days, brands are looking to work with influencers with high engagement (vs. high followers). Quality over quantity is the now formula for higher sales conversions for consumer brands. When building your niche to stand out amongst the crowd, identify specific interests that fit only you and your personality. If you are an athlete who is a foodie and also a mom – well one thing is for sure – there are probably not many influencers in the athletic/mom/foodie lane. Don’t be afraid to hone in on what makes you different – this is what will differentiate you and grow your tribe of like-minds organically.