When you spend much time in the digital world, you realise it’s a lot like the high school in an 80’s Brat Pack film; every character is larger than life, ferociously confident, and seems to live a charmed life.
You might find the idea of stepping into that world daunting, but it’s the stage that businesses present themselves on nowadays. If you aren’t willing to try, the audience will never know you exist — and this is equally relevant to your personal or your business’ brand.
As we begin to emerge from the coronavirus lockdown, with most people still working from the kitchen table, protecting their laptops from rampaging toddlers, or wistfully remembering the old rush-hour commute, it’s more important to take your place onstage.
Your willingness and ability to raise your profile could make the difference between sink or swim. So get cracking.
What’s stopping you from building an online profile? It’s usually one of four things:
- Fear of failure.
- Not knowing what to do.
- Not seeing the point or wanting to avoid self-promotion.
- Lack of time.
Let’s tackle those one by one.
Fear of Failure
This is the biggie, and usually goes hand in hand with the others.
Nobody likes looking silly, whether it’s in the playground, the gym, or online. But what that shouldn’t do is stop you from making a start in trying to grow your profile. You can’t expect to nail it right from the beginning and have people fawning over your every word.
When you’re starting out you won’t have much of a following anyway, so unless you make a monstrous screw-up there won’t be many people there to see your mistakes.
What you can do is try, experiment, stumble, try again, and improve. Just like in business.
Over time, you’ll discover which platforms, messages, and approaches generate engagement with your audience. All you need to do is start!
Not Knowing What to Do
There’s no dark art to building your profile online.
Show up by engaging others and offering your advice and opinions on social media; you can’t be (and shouldn’t try to be) all things to all people, so don’t avoid controversy, but don’t be deliberately antagonistic. Nobody likes a troll.
Here are a few rules of thumb to follow as you grow your profile:
- Provide Value — There’s a place for entertaining people with your content, but ultimately you should be helping people overcome challenges and remove pains. However your knowledge and experience can help, focus on that.
- Be Real — In most industries, after a few years you find your communications littered with corporate bullshit, jargon, and acronyms. Ditch all that and act in a human way. You can always find a way to talk about the driest subject with humour, warmth, and personality.
- Make a Plan — It’s easy to start building your profile online. It’s even easier to run out of steam after a couple of months and go back to square one. So sit down and plan your content so you can stay consistent. Consistency is key.
Here are a few more pointers on what not to do when creating content.
Not Seeing the Point or Wanting to Avoid Self-promotion
We’ve lumped these together as one can actually be the other in disguise.
While it’s nigh-on impossible to avoid some digital presence as an individual or a business nowadays, there are some people who have held out and kept things real-world as much as possible.
It might be that you’re a luddite and see the internet as the devil’s database (it is), or have that uniquely British quirk of being violently opposed to promoting yourself.
Sound like you? Time’s up, bud. For the near-to-medium future, offline opportunities for interaction will be impacted, so there’s your motivation. No bustling conferences, limited in-person networking, fewer walk-ins.
Lack of Time
Like anything else, when you start to create and post content the process will take a little time. As you become more familiar with your messaging and style, this will become easier and faster.
Don’t forget that engaging with others on social media platforms like LinkedIn is one of the best ways to grow your profile. It doesn’t require you to come up with any creative ideas; just give advice, make suggestions, and provide input that demonstrates your knowledge and expertise. Showing that you’re an all-round nice person doesn’t hurt either!
When you need to write longer-form content, like a blog post, newsletter, or email, it can take a bit of time and preparation. This is when it can make sense to get some outside help. Ghostwriters are experts at taking what’s in your head and turning it into engaging material that speaks to the right audience.
The best bit about spending time building your profile is that it doesn’t disappear as soon as you stop doing it, which is one of the downsides of trying to get in front of people with ads.
Making the time for engagement and content creation will pay you back, so don’t neglect it.
If you’re reading this, chances are you actually want to grow your profile in spite of any reservations, and you recognise the value in it. As we mentioned earlier, getting started is the key. Once you begin engaging with others and generating some responses, you’ll start to realise it’s actually pretty good fun.
So spend some time every day building your profile, and you’ll grow an online presence that reduces the damage done by being housebound.
Follow the advice in this article and in a few short months you’ll have started to carve out your own starring role on the digital stage. Break a leg!
If you need support in building your profile online, drop us a line at Prize Content to find out how we can help you.