Many of the posts on this (young) blog have discussed the benefits of social networking, and I have urged you and your fashion companies to harness the power of the web, be a gatejumper and connect with your customer.
As you begin 2010, hopefully with your strategic plan in hand, please don't forget about good, old-fashion networking - the in-person kind.
Social networking via twitter, facebook, blogging to name a few, can be more fun and is certainly less intimidating to some; but last week, John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing reminded us, busy does not equal business:
"The problem with social media usage is it can keep you really, really busy, without producing a dime of business . . .this is a post for all those folks that are hiding behind the monitor tweeting away when they really should be out shaking hands, making sales presentations, and attending networking events."
For example, there are many things a designer, fashion industry executive or budding fashionista could do to mingle IN PERSON with like-minded professionals:
- Attend a fashion show, trade show, or exhibit;
- Attend a Fashion Group International event (full disclosure, I am in the current Regional Director for Los Angeles);
- Go to a workshop or seminar on a topic that interests you; or
- At least have dinner or drinks with your colleagues or co-workers.
The point is to get out; step out from behind your computers and interact with someone. Building trust and lasting relationships is the key to business development, and usually doesn't occur after one online-exchange.
In sum, use social media to raise brand awareness, start a conversation and engage with your customer. Then, take those connections, followers and friends and turn them into compatriots.