How To Use LinkedIn to Build Your Network In The Fashion Industry
If you aren’t already on LinkedIn you should be. LinkedIn is by far the most powerful tool you can use to advance your fashion career and market your skills. That’s because first impressions have gone digital: people are learning about you online before they ever meet you in person. LinkedIn is the number one resource companies use to find hot new fashion talent these days. It is also the second place people go to research you before they reach out to you to connect. (The first place being Google!) Here I am going to show you how to use LinkedIn to network in the fashion industry.
We couldn’t possibly include everything you need to know about networking in the fashion industry in this one article. So, I created a 5 part Fashionable Networking Blog Series. To read the entire series and get valuable insight go to the bottom of this page to see all the links. I’ve even thrown in a FREE 6-Day Networking email course to get you started!
LinkedIn Has An Advantage
LinkedIn has a huge advantage over other social media like Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat, etc. It is exclusively for professionals. You can only connect with someone whom you have actually done business with or have somehow known personally before.
It is a living breathing example of your body of work. It has your personal bio. It has (hopefully) an up to date resume. More importantly, this is where your friends, coworkers, and clients can vouch for you and your work. They can write you recommendations. You can also post examples of your work and projects you worked on. It is a silent promoter. It can work for you 24/7 without you having to put much effort into it.
How To Make New Connections Using LinkedIn
Now, you might be thinking, “How can I connect with someone that I don’t know?” That is exactly what I am going to teach you how to do now. Follow these 5 steps to begin to reach out and make new connections, maximize the likely hood of a response, and build your network on linkedIn.
1) Become A High-Level Social Networker
Before you start to reach out to network you need to first make yourself
an attractive person worth connecting with. To do this you need to become what is known as a high-level Social Networker (HLSN). This means you have a complete and updated profile. You are actively engaged online.
When you start to seek out new connections you need to target the same types of people. Some examples of HLONs you will want to connect with would be recruiters, hiring managers, potential collaboration partners, fashion influencers, bloggers, other industry professionals, and the media.
2) Always Send A Personal Note
When you are reaching out to connect with someone on LinkedIn for the first time your first impression is the invitation to connect. Do not use the generic connection request that LinkedIn provides that says, “Hi. I would like to connect with you.” This is extremely impersonal and will likely get your request in the trash folder.
This is your opportunity to intrigue the person. Tell them a little bit about yourself and explain why you want to connect.
3) Ask For An Introduction
Because LinkedIn does not allow you to send a connection request to just anyone you will need to start with the people you do know. Once you are connected with the people you already know LinkedIn will show you who your direct connections are also linked to. You are allowed to send a connection request to anyone that is within your 2nd circle of influence. This means the person has to be directly connected to one of your direct connections. They will have a little “2nd” next to their picture. If a person is within your 3rd circle of influence you will not be able to connect with them. At this point, you will need to ask your direct connection to make an introduction for you.
4) Join Groups
As previously mentioned, LinkedIn does not allow you to send a connection request to anyone you do not personally know. That means you have to have worked with them in some capacity before. However, there is a workaround! You can join LinkedIn groups. These are similar to Facebook groups. Here you will find other industry professionals whom you already share a common interest. LinkedIn does allow you to communicate and send connection requests to people you are connected with via these groups.
Another advantage of joining LinkedIn groups is they help you target your search for the types of people you want to connect with. You can find wearable tech groups, denim or sweater groups, etc. These groups can often have hundreds if not thousands of people whom you already share a common interest it. This should make it easier for you to find common ground and connect with them.
The KEY to taking full advantage of any network is ENGAGEMENT. The more you engage with your connection on LinkedIn and in the groups, the stronger your relationships will be with these people. LinkedIn notifies you when your connections change jobs or are celebrating a work anniversary. Take the time to send a heartfelt note congratulating them. This will be noticed and appreciated. Comment on articles people publish or post articles yourself. Share articles with your connections if you know the topic is something they might find interesting.
Fashionable Networking Blog Series
This article is part of a 5 part Fashionable Networking Blog Series. Learn from the pros how to connect with industry professionals the right way in order to grow your network and build your career or business in the fashion industry. Read the entire series here:
- 5 Reasons You Need To Build Your Network In The Fashion Industry
- 6 Ways To Network In The Fashion Industry Like A Pro
- 5 Best Ways To Silently Self Promote In The Fashion Industry
- How To Use LinkedIn to Network In The Fashion Industry
- How To Use Social Media To Build Their Network