Networking: interact with other people to exchange information and develop contacts, especially to further one’s career.
Anyone in the professional world can talk about networking and how important it is for a multitude of different reasons. Unfortunately, I think this is an aspect in the cam world that a lot of models overlook, and quite frankly there is no reason for it. Networking is something that you should take advantage of and hone your skills on, no matter what industry you are in. That being said, sometimes in the adult industry it isn’t as simple as throwing a party or going to a mixer for a company that you work for, and passing out business cards. (although, side note: I am a firm believer in a solid business card for yourself, no matter what it is you do as a career.)
So, if you can’t go out for happy hour drinks and network with people that could help further your career at the TGI Fridays down the street or at your company Christmas party, what does networking mean for you as a cam model?
The first and probably most obvious out of all of them is SOCIAL MEDIA. If you’re surprised by that, I don’t know why. It should be pretty obvious that having a strong social media presence, especially in this day and age can make or break your career. No longer do you need an agent to put you in contact with all the right people, and no more of having to work with someone to get to know them and become friends.
The most important thing about social media is that you need to look at it as if it’s your professional portfolio. Every picture, every interaction with a fan, every video should only be your highest quality. IF someone was going to want to work with you, this is what you would present to them. Your profile page is your virtual “business card” so to speak. Not only do you need to always be presenting your best so that you get noticed, you also need to have an easy way to contact you where people can see it. My recommendation is to have your business email in your bio. On every bio. In this day and age all it takes is a quick tweet, DM or like on Instagram for a photographer to want to set up a shoot, or another cam model wanting to set up shows. Start interacting with the type of people that you want to be working with in the future, get to know them, establish a healthy, friendly working relationship…. and I can’t stress the working enough. It’s so important to stay professional in every situation. Networking 101 is you never want to burn a bridge unnecessarily, because even if they aren’t working out the way you wanted them to, you never know when you could use that connection to your advantage in the future. Am I saying to let yourself be taken advantage of? Hell no girl, don’t be crazy. Be a firm business savvy diva if you need to be, but always know to keep it respectful. Respect will take you a long way in people’s eyes and as far as networking goes, reputation is everything.
The second is going to expos and conventions. This one obviously takes more time, effort and money, but is the best and strongest way to network in the more traditional sense. There are multiple conventions that go on through the year but the ones of most prestige and note are: AEE (along with the AVN awards) XBIZ and CamCon. The AEE is the pre-game to the AVN Awards in Vegas. All of the big players are here, including all the talent and most of them have booths where you can walk right up and get more information, make contacts etc.
Xbiz and Camcon take place at the same time in MIami. Xbiz is another big player convention however this one seems to have more emphasis on the behind the scenes industry people. The producers, webmasters, affiliates, site owners… you get the idea. In my humble opinion, this is one of the BEST places to be to network. Building strong relationships with the actual industry workers that aren’t the models can be extremely advantageous, and you never know when you’re going to want to have that connection in your back pocket.
Camcon on the other hand, is definitely geared more towards the cam model. It’s a newer convention that has been running for a couple of years. This is all about the cam model. You can network with each other, set up shows, film content, go to workshops and there is even a fan meet and greet day where your fans can meet you, take pics get autographs. I haven’t been personally, but I hear that have full security detail for the models on that day as well as hair and makeup. OH you fancy, huh?
Now you might be thinking, “I’m a cam model! What is this crazy Bish talking about? Why would I waste my time networking when I can just as easily log onto my big box site, make money and call it a day?” Well.. You can. No one is saying that isn’t a perfectly apt way of camming. However, it’s important to recognize that the way that cam models are treated in the industry is changing. The age of social media and Skype where we can have direct contact with fans and the ability to create our own traffic has started a shift in the way from things once were. Many established veterans in the industry have said that cam models are the future of porn. We are our own future, and by networking within the industry and building strong ties and relationships we can ensure our own success. No longer do we have to stay in the background and hope that the white labels and the cam sites are doing their job with advertising so that we have enough people in our room. The time is now to start treating yourself like the bad ass business woman/man you are and create your own destiny. That starts with networking. Period. So go print up those business cards and get ready to shake hands and kiss some babies.