Networking, in its simplest form, is relationship building with potential guests, existing clients, and other professionals. As part of the professional beauty industry, networking is one of the best ways to build your reputation, develop relationships, and grow your career.
There are many avenues to develop professional connections with others. While some may be formal, some can be rather informal and carried out in your everyday routine. For instance, chatting with your guests while you are providing exceptional service can be considered networking. What matters is that you learn to make the most of the opportunities that you have while also being open and available for new ways to connect.
Here are a few essential tips to keep in mind to give your networking efforts a boost:
Look the Part
Since the beauty industry is one that relies heavily on visuals and aesthetics, it is essential that you always present yourself professionally. This is a basic requirement for effective networking and a non-negotiable for a fashion-forward expert.
This doesn’t necessarily mean traditional. Developing your signature style, something that differentiates you, represents your professionalism, and supports your brand can be helpful as you establish yourself.
A pleasant attitude and a smiling face matter. Any person you meet could provide the boost you need to broaden your clientele or take your career to the next level. Always be ready and put your best foot forward.
Business Cards, Anyone?
Despite the technology-driven world we live in today, simple paper business cards have not lost their significance. They’re still one of the best and most effective marketing pieces. Hand out business cards to every client as well as new people you meet. Give them to your friends and family members and ask that they help spread the word of the amazing work that you do.
There are great online resources to get really gorgeous cards printed for a small investment. Make sure your business card clearly displays your name, role, contact information, social media, etc. to make you easy to find. Check and double check spelling and design features before placing your order, maybe even recruiting your most “detailed-obsessed” friend to give you a second opinion.
Make it Personal & Memorable
Networking includes personalizing an experience or a conversation so that it’s memorable. For instance, if you are talking to your client or a new professional connection about an upcoming interview they have, make sure to write a good luck message on your card before you hand it out to them or even set yourself a reminder and send them a quick text of encouragement the day before their meeting. These are easy ways to personalize an experience, show you care, and stand out. People react to people.
Leverage Social Media
Don’t underestimate the power of social media. Make sure you are active on popular platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. While the first three are great for sharing photos of your work, gaining followers which convert to clientele, or for promoting special services you’re offering, LinkedIn is more ideal for professional networking. Here, you can connect to many different people in the beauty industry. Also, check out Meetups in your local area as there are often those exclusively for hair stylists.
Maybe you want to join a regional or national professional beauty association? Perhaps you could volunteer to help with hair and makeup for local theater productions? What about teaming up with a local boutique to style models for a new collection? These are all ways to meet new people and grow.
Creativity is your gift, so channel that talent into brainstorming unique opportunities to get out, get involved, and build your brand. Happy networking!