Networking For Introverts

Networking for introverts: a 3 step guide to help introverts make networking more comfortable and less awkward.

True life: I am not a big fan of traditional networking. I’m introverted and generally overwhelmed by new social situations – especially with large groups of people that I don’t really know. I used to dread going to events but personally, I don’t think that networking is optional if you’re trying to grow a business. So like it or not, I’ve developed a system for networking that makes it WAYYY easier for me to feel comfortable connecting with new people!

So figure out why you want to network in the first place. Are you trying to find potential clients? People you want to collaborate with? Influencers in your industry? All of the above? Great! Make a list of these people because you’ll want to keep track of them. (pssst: you can also get my template at the end of this post!)

Step 1: Step Up Your Social

  • FACT: Connecting with people on social media is less scary than in real life. Also, a lot of other introverts are on social media and they want to connect with you as much as you want to connect with them! Someone just has to take the first step…
  • Assuming you’ve identified some of the people you’d like to connect with, start following them on social media. For my businesses, I find that instagram and twitter are the 2 platforms that are easiest to connect with people in my target audience, but it could be that your potential clients are on other networks.
  • Once you’ve figured out what networks they are active on, ENGAGE with them! On instagram, engaging with people means liking their photos, leaving thoughtful comments (not mindless “love this!” or spammy “follow me!” comments – genuine comments that show you are actually interested in the content they are posting). On twitter, linking to other people’s content (if they have a blog or website) or sharing their tweets using the “quote” option with a related comment are easy, non-scary ways to start interacting. Pick one or two networks that you are really going to be active on and be consistent.
  • PRO TIP: Optimize your social profiles to appeal to your target audience. If you are effectively interacting with new people, they will want to check out you out! Make sure your bio clearly states who you are, what you do, and why they should follow you!

Step 2: Connect In Person

  • FACT: It is easier to introduce yourself to a person in real life if you have already “met” them on social media.
  • Let’s pretend you are attending an event and some of the people you have been connecting with on social will be there. For most introverts, the hardest part is actually walking up to someone and saying hello, so try to change your mindset and think about the encounter not as “meeting someone for the first time,” but as “continuing the conversation you already started.”
  • Lead with a simple introduction followed by a genuine compliment of their work. For example, recently I ran into the founder of a website that I admire at a yappy hour event (yes #yappyhour, it’s a crazy dog people thing) and simply opened with – “Hi Suzanne, I’m Elle from Bitches’ Guide NYC, and I really loved that video interview you did with Joe Zee and his dogs!” (Seriously I love Joe Zee and puppies so the video was so fun to watch!) Even if they don’t recognize you or remember that you’ve interacted with them before (not everyone will, and that’s ok!), a flattering comment will set the tone and is an easy segue into further conversation!
  • If you’re anxious about going to an event alone, ask a more extroverted friend to come along as your wingman/woman!
  • PRO TIP: Before an event, think of three topics you can chat about with anyone that you aren’t “prepared” to talk to – 1 personal (gone on any trips lately?), 1 professional (any fun projects in the works?), and 1 topical (what brings you to the event?).

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5 Ways To Attract More Instagram Followers

5 ways to grow your instagram following: tips for improving your instagram feed to attract more followers. Implementing small changes can make a HUGE difference getting potential clients to follow you!

Let’s be real – first impressions are important.

I may not judge books by their covers (because what covers? I read on my iPad), but if I’m stalking browsing on instagram, you have less than 5 seconds to get my attention and convince me to click that follow button. If you’re using instagram for your business, your instagram profile is basically like tinder for potential clients. If people aren’t immediately attracted to you, they’re going to swipe left and move on. (Not on tinder? Me neither. I’ve known my husband since we were 18!) What you say in your bio definitely counts, but the first 9 photos people see matter more! It doesn’t matter how awesome your product / service / inner spirit is –  #sorrynotsorry – if your feed doesn’t look good, you aren’t going to attract as many followers.

So do yourself a favor and give people a reason to follow you. A few ways to do just that…

DEFINE YOUR VIBE:

You’ve probably heard, your vibe attracts your tribe. Think about what you want to be known for. How do you want people to feel when they scroll through your feed? The photos you share are representative of your brand and should tell your story.  I like to think my feed looks polished, luxurious, and feminine . When I’m choosing which photos to post on instagram, I always have those words in the back of my mind. Even though your business/brand may have a narrow focus, you should vary your content so you’re not posting photos of the exact same thing every day. I know most of my current followers like photos of makeup the most (they consistently get 200%+ more likes than other subjects), but I also realize that new followers may want to see more of my life. I have a list of a few other subjects (photos of NYC, fresh flowers, accessories, my dog, and myself) that I try to share in between makeup photos to keep things more interesting, but still stay true to my vibe.

Even though instagram is a highly visual platform, captions are important too! Your voice is part of your vibe, and the way that you speak to your audience is an essential part of your brand. I used to be really bad at coming up with captions, but a couple of months ago I stated to put more thought into my captions and my engagement (average likes / average comments per photo) has more than doubled! It helps me to think of a particular key word or phrase for each photo and use that to guide that caption. Sometimes the key word literally references the photo I’m sharing, but other times it’s unrelated and I’m just sharing how I feel at that moment. Ask yourself what message you are trying to convey to your followers. Are you inspiring them? Educating them? Whatever it is – make sure your voice comes through in your captions!

