I’m amazed by how little exposure we marketing professionals get although we are experts in our field. We seem to believe that it’s more important to turn the spotlight onto other business specialists, but every marketer should definitely improve his or her own online visibility.
Here’s why marketing professionals should be active online:
1. Businesses and organizations need every one of their employees to spread positive news about them. The more messengers they have, the stronger their voice and therefore the wider the recognition they get.
2. Personal brands help build corporate brands. In the past individuals might have boosted their personal worth by working for a well-known company, but now it’s the reverse: customers’ perceptions of a business are determined by whom they know or know to be employed by a certain company.
3. Employees are far more interesting than companies. Do you want to follow a faceless corporation or its more intriguing personnel? I for one would prefer to have discussions with real people rather than with businesses.
4. Digital troops should be led from in front and by example. If you yourself aren’t taking advantage of online channels you can’t help anyone else to do so, either. You won’t be seen as credible or even competent. You can’t expect others to get excited about having an influence online if you don’t put yourself on the line.
5. It’s time for marketers to step into the foreground and to make themselves and their work visible. Are you dreaming of the day when marketing is on the management agenda? Stop dreaming and do something about it. Make some noise and get some attention.
There is no right or wrong way to develop an online identity; each of us will have to find our own voice and the right channel. My main channels for digital interaction are Twitter and LinkedIn. I got involved with both out of curiosity and for totally selfish reasons. I thought of them as nothing more than learning platforms. At first I listened until I found the courage to share and eventually to interact. Social curation, or the sharing of interesting links is an easy way to begin, but the more you share your own opinions, the more interesting you will be for others to follow.
My top five tips for professional branding
I’ve picked up these five principles during my journey to becoming an influencer:
1. An online presence is the best way to influence your career development
I have hired people I’ve come to know on Twitter. Even if you aren’t currently looking for a new job, highlighting your professional expertise as well as interests will no doubt get you noticed at your workplace. Your network is your net worth.
2. Management support is a cliché, but it’s necessary
It was only when our chief executive officer got excited about Twitter that the microblogging site became acceptable in our organization. I’m proud to say that our entire management group are now all Twitter users. There’s an 82% higher probability that customers will trust a company if its top management interacts on social media.
3. Quantity can’t make up for quality – even online
I’ve found that interaction is a better metric than numbers of followers when it comes to measuring online influence. It’s true that larger numbers of followers increase the likelihood of getting your message across, but finding your own place and the right target group (such as customers or cooperation partners) and engaging with and helping them can yield better results.
4. Just do it
As a recovering perfectionist I’ve discovered that sometimes it’s necessary to just get the job done – it’s not possible to wait for exactly the right moment to become an online influencer. Be curious and experiment to see what works. An online persona can’t be built up in a day, or even a week, and instant wins are rare. Trust and recognition are built in small steps. Plan less and execute more.
5. Even introverts can shine online
Small talk and face-to-face networking don’t come naturally to me – I’m not the one to be found at cocktail parties with my hand outstretched introducing myself. However, by liking and sharing tweets I have come to know and even meet in the flesh awesome people whom I would not otherwise have come across. Some of them have become my friends. Twitter has enriched my life in many ways.
Nowadays marketers sell more than ever before: 57% of the buying process is done before customers even speak with a sales representative, let alone agree to meet them. If marketing professionals aren’t present online how can they understand how to influence others via social media? So don’t hide behind other specialists – step into the limelight. Take risks, make yourself appealing, and influence!