It’s 2016. If you are not on LinkedIn you must either be a trust fund baby or you live in a world that I don’t know. I have encountered job seekers and “solopreneurs”, who still believe that they can thrive in today’s world without a digital presence. In short, they refuse social and professional networking as they feel they will be stalked or annoyed by others.
I started with online networking on XING in 2004. Before that, I only networked in P2P-Style. That means I would regularly have lunch with different internal and external colleagues to find out about what is going on in their line of work. In the early Millenium, the lunch date roster was your “dance card” and showed how popular you were. It was almost embarrassing to lunch alone and if you were booked for several weeks this meant you had made it. It was part of the culture of that organisation but networking helped me to understand background stories, to build trust and get support on a variety of topics.
If I look back I also pulled my team members, trainers, providers and friends of my network. The network expanded to external contacts and it got harder to maintain when I left Frankfurt for Zurich, but I started to build a new network, which helped me to build and maintain a start-up in a rather difficult economic environment. If I was looking for a full-time role now, I would certainly try and source it through my network. If I am looking to hire an intern, designer or specialist I am going to rely on my network.
I don’t really understand why professionals are afraid to put themselves out there. It must be fear of rejection or fear of identity theft. Let’s assume for this post that you want to be successful in your job search or you want to gain clients as a “solopreneur”.
If you don’t expose yourself on Digital Media the message I get from you is either
1) I am not self-confident at all and my professional experience has zero value.
2) I am a diva and so popular that people will look for me.
3) I am a digital marketing professional and hiding because I already worked it all out and will have enough work anyway.
If you don’t want to create that impression you might need to overcome your fear first. So here are my seven killer tips for developing a digital media presence.
1) Focus on the Platform where your potential Hiring Managers and Clients hang out.
In all likelihood, you will meet most of your potential hiring managers and clients on LinkedIn. If you are a writer you might want to focus on Twitter or Goodreads because this is where readers will gather their information. On the other hand, if you provide make-up tips on short videos you should focus on youtube. As a photographer, you want to be on Instagram. Try not to overwhelm yourself by joining all platforms as one. In case, you don’t know where to go try Facebook first.
2) Develop your own blog so you have a digital home base but don’t expect people to find you right away.
In times of social media, it is hard to understand why you need to have your digital home. Imagine it this way: When you are on Twitter it is like you are attending a huge networking event where you exchange information with colleagues and potential clients. If you want them to look at information (content) that you produce you have to invite them to your home. And when you host a party at your place you have to give people directions how to find you and a good reason to party with you. When you go to a party you don’t expect to be asked to buy something or pay for your beer right.
3) Selling online will take a while so build trust first.
The Internet is full of offers and scam. Before anyone wants to give you their email ID and bank details you will need to have their trust. You can develop trust by being a helpful source of information and by solving people’s problems. You can also build trust by being personal and by avoiding any salesy touch.
4) Self-promotion is a turnoff.
Instead of promoting yourself you should help and promote other people’s work. If you help others you will not come across as a big-headed egomaniac but someone who cares about people.
5) Vet and check the information you share.
A retweet does not always mean that you endorse the opinion of the tweeter but at least you can verify that the information is genuine, up-to-date and that links are actually working. If you are like me you probably don’t read everything you would like to read but you know where to find the trusted sources and where to be skeptical.
6) It’s helpful if you encourage others to develop content and if you endorse your colleagues.
I know many people who suffer from imposture syndrome and who are modest. It helps once in a while to be told that work is helpful and that you are actually reading their updates or their input.
7) When people meet you in RL they should like you even more.
Digital Presence is great. If people deal with you in real life (RL) they should still be positively surprised. One of the reasons for lack of trust nowadays is that everyone is putting their own interest in front. Many people have a hard time to accept support because they are not used to genuine help. They are used to being cheated and pulled over the table and you want to stand out.
I hope these seven killer tips will help you to work on your digital presence as a job-seeker or solopreneur without getting overwhelmed. If you need my support please schedule a meeting