"You don't hold the axe, someone else does."
Even if you are at the top of the org chart, market forces and customers control the outcome. You never know what can happen no matter how prepared you are. Even bad personal brands can determine your fate. Get in front of it and start helping your self now. Here are 5 tips for investing in your brand.
"Don't Wait For Fate, Because Fate Won't Be Nice" - Assess and shape your brand now. You have a brand, even if you ignore it. Look for people you know and for some that don't know you, and have them look at your online profile, not just your LinkedIn profile but your other accounts (Twitter, Instagram... etc...) and listen to how they paint the picture/story of your online brand. What does it say about you? Now, change it and start painting the picture that represents you and what you want to do and where you are going and what you are passionate about.
"They Keep Pulling Me Back In." - Don't get sucked into the vortex of your past, make new connections, go to networking events, go to events that are focused on the things you care about or what to learn about. For me, it is digital transformation and digital marketing, I go to as many events as I can that speak to these trends. Not all events are created equal, some are not that great... but any event you go to can make that one connection that changes your life. Stop networking only within in your comfort zone and just with your network from the past. More often than not they are holding you back and supporting the status quo version of you and your brand.
You CAN Meet Anyone You Want. Put a simple concise strategy for meeting the people you want or need to. Put a plan together to connect with them in a meaningful way. Whether it is online or at an upcoming event or through a warm connection, have a plan. What will you talk about? How will you stand out from the crowd? How will you get noticed? Get creative, it may not always be obvious how you will do it. Many times it is as simple as Tweeting a quote from a presenter or a panelist and adding your perspective to it. Do this at the event, before the event and after. I can't tell you how many times this has got me in front of the people I was trying to get in front of. Maybe, it isn't a tweet, maybe it is asking a smart and compelling question during the Q&A portion of the event. Get them to notice you.
"If, Content is King, Then, Context is God" - This was a quote I heard recently from Tim Clarke Strategic Account Manager at Salesforce... that stuck with me, because it is so true. The future is for content creators and not noise makers... ask yourself, are you contributing or spamming? Are you just reposting other peoples stuff or just liking it? Stop. If you like something, add a comment instead. If you are leaving comments, do more than just say, "Yep, that's true." "Or I agree"... add your perspective to the thread. If you are leaving meaningful comments then share the articles/posts and preface them with your perspective... add value. If you are sharing, then start writing articles. If you are writing articles, then start a podcast or a video channel or participate on other contributors channels.
Give. Contribute. Stop Being A Taker. - This new world is about contributing and giving. If you are looking at social from a take only perspective you will be very disappointed and it won't work for you. you will be left behind. If you take the approach of contribution and giving and helping, you will see a new side of these tools and communities that you have never seen before.
Think of social tools like a networking event or a conference. If you just go to the event and don't talk to people and share your perspectives you will not meet anyone new. If you just ease drop and listen to what others are saying you are not contributing and you probably wont be noticed. If you talk to people and add your perspective you will grow your network and uncover opportunities you may have never expected.
Get that brand up to speed now and stop waiting, sure I am sure you have some great excuses for not doing it now, but they won't matter when it counts later.
Research. Have A Plan. My personal approach to events is to do my research and develop a plan for whom I want to meet and what am I going to say to them when I do get in front of them. I try to develop a compelling opener that gets their attention, then I ask them something that allows them to talk about themselves, then I respond with something that builds my credibility and demonstrates I have a prespective on that point. I may share something that is useful or helpful to them. I give. I never ask them for anything more than to connect.
If they want to go deeper and talk more then you your door is open. Walk through it, be prepared for it. Otherwise, follow up and find a time that is more purposeful and appropriate for the next conversation.
You still need more inspiration? How about guesting on a Podcast?