Networking for Videographers
There are many reasons you may have chosen a career in video production, but the one thing we all have in common is our need to earn a living. While you may love your job, and filmmaking is your passion, we all have bills to pay, and the life of a freelance videographer can be a varied one.
Networking is an essential part of any videographers tool kit and should be considered carefully. Fortunately for you, we have broken down the main five types of Film & TV networking that you can attend, along with some tops tips for how to build relationships with potential clients.
Understanding the types of Networking for Videographers
There are lots of different types of networking for videographers, while it all might boil down to people talking in a room, each has its pros and cons.
You may find it challenging to know what type of networking is best for your business, but more often than not, the choice of networking type will be more about the networker than what they’re pitching.
Even if you suffer anxiety in social situations such as networking, there will be a type that works for you.
Firstly it is vital to mention that free networking doesn’t necessarily mean that it has no cost attached to it – some meetings will require you to purchase a ticket, and even if entry is free, you will likely spend something on refreshments.
Free networking is named as such because there is no particular structure to the event; anyone can attend, and there is no schedule or itinerary for the meeting. Instead, free networking consists of a lot of business professionals going to a bar/pub/club and talking with anyone that they find interesting.
A considerable advantage of free networking for videographers is that they are generally very cost effective, especially if you keep an eye on how much you drink, but it can be difficult to make personal connections.
As everyone is there to find new clients, there can be a lot of selling in the room without much buying. free networking is an excellent place for beginners to fine-tune their pitches, and get an introduction to business networking.
There are many paid business groups such as the IoD (Institue of Directors) and FSB (Federation of Small Businesses) that offer networking functions alongside the other benefits and services they offer.
A lot of Film & TV Membership Networks also have an online platform where you can connect with other members, view their profile, website and social links, and communicate with them publicly or privately.
These platforms can be beneficial, as they allow you to research and connect with potential clients before attending a meeting, which can aid with boosting your confidence when approaching them.
Referral networking is the most structured form of all the networking options and does not suit everyone. Companies like BNI or The Business Referral Exchange will provide its members with a regular set meeting which will follow the same itinerary each week.
The meeting format will change from group to group, but will generally consist of a 60-second pitch from each member, a more extended presentation from the member of the week and a specified ‘Referral Exchange.’
Referral networking works on the basis that everyone in the group actively seeks referrals from their contacts for other members of the group. Most referral Film & TV networking groups offer exclusivity – meaning if you join, you will be the only videographer in your group.
Group sizes can vary considerably, but more people doesn’t necessarily mean more leads. For referral networking to work for you, you will need to put time and energy into getting to know the other members of your group, and bringing them leads.
If you choose this route, make sure you visit your proposed group before signing up to anything – referral networking can be expensive, so it is vital to know the group your choice will work for you.
Digital Networking is something every videographer should be doing, it is 100% free, and you don’t even need to leave your house. Linkedin and Facebook can be great tools for finding people who need your services, but it takes time and an abundance of patience.
You need to make sure you have a Facebook page set up to deal with business enquiries, that will direct visitors to your website or other contact information. Join various business groups that suit your target market and location and introduce yourself to the group.
Share helpful information and participate in other peoples social posts, be respectful, helpful and above all active.
Another place no freelance videographer should be without is shootingpeople.org. Not only is there a wealth of great information, Film & TV jobs to apply for on independent productions, but the online community truly is fantastic. Active, supportive, and bursting with like-minded videographers; its importance in finding work shouldn’t be underestimated.
In recent years, more and more freelance videographers choose to hotdesk through various office memberships not only for the available work space, but for the networking opportunities that come from spending their days working alongside other small businesses and entrepreneurs.
Office space and hotdesking is costly and might be something that you don’t need; it isn’t something I’ve had much experience with first hand. However, if you do decide to look at Coworking spaces as an option, it is certainly worth considering the other businesses in the building as well as the mixers the office runs for its members when it comes to making your decision.
Top 5 tips for Networking Videographers
Now you know the different types of Film & TV Networking Events, let’s look at some top tips for making those connections.
1. It goes without saying that a little kindness goes a long way. Be polite and approachable; you’ll inevitably encounter people who might not be your cup of tea, but you should remain professional at all times.
2. You may think that getting around everyone in the room will give you the best chance at booking work – you would be wrong. People don’t just want to get your business card stuffed in their hand as you hurriedly say something about video – take your time, chat to people, learn about their businesses, answer their questions – be interested in what they’re doing.
3. Don’t just cut a conversation short as soon as you find out they don’t need or want your services – they might know someone who does, or need them down the line. Likewise, if you know someone in your personal network that might need someone else’s services, make sure you connect them. People tend to remember helpful people.
4. Use your Film & TV networking events to take images, video clips or write a blog that can be shared on your social platforms. This will help with your digital networking.
5. One of the biggest things people forget to do is to follow up. After the event, add everyone you met as a contact on Linkedin – personalise the message to let them know when you met them. Email any leads you found at the event, request a follow-up meeting or call so you can get to know their needs more.
So that’s it; 5 types of networking for videographers you can do to find yourself clients, and 5 top tips you can use to improve your networking game. Now get out there and make some new connections. For even more insightful rundown of some networking dos and don’ts, check out this helpful article.