Way back in 2006, when I launched my own consultancy practice, I implemented a social media strategy to establish a stronger brand. I was an early adopter of social media marketing, and development of my online presence was instrumental to my success. It helped me double and then triple my revenues in record time. Today everyone is aware of how profoundly technology has changed our marketing methods. In a recent leadership branding roundtable workshop that I led, one of the audience members asked me how I’ve developed such a strong brand presence. “I’ve gained a tremendous amount of valuable business,” I said, “due to my consistent branding with constant online interaction, offering genuinely valuable, inspiring content.” After learning firsthand the power of a strategic online presence, I thought I’d share with you why every leader needs that digital brand asset to accelerate career success.
Your Online Presence Defines Your Offline Brand
The first place people research is online. They may want you to join their board of directors, fill an executive vacancy, or give a keynote speech. But before they contact you, they perform a background review of your digital brand presence. They drill down on your LinkedIn page, check out your website, and look to see what kind of posts you make on Facebook or what messaging you broadcast on Twitter.
People Perform Due Diligence on You Online
They are doing their due diligence to determine, through that all-important first impression, if you are someone they may want as a partner or team member. Google yourself. What comes up about you on the first page of search results? Review your online presence on LinkedIn. Does it convey a strong brand and emphasize your leadership capabilities and successes?
Online Thought Leaders are Offline Influencers
Establish yourself as a thought leader by bringing value to your online community. You can do that by posting insightful and informative articles, blogs, and information. Rather than simply reposting interesting pieces you read, it’s best if you can contribute your own original content. Let others learn from you and see why and how you are able to solve, innovate, and get positive results from your leadership work. You also want to let them get to know you on a more personal level, which helps develop genuine rapport.
Your Online Presence Has Real Bottom Line Impact
One time I was one of the candidates being vetted by a large company to coach one of their top leaders. But the decision maker told the selection committee, “I want Sarah Hathorn because I follow her on Twitter and she is so inspiring.” I share that with you as evidence that inspiring, positive, motivating posts can help you stand out among the competition to win valuable business. I also believe this strategy worked in my favor because the decision maker already felt like she knew me. Although we’d never met, she felt a connection that was created through the power of online messaging.
Cultivate Influential Relationships
Stay connected with former company employees, industry colleagues, or clients on platforms like LinkedIn. Nurture these relationships online. Post your content, and comment on articles or successes of others, to keep the value chain flowing. I finished an executive coaching session with one of my former SVP executive coaching clients. But we made the effort to stay in touch, and he said that my postings online were a source of constant inspiration and ideas that extended our coaching relationship. Stay visible and relevant to others and they will remember you when someone asks for a referral.
Your online presence is a major component of your offline leadership influence. Give it the attention it deserves, and your brand will be stronger and more valuable.
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