Years ago, your most effective strategy to get your message heard might have been to badger your target customer/company until they would eventually listen to you, or, to exert pressure by rallying a mob of like-minded supporters in one physical location, to try to convince your target customer/company to talk to you.
These days, it has never been easier to have your say. At the touch of a button, you can now: voice your opinion on your latest Amazon purchase; engage in conversations in online forums with complete strangers; share news of your adventures on your blog or Facebook account; reach out to previously inaccessible, high-level company directors via LinkedIn; and/or establish yourself as an expert via your website and online social media platforms. A cell phone, a message less than 140 characters and bam! your messages are broadcast on Twitter for the world to see. Invest a little more time and you can produce e-books and print-on-demand books for the whole world to buy.
The power of this potential to be heard is astonishing… well, at least it is, if you are using it…?
If you are not doing much with this modern-day power to speak up and be heard, then it is time to kick-start your efforts and to take advantage of this great opportunity while you have it. Here are four steps to follow, to get you started…
Step 1: Look Credible
Anyone who does not know you will judge you online via your appearance, your achievements and what you have to say. So start with having a professional photo on all of your online/offline media outputs. Celebrities like Tyra Banks might be able to get away with obscure avatar photos on their Twitter account, but you probably cannot – at least not if you are trying to impress your target customers/companies.
Then shift your attention to your LinkedIn profile, which is one of the best communities to learn more about someone else’s business and career achievements. Fill in as much detail as you can on LinkedIn: connect to colleagues, business partners and friends with a nice, personal introduction message; ask for recommendations from your connections; join some LinkedIn groups and contribute to some relevant, meaningful conversations in your field. Paint your credibility portrait with as much proof and honesty as you can, and if you need help to look credible, there is a whole personal branding industry out there now – so there are plenty of people to learn from and/or to employ to help you.
Step 2: Explore All Channels
Think big. Do not limit yourself to just LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, your blog, your website and other similar online social media channels. If Adrienne had done that, she would never have built Empower Me! Magazine, Empowered Woman TV or her successful Empower Me! radio program.
Think how you can use videos. Think what Peter Shankman did with HARO via emails. Think how you can capitalize on the ease of creating e-books and/or the new user-friendliness of print books (through print-on-demand giant Lightning Source and numerous other intermediaries like Fast Pencil and Lulu).
Think not just what you can start, but think what others have started that you might be able to enhance or contribute to, so it becomes a win-win for both of you. The important message here is that you need to be creative – you need to think differently – you need to think, think, think and explore as many options as possible when choosing to speak up and broadcast your message.
Step 3: Act Professional
As President Obama said to a group of Virginia high school students in September 2009, “…be careful about what you post on Facebook, because in the YouTube age whatever you do, it will be pulled up again later somewhere in your life”. Bloomberg
Be careful about all of the messages that you send: online; offline; and in person. Freedom of speech is a mighty beast: it carries with it a responsibility to act responsibly and know that whatever image you throw out there for all to see, really is the image that people will see, so temper your enthusiasm to speak up with a healthy dose of caution and some forward-thought.
Step 4: Be Strategic
Firing out intelligent snippets here and there will not help the puzzle pieces come together in the long-term. When you consciously decide to have a voice, remember to be strategic: articulate your goals; be clear about your purpose; and keep your output aligned to your purpose.
Just like a chef following a recipe, an articulated strategy is likely to have ten times the impact of a scatterbrained one.
Speak Up… Now
Come on, speak up, have your say, be seen and be heard. It has never been easier. You owe it to yourself and you owe it to your business.
Best wishes, Andrea
Andrea Martins is the Director and a Co-Founder of www.ExpatWomen.com – the largest global website dedicated to helping women living overseas. The site has thousands of pages, 1,400 self-submitted blogs, motivational articles, an inspirational blog and monthly newsletter (sign up here), interviews with successful women abroad and much more. Follow Andrea on Twitter
Questions To You:
1. What is stopping you from saying more online?
2. Which influencer do you most admire online?