Instagram checklist - free checklist of the 8 things you should be doing for every Instagram post

SHARE HIGH QUALITY IMAGES:

This should go without saying, but I’m saying it anyway. TAKE GOOD PHOTOS. You don’t have to have a really nice camera – I use my iPhone for 90% of my photos and I think they turn out pretty well with a bit of editing. Pay attention to lighting and focus. No one wants to see dark, grainy, or out of focus pictures. I am by no means a pro when it comes to photography, but I try to take all of my photos in natural light and yes, sometimes it takes 50 tries to take a really great photo. #truelife

BE CONSISTENT:

Choose a color palette that reflects your brand and try to make sure that the majority of your photos include those colors. For example, Melyssa of @thenectarcollective consistently uses her bright pink/aqua/yellow brand colors and her feed has an obviously happy, artistic and positive vibe:

The Nectar Collective instagram @thenectarcollective

 

One of my favorite skincare brands, @grownalchemist, has a completely different vibe with a high contrast, monochromatic feed that complements their sleek, minimalist design:

 

Grown Alchemist instagram, @grownalchemist, monochromatic branding

 

If you are using filters, stick to 1-2 and ignore the rest. If you are tempted to use lots of different filters, you can actually hide them from yourself (when you are in the app choosing filters, scroll all the way to the right until you see the “manage” button – click through and you can un-check all of the filters you don’t use and so they will no longer show up as options).

When it comes to photo shape and orientation, don’t change things up all the time. It looks messy. Messy is bad. I stick to square photos, but choose what works for you! My husband shares horizontal photos with white borders, and I also like the way that Trends on Trends alternates between horizontal and vertical photos but maintains a consistent pattern.

CREATE A PATTERN:

Speaking of patterns, using intentional repetition is another great technique to make your instagram feed stand out! I love the way that @chloedigital alternates between images with text and other lifestyle photos so her feed is the perfect blend of education and inspiration:

Chloe Digital instagram, @chloedigital

And @kidfuture_ (who does brand marketing for Nike, excellently), used to post a pair of sneakers every third photo to create patterns like this – so cool!

KidFutureInstagram

 

Personally, I plan my feed out so that every other image I post has a light grey marble background. This helps to maintain a luxurious vibe as well as keep my feed from feeling too cluttered!

MAKE IT PERSONAL:

Last but not least, make something about your feed uniquely you. Maybe it’s actually photos of YOU or maybe it’s the type of photos you are taking or an interesting twist on a particular subject. One of our puppy friends @kokistateofmind takes a photo with the Empire State Building in the background every night, usually in a coordinating outfit. So cute. Even though I can literally look out my bedroom window at the ESB every night, I look forward to seeing his photo and learning what color the lights are. I also love the way that @LaurenElizHook of Elle & Company incorporates her design work into her feed, but she does it in a way that fits with her overall brand aesthetic. Figure out how to do YOU, and do it. What other tips do you have for making your instagram feed more attractive? Share them in the comments!

Not sure what you should be posting on Instagram?

 

Instagram checklist - free checklist of the 8 things you should be doing for every Instagram post

Lessons Learned From 6 Years Of Blogging

Tips for building a profitable blog: lessons I learned from over 6 years of blogging

 

The other day I realized that I have been blogging for over 6 years – which is longer than I’ve done most things in my adult life! I could share mushy details on what I’ve learned about myself from blogging but 1) I’m not really that kind of person and 2) who cares really cares?? I will, however, share a few things that I’ve learned along the way that are actually useful if you are trying to build a profitable blog or business online.

If you don’t put yourself out there, no one will care

That idea that “if you build it, they will come” – yeah, that’s not a thing anymore (if it ever was). The internet is saturated with millions of people blogging / creating / selling the same things so if you are not investing time in marketing strategies to get people to come to you, they won’t. That’s the truth. But not to worry, there are dozens of ways to do this which we can totally chat about, or you can hire me :)

Community building is a thing, and its awesome

Speaking of marketing strategies, building a community is one of them. And by community I mean a a tribe of “internet friends” who know, like, and trust you – and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend your blog / products / services to other people they know. Like 30 of my instagram followers are people I’m friends with from “real life” and the rest of the 3.3k+ are people who I’ve never met. Yet dozens of them trust me enough to splurge on a $80 highlighting powder that they saw ONE photo of – because we have enough of a relationship that they know when I rave about something, it’s worth buying. BTW – that highlighter is REALLY worth buying.

Curating is fine, but creating is more fulfilling (and more profitable)

I would venture to say that most blog share things like what you wore / did / ate today. Totally cool. But if you are running a blog as a business, creating SOMETHING is key. Yes, you can earn money using affiliate links or sidebar ads. But if all you are doing is curating other people’s work, then all you are doing is driving revenue for other people. Think about that.

Figure out how to make your site look good

Hire a designer. Learn to code. Hire a photographer. Learn how to use a DSLR. Learn how to edit your photos. Invest in high quality stock photos. Or all of the above. There are infinite resources for making your blog look good, no matter what your budget is. There is no reason your blog should be ugly. I’m going to repeat that, there is no reason your blog should be ugly. 

Do more of what works, and less of what doesn’t

I am a data / analytics nerd. At any given time I have 3 tabs open in chrome tracking anything from traffic stats to social engagement to eCommerce conversions. If you are trying to build a profitable blog or business online, you need to be paying attention. What posts are getting the most traffic? What topics have the most interaction from your audience? What incentives drive the most email subscribers? Spend your time doing more of the things that work.

I could get REAL deep on any of these lessons, but for now I want to hear from you. If you’re a blogger, what do you wish you had known before you started? And if you’re still figuring things out, what’s the one thing you want to know more about?

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