While reading the Internets, I came across the article “Six Ways to Look Unprofessional as a Photographer” over at PhotographyTalk.com. Although the author is writing about photographers, the points raised, especially #2 and #5, can apply to almost anyone who’s interested in networking with others.
Point #2 talks about not having business cards. If you’re serious about being in business, it makes sense that you’d always (or at least usually) be prepared to do business or promote your business. I admit there have been times when I’d be talking to people about my photography and have someone ask “oh, do you have a card?”
“Um, Oh… **patting pants and shirt pockets** … I don’t think I have one on me [but I have a ton at home on the dresser]”…
I know it looks bad to ask someone to find some scratch paper to write down my number for “professional” reasons. So, if I don’t have a card, I don’t bother exchanging info and probably end up missing out on working with some cool people.
Point #5 discusses the need for a website or social media presence. I think this is especially true for businesses. Many folks are on the Internet, and many of these folks use the Internet to learn whether or not they want to patronage certain businesses. I know I do, at least. I like being able to inform myself about a company before engaging them.
And if they DO have a site, I look at how it’s designed.
My “Business Website Judging Scale”: if a business has NO website, that’s bad. If a business has a website, but it looks like trash, that’s worse.
About social media: I know it isn’t for everyone. It requires effort and attention to maintain one or more social media accounts. BUT, if you can, you should have at least one social media account. If for no other reason, it’ll keep people from thinking you’re extra weird.