Why do you need to market yourself? There are many reasons this should be something you’re always considering. Presenting yourself well can lead to new jobs and opportunities, give you the chance to pursue your dream, and helps with any future endeavors you may not even be considering yet.
For some of us this is really easy. Others of us have to work a little harder. Donald Miller just this week posted about this on his blog. I won’t go into details, but you should definitely make time to read it: “Some Thoughts on Self Promotion and Why Arrogant People Think It’s Wrong.” Miller includes reasons he promotes his work and reasons some people don’t. What’s holding you back?
In this post I want to start with a practical look at marketing yourself online.
Recently I read that you should think of yourself as the product you are selling and what you do as the service. What you do may be marketing, writing, engineering, etc.
When you’re online, treat yourself as a brand. You are the product you are selling, and what you do is a service that you provide to others. One of the first things you may need to do is to find out why you do what you do.
For myself with marketing, it’s not just advertising (advertising is just a piece of marketing anyway), it’s a way to help people. Everyone has a dream, a goal, a business idea, a company, or simply themselves that they want to tell people about. They believe in their endeavor and are looking for someone to believe in it with them and share that with their fans and potential customers. I love finding people and companies I believe in to help them share their passion with the world.
What makes you stand out?
This is an important question to answer. Another blog post for another time, but can you answer this question? This is something you want to make known when you’re marketing yourself.*
*Note: If you can’t answer this question yet, don’t panic! If you wait to market yourself until you can, you may never start. Sometimes the process is what you need to figure this out.
Who isn’t on social media? Almost everyone I have met (yes, I have also met people who refuse to even own a cell phone) has at least created one social media account. Most of these people keep up with their account(s). You have an online, and a social, presence much like brands do.
What are you going to do with that presence?
There’s nothing wrong with sharing a mix of personal and business related posts. You are interested in what you do, right? So when you read an article online or have something exciting to share from your field, you’re going to share it!
I share a lot of marketing articles, quotes, etc because it’s interesting to me. It’s an opportunity to generate discussion about my field and show off what I know a little bit.
But, in addition to that, in this blog post, “Your Facebook Posts Will Probably Go Viral if You Follow These 5 Steps” from Post Planner, step number 1 is to “Get Personal.” This is how people connect with you! All business gets boring, and it only connects with so many people. But having fun, sharing about your family and holidays…that all gets attention too and connects with others online.
Want to know the social media guy to watch for a great example of this though? Jon Acuff. I mostly follow him on Twitter, but I do see some of his posts on Facebook too. He talks about his family, shares about traveling and work, things he finds funny and interesting, and posts about his blog posts. If you want to know how to post both business and life, this is truly the guy to check out.
Like I would tell any brand though…you can’t just talk about yourself.
Selling yourself and celebrating your successes is one thing…only talking about that online is as obnoxious as bragging in real life.
Share articles and quotes from other people, not just your own blog posts. Brag on your friends when they’re doing something awesome. Comment on and like their posts rather than just sticking to your own page.
Be careful what you post
I hope this one is self explanatory. I know online media is a relatively new thing, but once something is online…it stays online. You can delete it, but there is a record of it somewhere! Be careful not only of your content, but your attitude. Sometimes it’s one picture from a party, and sometimes it’s one negative comment on a friend’s post. Sometimes it can carefully be undone, and other times it chases people away.
Just like a brand, your online presence tells who you are, and you don’t always know who is following you.
Maybe it’s not the place for everyone, but it’s a great place for many professionals. This is a place for articles in your field to be shared (including your own!), for networking to happen, and a great place to find a job too. LinkedIn’s classifieds aren’t free to those who post, so when you find a job to apply for–you know it’s legit.
Are you on twitter? If you’re writing, you should be. Recent information shows that on twitter:
Links > photos/graphics > videos
Quotes are shared most often.
That means…writers! Get on there and start sharing! Imagine the online presence you can have if you got in there. You especially can expand your reach online by interacting on Twitter.
What you need
- An online “Hub” – Whether it’s a social media profile, a blog (please have a social media presence along with your blog…trust me–you get more readers when you share them here), or a website, have a place where you can be found.
- Resume – Make sure this is up-to-date! You never know when you’ll want to share it. Customize it for whoever you’re sharing it with, but you can basically have it ready.
- Business Cards – Even if you rarely hand them out, they’re always handy to put into the drawing bowls at restaurants like Freebirds. You can create some relatively simply and cheaply at Vistaprint if that’s the direction you’re heading.
Where are you online? What are you marketing yourself for?