Having an online social media profile is simply not enough when networking professionally online. You also need to social proof yourself by showcasing who you are without being too “in your face”.
Social proofing yourself is the act of sharing information online which people in your network find useful and interact with. This activity then creates a picture in people’s mind about the type of person (or business) you are which helps you build credibility.
When someone is deciding whether they will connect with you online or, more importantly, do business with you or offer you a job, they will want to know that you are who you say you are (Remember the “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog” cartoon). Social media spaces allow people to find this out quite quickly and easily by allowing them to review your social media profile and activity.
This is where having an active professional online profile works in your favour, as an active social media presence ensures that you will be ‘front of mind’ when people in your online network (or someone they know) are ready to make a purchase (for looking for an employee) in an area which you have something to offer.
But I hear you say, “I don’t have time for that!”. But how can you afford NOT to have time to social proof yourself when your best way of getting new business or finding a new job is through referrals, and the easiest way for people to know what you do is via your social media profile?
So, here’s how you can social proof yourself (or your business) in less than an hour a week.
Have a clear idea about how you want to social proof yourself
To get started, think about how you want people to perceive you online. Generally, this is either positioning yourself as an ‘expert’ or ‘guru’ in your area of expertise or as someone who can be trusted and does what they say they can do.
Switching what you want to people to see you as into what information can you share which will give this impression is important, so remember: its about sharing interesting stuff, not just selling your stuff. For example: if you are an accountant, you would share information online which would make managing people’s finance easier or help them generate more money faster.
Turn perception into an easy web search to bring useful information to you
Once you know how you would like people to perceive you online, eg expert or trustworthy, you then need to work out how to turn this into an easy web search which brings you newsworthy information. For example, a hairdresser could share information about the “latest hair designs” or “managing frizzy hair” etc.
You then use these terms to create a series of Google Alerts (ensure you use the “inverted commas” for phrases so Google Alerts knows to only bring you information on that topic). Google Alerts is a free service which allows you to put out a permanent search on information and have that information delivered to your email inbox whenever new information becomes available. You can then use this information to create interesting posts in your professional social media space.
Scheduling the useful information to social proof yourself
If you get your Google Alert terms right, you can quickly gather just the right amount of information to give you enough content to post at least one interesting thing a day in your professional social media space for the next week. And the best way to do this is to ‘schedule’ your posts for the week all in one hit using Hootsuite.
Hootsuite is a ‘free-ium’ service that allows you to schedule posts and monitor activity. Depending on whether you are using the free service or the premium paid-for service, you can schedule and monitor posts, as well as interact with others in lots of different social media spaces, and for as many social media identities as you like, all in the one online space. You can even do all of this from the Hootsuite app on your mobile phone.
Tracking your social proofing to know what works and what doesn’t
Once you know what you want to post for the week, it is now time to write the posts. If you are using online articles, it’s often best to just use the title of the article if this gets the message across that you are an expert or trustworthy. Otherwise, use a sentence that will grab people’s attention.
If you are using the premium Hootsuite service you can then write your posts in a spreadsheet which can be uploaded into Hootsuite via their Bulk Message uploader. Hootsuite also provides reports on engagement with your posts.
Another great way for you to easily track whether anyone has clicked on a link from one of your posts is to convert the link to a bit.ly link. Bit.ly is a free service which allows you to convert a URL into a shortened link that can be easily tracked. Bit.ly will then provide you the data about how many people clicked on the link and when they clicked on the link. A bit.ly link can also be customised to make them more human readable.
So, you know you need to build more street cred with your online professional network, and now you know how to do this in less than an hour a week using:
- Google Alerts to bring you the information
- Hootsuite to schedule your posts, and
- Bit.ly to track the effectiveness of your posts.
If you aim to create, schedule and track at least one interesting post a day, then it will take you less than one hour a week to social proof yourself and help bring you business or new connections for whatever it is that you would like to achieve. So, what’s stopping you?
Contact us (email or 0400 732 270) now to find out how to social proof yourself in less than an hour a week.