From your career to your business, it is wise to think about the current and future conversation about you on the web. When you have a talk with someone at a networking event, that conversation lasts only as long as you’re speaking and in the memory of the people who were listening. Conversations on the web that may passionately express a strong opinion in the moment may live for years, long after the opinion has faded away.
Right now you are probably on the web in some form whether you planned it or not. My invitation is to participate in the conversation that you want about yourself on the web. Trying to control everything that is said about you on the web is not what I’m talking about (and a poor use of time that would drive you crazy.) Just as speaking without thinking in public can have immediate negative ramifications personally, doing the same thing on the web can have ramifications over a longer period of time. For example, when I first started searching my own name on the web I was shocked to find an upset note complaining about a faulty product associated with my name. When I investigated further, I found out that I had actually posted the note a year ago to the manufacturer, and Google had pulled the note out of context with my name attached. This opened my eyes to the importance of paying attention to what I put on the Internet and the value of spending some time attending to that. I am not talking about falsely representing yourself on the web to look good, but I am talking about insuring that what’s on the Web represents the type of person you are committed to being. So you see, “the conversation of you” on the Web is your permanent virtual showcase, including more than just what you do or your job. It is giving people a sense of the total person, beyond a mere description attached to a job.
Just as in business networking in person, trying to be everywhere all the time does not work well. My advice about business and social networking is to start by picking one to three good networking sources. Work with them and get to know them, — even though every one of your friends may be sending you an invite to other online groups you’ve never heard of . For example, you may want to start with linkedin.com, or a local business group like inside919.com. Allot a set amount of time each week for learning about how to use it, or even go to some training on the topic. From You Tube, to blogs, to the site’s own resources, there are a lot of free educational resources on the web to help you learn to navigate wisely. Watch what others do and notice the effect it has on you, both positive and negative. Remember to use the same social skills you would have in person on the web (sometimes people forget this key point.) Don’t over-dominate one community group with listings of things you are selling. Make sure to lead with value and contribution.
Being part of networking communities on the web is as important to a business owner as it is to someone with a “career job”. The saddest thing I have seen is the hardworking employee doing their best to “take care of their family” by focusing only on doing their job. When someone takes no time to build a conversation about themselves outside the company and is suddenly laid off, it is a lot harder and more costly to market yourself for a job on the web when you are unemployed. It is a good idea to talk to your PR person, marketing person, web developer or career consultant to have these conversations aligned strategically on the web. Even if your name is not unique, you can make it stand out with quality information attached to it. Using a Blog reader or a news aggregator is a great way to keep track of many information sources in one location. Look forward to seeing YOU on the web!
Martin Brossman – Success Coach / Trainer / Author: www.CoachingSupport.com , Martin@CoachingSupport.com , (919) 847-4757
My podcast is: www.inquireonline.info
Everyone’s Blog Posts – 202 Local Business Networking