I want to share this exchange* with all of the folks who just moved, are about to move or who are looking to do more and meet more people in advertising.
Q: I recently left working in the music industry to start in media and I would love to pick your brain about how to go about creating and cultivating the relationships.
Here's what works for me:
1. Networking online -
* Beef up your LinkedIn profile and connections. Advertising is very much and who knows who business, so it helps to quickly and easily show your professional associations online. (Remember to only connect with people you know and send a note with your request if there's even a 30% chance they may not remember you.)
* Join LinkedIn groups. There are so many for advertising, media, NY media and just about anything you can think of. Join a group or two, follow the conversations, see what events are posted and go to those.
* Utilise your social networks. Personally, I try to keep Facebook for friends only, but that's up to you. Be sure to like agencies' pages so you can see what's going on with them. and who you follow on Twitter. Twitter is a quick, non-invasive and less threatening environment to start conversations with strangers and people you may not usually have access to.
Oh, and follow, like and add agency pages on Twitter, Facebook - this will help you find out about events and such.
2. Networking offline -
* Invite an industry friend or coworker. Don't invite your best friend because you two will spend more time talking to each other and not meeting new people. If you take someone who you have a looser connection with, you'll be able to get to know them better, meet people who they know, and have someone to talk to so you don't look like a loser in the corner.
* Challenge yourself to meet 3 new people every time you go out. Don't go on an introduction spree or business-card-collecting rampage. Focus on quality not quantity. Find a few people and get to know them better. Chances are you'll see them out at another event, and chances are, if they liked you from your initial conversation they'll introduce you to more people - and invite you to more events.
3. Get involved -
* Volunteer. Find an event organiser or organisation leader tell them you're interested - something like "Hey, let me know if I can help with anything. The next event or whatever you need. I'd really like to get more involved with XYZ." I'm 99.55% sure they won't say "No thanks, we don't ever need help with anything. Get lost."
Check with your agency and see what internal and external things they're involved with and help out however you can.
* Become a member. Join an organisation or two and get on their email lists, etc. I promise you'll meet more people and become more invested in the industry on a whole.
* Ask people out. Let them know you'd love to keep in touch, email to feel out the post-event connection, then ask them out for coffee/drinks. If you're still not sure it's time for a one-on-one session, invite them to an event you're going to. (See the 2b above)
4. Be nice.
This is pretty self-explanatory. Just don't be an asshole.
It's not a science or anything, do what works best for you, your personality and your lifestyle.
For outside of work stuff, Here is TimeOut's list of 50 ways to make friend in NY