“Social standing no longer ends with where you sit in society, with many people investing more time in their online persona than the physical one.
You may mourn the days of social interaction – but technology is forcing us to evolve.”
To give a sense of prospective and make us all feel old, social networks began taking shape 13 years ago with the launch of Facebook.
Two years later Twitter launched and one year after that Instagram joined the party.
Not happy sitting on the sidelines, professionals wanted a digital community to converse in and then came LinkedIn five years after in 2009.
Ever since, the general populations’ awareness of thy self and of how they are perceived has continued to sky rocket.
Social standing no longer ends with where you sit in society, with many people investing more time in their online persona than the physical one. You may disagree with this or mourn the days of social interaction – but technology is forcing us to evolve.
‘How many likes did she get’, ‘oh he likes that company? Really?!’ and ‘I see he’s on holidays again’ pop in internal monologues daily, hitting us with the pressure to conform. Without feeding this monster on a daily basis, are you missing out? And how can you best position ‘Brand Me’ to keep up?
Firstly, yes, by boycotting social and online platforms you are definitely leaving a hole in the perception of you. In short, your personal brand is what people think of you when you’re not in the room. Like it or lump it, online personal networks are here to stay and are without doubt a huge tool for navigating social and professional life. Employers now use it as a judge-able arm of your personality and your friends hang out there. By standing on the sidelines you are effectively closing off a window that people expect to see. There is ways around maintaining contact without opening your world for everyone, but you need to position where you are and where you want to be to judge how you are seen in these forums
So how do you make a start on it all?
Day 1 audit
Nobody likes introspective analysis. It’s much easier to pry then be pry’d. It is incredibly important to do it at some point though, especially from a professional level. How do you see yourself? How do others see you? Do they align? How would you like to be seen? What are my strengths and weaknesses? How’s my network? Am I happy with the above? The answers from these questions can outline where you should live online and how you should act. Jotting down answers and giving yourself some time to come to some conclusions is vital.
Make some goals
Actions can only be judged if there is a goal to guide them towards it. ‘I’d like to be seen as a resource in my field’, ‘I want to develop my network for it to become a strength’, ‘I want to grow my social following’ are all long term goals. The key is creating little wins to get there.
How do you become a thought leader? It’s by having people respect your opinion. Firstly you need to educate yourself to get respect, then you need to get in front of your prospective audience.
From this you will forge an actionable pathway
Where do I want to live online?
From your answers above – you need to see where best suits the goals you hope to achieve. Does your audience talk on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, online forums or even Slack? Some quick research can help you understand this. They may well reconvene in a physical space which is great – but you need to know. Another route is picking a mentor for you to aspire to – within a few touch points of your network, not Richard Branson. You should check out their behaviors and pick what you like to adopt in to your routine.
How do I join the conversation?
Firstly it’s important to be patient. This won’t happen overnight.
Secondly, you need to be selfless – If you go out with a view of instant gratification you will lose, and quickly. To join the conversation you have to be engaged – this means interacting with topical conversations.
Sharing relevant content on your social channels. A relevant article can be a great way to garner credibility and trust. However look at the source – do they fit the person you are aspiring to be? Following, liking, sharing, distributing content and having a solid credible opinion will help you make baby steps. Be aware that the tone and positioning of your brand will vary across different forms of media – what works on Twitter will vary on LinkedIn and so on
What should I be sharing?
As mentioned above, know the content that best fits your audience and the forum you are meeting them in. Once that has been outlined just use common sense. If you have your ‘techy’ hat on, what content would you find interesting? A new feature launch, company expansion, coding story? Trust your instincts and know that people in your network are very like you – that’s why they’re in your network.
News articles, podcasts, books, events and more can go down well with any audience. Just position it as a value add.
Andrew (aka “cheeks” – have you seen those dimples?) is the man behind our online community.
He tells us he “spent 4 years developing the fastest growing recruitment platform globally”, so we’re trusting he knows what he’s doing…
When he’s not curiously researching how to improve pretty much anything he can, he’s buffing on up on movies or enjoying a “cold one” at a good live gig.