Research, planning and development stages are the key to success
Whether you like it or not, your online presence (or lack of) is the main resource for people to establish a first impression about you. In 2009, CareerBuilder.com published the results of a survey: 47 percent of human resource professionals in the U.S. use Google to search for the names of their job applicants. An online presence is essential in todays competitive environment. The truth is the majority of new business is generated through online searches. However, building a strong online presence is not as simple as building a website, writing a blog and putting yourself out there.
So how does one create an online presence and grow his or her client listby making the time. I know, I know. Youre probably thinking, What time? I have clients to meet, calls to follow-up with and trends to follow. I dont have enough time in the day to do this. But you need to find it. Most of the time will go into the research, planning and development stages. Once youre out there, its maintenance.
Four Steps to Getting Out There
The following four steps should help guide you in developing an online presence.
Step 1: Start with research
This has to be your starting point. Self-promotion on the Internet is 90 percent preparation and 10 percent execution. If you work for a company, find out about your companys policies as they pertain to the online world and plan from there. This will protect you from crossing lines you shouldnt cross, and allow you to maximize your presence and visibility to the fullest. For example, most businesses in the financial industry have limitations (and rightly so!) on what their employees can and cannot do and say, even outside of the office. On the other hand, if you are self-employed, find out about the regulations on online presences for your industry.
Even though social media may confuse you a bit, it is important that you understand that social media itself is nothing new. While Facebook and Google+ may not sound familiar, they are just social media tools. At its basic core, social media is just sharing stories with each other. It is why we interact with each other and how we interact with each other. If social media intimidates you, then overcome your fears by educating yourself through articles and seminars.
Step 2: Show your best self
People starting off their online profiles or sites are like teenage boys: they are desperate to talk to girls, but when they finally get a chance, they dont know what to say. The second step in building your online presence can be found in the book Branding Yourself by Erik Deckers and Kyle Lacy. You need to be ready to deliver your message according to the format of the situation. Therefore, you need to establish your personal brand bio in three stages:
1) The one sentence (100 word or less pitch, also known as elevator pitch),
2) The short paragraph (250 word pitch) and
3) The two-paragraph story (that provides your full story)