The First Step to Building Your Online Social Network

Social Network Being a part of a network is an important part of brand building. When you're just starting out and trying to develop your online presence, it may seem daunting. You may not have very many followers, not sure who to talk to or even what to say.

The first step is to identify which brands and people that you want in your network. Whether it's for inspiration, business or to learn, these relationships will be both directly and indirectly related to your growing your company.

Here are a few suggestions on that type of categories to connect with online:

The Industry - Being a smart, well-informed entrepreneur requires you to know what's going on in the fashion industry and in business. Women's Wear Daily, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and the Business of Fashion will keep you in the know.

Press and Editors - These are the magazines and news outlets that you can learn from and also want to be in. In addition to the company, be sure to identify editors and personalities to follow.

Retailers - Connect with retailers that you want to be in and also admire for their innovative efforts, visual imagery and cool products.

Motivators - Think about the names of the people that get you excited about being and entrepreneur and life. Whether it's their inspirational quotes, tweets that put in all perspective or articles that offer advice on being a business owner, having that online support will help make your pursuits easier. Richard Branson is just one person that does it well.

Pop Culture -  Making sure your brand is relevant in pop culture is important because it allows you to connect with your consumer.  Lifestyle magazines and entertainment outlets give you information on celebrities and what's hot right now. These types of outlets include People, TMZ and E! Online.

Technology Sties -  Technology coming to market at a rapid pace is here to stay. And, it is those advances that will help inspire and be tools to stay efficient and grow brands. Sites like Mashable, PSFK and Fast Company do a great job at sharing this type of news. 

Local Resources - Tapping into your local community is important because it's one network where you can get support and recognition. "Go local", support small businesses and "made in" campaigns are increasing in popularity and another reason why you should connect.

Your New Contacts - Hopefully you've been to a Meetup, networking event or seminar lately because it is key in growing your network. Find the people that you've met and connect with them online.

After identifying your list, follow these brands and people on social platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. You can also sign up for their newsletter so you don't miss out. And, what's important to realize is that it's not about numbers. Don't worry about the ratio of followers to those following. That will come with authentic content and engagement that you consistently deliver to your network.

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