The Internet is a great means of becoming famous.
Far too often that result is actually more along the lines of infamy than anything else.
There is something to be said, however, about cultivating a degree of renown among the business community, and using a social media profile to achieve this end.
Here are a few tips on how to move closer to that goal, without ending up being known as the Kim Kardashian of your peers. Because really, not all publicity is good publicity.
Picture yourself in a vast crowd of people. If you just stand there, head bowed, saying nothing, you are just one of the faceless masses. You don’t say anything, so no one notices you. You are constantly overlooked. So one of the first things you need to do right off the bat in terms of a social media profile is to link to other people’s (and businesses’) profiles or circles. Start building bridges of communication, and show people that you exist. Subscribe, follow, share, whatever it takes, just make sure you interact, and furthermore, have them reciprocate. This forms a symbiotic relationship with numerous other users out there, and increases both your visibilities. Because remember, these people have friends who see their profiles too, and therefore could conceivably wander over to your profile and check it out for themselves. A good social media profile and presence isn’t passive, it’s active.
Once you make contact with your peers and businesses, you need to start actually saying things that are memorable (in a good way!) and show that you know what you’re talking about. Post comments and links on their sites and profiles, particularly when it comes to subjects relevant to your particular industry. Participate in discussions, offer feedback to articles and blog posts, and make sure you link back to your profile. You have to be your own evangelist, spreading your word to your peers.
Make sure that you let people outside the Internet know that you actually have a social media presence. People can’t check out something that they don’t know exists. If you have a brick and mortar business, see to it that people know you can be found online, even if it’s something cliché like a ‘Like us on Facebook!’ sign.
No one’s saying you need to post pictures of frowning cats or ‘Keep Calm And…’ memes in your profile, but a little color, a little flavor, can’t hurt. This is a balancing act, because on one hand, you want to show that you’re professionally competent and that you’re serious about your field, but on the other hand, you don’t want to be so bland and unexciting that people just yawn and pass you by. Put a little color in your profile, perhaps a video, some interesting photos, or a few interesting and informative tidbits, particularly about things that are relevant to your field. But beware…
You want people to know you on the basis of your business astuteness; you don’t want them to know you as the clueless individual with the embarrassing photos on their page. Look at your profile (especially if you haven’t done anything with it for a while) from the perspective of a new visitor, someone in the same business as yourself. Does anything look off-topic, bizarre, or too personal? You want people to share your profile with others because of how intelligent and knowledgeable you are, not in a ‘get a load of this!’ context.
If you’re going through all of the trouble of having a social media profile (or profiles), then make sure you spend a few minutes a day checking up on it, seeing who posted, and of course, making sure that you add fresh content regularly. People who see the same old stuff on your profile will stop visiting, and they surely won’t pass the information on to their friends.
What this all comes down to is participation. You can’t make friends if you sit in a corner with your hands in your pockets. By the same token, you need to reach out to others with an entertaining and informative profile, and this will help you gain the recognition you desire.
John Terra has been freelancing since 1985, and his work has appeared in diverse places like Inc Magazine, Computer Shopper, The Nashua Telegraph, and numerous online sites focusing on social media, e-commerce, and personalities such as Steve Wynn.