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Online Presence Strategies…Visibility

When I achieve the moniker of “middle management” I started looking for resources to assist in transitioning into my management role.  Maybe you’ve been in a similar position, where there is no “formal” career mentoring program.  I found a group online which offered many resources including regular effective & compelling podcasts.  The group is Manager-Tools and their suggestions & advice were actionable and clear cut.

One show that caught me off guard was one focused on the pearls of social networking.  The crux of the forty minute show cautioned that effective executives shouldn’t let “controllable negatives” hurt them.  Their point was that the images, updates, links, & associations on social sites are indeed digital records.  When we are tagged or host “private” material on these sites we essentially pollute or contaminate the professionalism we tout in other venues.  The podcast hosts reference Murphy’s Law of Facebook which explains, the one thing you don’t want someone else to see, they will see.

Fast forward a couple of years, and this group publishes another podcast that literally endorses & urges its listeners to be on LinkedIn.  Now the reason for this relative about face stems from a Fortune Magazine article where the executive of global recruiting for Accenture stated that in the coming years he expected 40% of his hires to come from social spaces  (liked LinkedIn).

Maybe it’s the realization that big businesses are coming, if they aren’t already there, to a social space near you; that prompts an engagement with social web or consider the value that social centric services have to offer.  Regardless of the motivation or rational, most of us should acknowledge that there is something to the incredible growth of social networking.  Given the low barrier of entry, I’m confident that there are opportunities ripe for each of us within the spectrum of the social graph.

Before trudging headlong into uncharted waters, there are certain considerations we each should contend with related to the social ecosystem.  The folks from Manager-Tools are correct in their attention that we should treat the digital record with respect and professionalism.  This starts with certain attention paid to ourselves and our social presence.  Visibility is a key strategy to be evaluated.  How companies, colleagues, partners, clients, customers, etc will recognize us should be vetted.  To that end, I wanted to share some suggestions…

1.  Use Your Real Name.  Sites like Facebook & LinkedIn this is pretty easy.  However places like Twitter and blogs have encouraged cute naming conventions.  While your CB handle or self-proclaimed nickname from college might be unique, only those with inside knowledge will correlate you & the nickname/handle.  Despite how astute you may be tweeting interesting thoughts or insights, the inability of outsiders to make the digital link to your professional persona hinders it’s effectiveness to get you noticed.

2.  Use a photo, preferably a quality photo.  Many people are visual learners, and are more adapt at recognizing a face before they can place a name.  To this end, including a photo or head shot goes a long way to make who you are with what you are saying.

3.  Complete the bio.  Whether this is your education, career history, & summary statement on LinkedIn or a brief description on Twitter, give those  curious a little about yourself.  Incomplete information may be perceived as a negative, this person is unorganized or unable to complete tasks.  It’s like submitting a report without your name on it, when the instructions clearly guided the submission etiquette for where &  how to identify the person who was submitting the document.

4.  Provide a link or call to action.  Without coming right out and saying “want more information?”, a link or URL to another site, blog, or landing point provides a call to action for those interested in learning more about you.

5.  Be consistent across platforms.  For those of us who are expanding our social footprint this is critical.  Using the same picture and name are two key elements to being consistent.  If you use LinkedIn, Twitter, & have your own blog, all three should have consistent bio, name, & pictures.  This will give those navigating through these spaces a sense of congruity and reinforces who you are as a professional.

A word of warning … consistency doesn’t mean you copy & paste updates and all your information to each social location.  The reality is that each service has audience differences to be taken into account.  The subtle differences match the consistent information about who you are speak volumes on how adept you are in communicating .  If managing multiple social sites is too much work, then pair down the sites you maintain.  Doing one thing well is better than cloning the effort without specific attention paid to the destination audiences.  For me personally, it’s annoying to see someone tweet something and see it appear on their LinkedIn status and Facebook update unabridged.  As a audience member, it make me want to reduce the mediums I listen to or associate with this person.

Before you start broadcasting, pay attention to how you will be recognized.  To some extent we all want to be visible, but we each should do our homework to ensure our messages correlate to our image.  These details can pay dividends later on.  Once set, these variables are somewhat static.  Our attention and energies can then be appropriately focused on how we engage others in the social environment.

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  1. December 14, 2010 at 6:27 pm

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