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why online networking matters

Why Online Networking Matters

Kirk Harris currently serves as president of Atlanta-based Kaptain Kirk Clothing Co. Harris’ love of apparel began with retail in the late '90s and in 2006 he founded his first clothing line. In 2012 his journey led him to apparel decoration and in 2014 he settled into his current position. He can be reached by email at KaptainKirkcc@yahoo.com, by phone at 404-396-7171, or linkedin.com/in/KaptainKirk. Visit his website, KaptainKirkClothingCo.com.

As stated by Investopedia, “networking is the exchange of information and ideas among people with a common profession or special interest, and is usually in an informal social setting.” Networking begins with common ground between parties and is used to expand one’s sphere of influence, increase knowledge, and broaden one’s scope and amount of opportunities. While these attributes are essential to us as apparel decorators, the main reason we need to network is to develop relationships with people and companies we may be able to do business with currently or in the future.

In today’s climate, our livelihood as it stands could be challenged. The purpose of this article is to provide suggestions on how you can keep inching your business in a positive direction, even in light of recent state affairs.

Networking today is easily accomplished online. One of the main caveats to this is that more people will be online, accessible and engaging. As far as networking is concerned, time and accessibility are keys. This combination of opportunities is perfect for everyone who decides to take advantage of them. They will put you in a position to capitalize on professional and social networking platforms, engage with online groups (particularly those that interest you or fit your target market), post blogs, create newsletters, etc.

Networking online offers you access to billions of people, educational points, access to current happenings in our industry, and develop ideas. It can provide opportunities to meet future employees, position you to make a variety of connections and catch up on relevant news.

Networking online is a cost-effective way to meet new people, establish rapport, and build trust in your desired communities without having to leave home. The fact that more people will be entertaining themselves online in the coming future will only provide more opportunities.

Online platforms like Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, and WeChat currently hold top billing positions in the world of online connecting. Still, you also have platforms such as Snapchat, Pinterest, Line, Telegram, and Medium at your disposal. Opportunities to network also exist in areas like alumni groups, religious organizations, and private clubs/associations.

Taking advantage of networking via the internet allows you to demonstrate your skills, connect with like-minded people, and find businesses all over the world that would benefit from meeting you.

One additional benefit to online networking is it levels the playing field for those who are more introverted and less comfortable socially.

Lastly, here are a few ways to get started. Join online communities. Engage others by commenting, liking, sharing, and responding to their posts. Make recommendations, give referrals (carefully), and introduce yourself. Participate in different groups and on various platforms, connect with other businesses and communities, and invite everyone to join you. 

Keep in mind, although this undertaking might appear easy, the internet is a hectic place, so get loud, get seen, get heard, and get remembered.