Social Media and Your Stage Presence

stage

Shakespeare said “all the world’s a stage” and social media has become the newest place to see your name in lights. Whether you’re a professional working for an organization, flying solo as a consultant or currently seeking your next role, its worth considering where exactly you want to make regular appearances. How you perform is up to you.

One Network Serves as a Baseline
Consider a service like LinkedIn to be your baseline for professional networking and communications. With over 40 million members, LinkedIn is the largest and most diverse network in the U.S. While smaller or more specialized networks such as Plaxo.com, Spoke.com or Xing.com may fit your immediate needs, consider joining them in terms of your long term business and career goals as well as the time and effort you’ll need to expend to update multiple profiles. In any case, your profile is your business card – make each word count but include relevant details of your expertise and experience. Also include a photo! It helps people recognize who you are.

Create a Hierarchy of Connections
Facebook can be a valuable channel for building your online brand with professional colleagues who evolve into friends. It’s an opportunity to share more of yourself – your sense of humor, values, lifestyle and friends. For this reason, be conscious of the content you share on your Facebook page. Understand the levels of access you can give connections and as a rule of thumb, don’t share anything you wouldn’t feel comfortable sharing with a recruiter or potential client. They will be looking.

Commit to a Communication Plan
As a marketing professional, I use LinkedIn as a primary channel to focus on those business groups or conversations that matter to me. Good networking isn’t about self-promotion; it’s about building relationships based on shared interests and expertise. Avoid the temptation to send out messages asking for job referrals or blanket connection requests. It won’t help you build relationships.

Ready for a bigger stage? You may want to expand to start your own group within LinkedIn, launch a blog or open a twitter account. Whichever channel you commit to using, consistency and timeliness is important. A brilliant discussion followed by weeks of silence will do little to keep contacts aware and interested in your point of view. If you want to start a blog, there’s a volume of advice available on how to do it right. One resource I find helpful is hubspot.com. In any case, launch your blog with your own domain (blog/yourname.com) rather than a subdomain of a blog service (blog/typepad.com) to ensure you’re optimized for search engines. All of the blog services offer this feature at a small cost.

Social Media Tools to Organize
There are a number of tools to manage your channels of communication and alert you to your colleagues’ activities with new applications appearing daily. I like FriendFeed.com which will establish an easily viewable log of where and when colleagues have posted on a particular network, Ping.fm which will update multiple networks including your blog posts and TweetDeck.com which streamlines your Twitter activities and enhances sharing capabilities. Check out SlideShare.net to see how other individuals and companies are leveraging social media channels.

Social media doesn’t eliminate the need for getting out and networking in person. It can however, help recall a conversation and solidify the first impression your contact carried away from your meeting. It can also help you reach individuals you wouldn’t otherwise have the chance to connect with and build awareness of your expertise within the community. As for learning your lines, that’s something you have to practice on your own. And take heart – improvising is what keeps it fun.

Patricia Smith consults with clients on marketing strategies and communication initiatives in the B2B market space. She has diverse corporate and entrepreneurial experience in U.S. and International markets guiding the development of brand strategies, launching new products and services, building business cases and developing results-driven marketing programs. Ideas and travel are her passions.

You can contact Patricia at psmith@makingwordscount.net , tweet her at @octopus or visit her at http://www.linkedin.com/in/pasmith17.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: