If you want to get started managing your online visibility, hopefully for the long-haul, not just while you’re eager to find a new job, here’s why listening and learning will transform you into a leader!
Listen, Learn, Lead
Back in 2008 I was asked to speak to a group of executive MBAs about networking. As flattered as I was, I was also panicked. What qualified me to speak about networking? Sure, I’d been teaching job seekers how to look for work for several years, but was that enough to impress or convince this audience that I was worth listening to? I needed reference material and my own words/work.
I talked with a friend who pushed me to start blogging. I did a lot of reading. Tom Peters, Seth Godin, Keith Ferrazzi, and Penelope Trunk were early inspirations. I wrote 5 times a week, for 3 years! (I had a lot to say!)
Beyond just writing my own post, all the bloggers said you were supposed to leave comments on other blogs. And as I found more blogs within the job search and career space, I began to leave comments. It was around this same time, someone recommended Twitter. So I opened my account and began following people. Every morning after I wrote my blog post, I would skim my Twitter feed, share interesting articles as well as my own.
I did all this while I was working a full time job. I had 2 kids under the age of kindergarten, and a husband who was unemployed for a couple of years then worked the night shift.
What I didn’t really understand at the time was that I was building an online presence and reputation. I learned about SEO, basic technical stuff like HTML, how to use Twitter, Facebook and Google+ to promote my content. Oh, and most importantly, I met some great friends along the way!
I’m an introvert and have pretty good listening skills when I want to. Listening is so important to building your brand and online reputation.
- Listen to what other experts in your area of expertise/interest are saying
- Listen to what your customer’s problems are or the internal systems
- Listen to fill a gaps or voids
- Listen to feedback your friends, family, colleagues and managers give you
- Listen for opportunities
As you listen, you learn. Observing behaviors, styles, methods and hacks. I think it’s smart to know where your strengths lie and where you are weak. There’s no excuse for not having something you know you’ll need. There’s a wise saying, those that can’t do teach. But even wiser is this quote from Benjamin Franklin:
Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.
Engage in learning. Make it a life-long quest for knowledge.
No one needs to give you a title in order for you to lead. Lead yourself. We can all be leaders- in different aspects of work or life. Choose where you want to lead. You’ll build a reputation of excellence and become a magnet for new opportunities!
Now, use these three words to guide your online visibility strategy.
Listen to what others are saying and share. You may not have your own thoughts yet but sharing the ideas of others, good or different, shows interest and helps cement what’s important to you.
Where are you listening for information and trends?
- Set up your preferences for LinkedIn Pulse and follow LinkedIn Influencers (LinkedIn’s FAQs on Pulse)
- Industry newsletters, SmartBrief, Google blogs or AllTop by topic (learn about these here)
- Follow your favorite blogs/newsfeeds using Feed.ly (learn how to use Feed.ly here)
Where are you learning?
- Networking groups
- Professional associations
Lead by Managing Your Online Reputation
- Google yourself, do you own page one with positive and best links?
- Create an awesome LinkedIn profile (here’s how and here are profiles to inspire you)
- Don’t just lurk, really use LinkedIn (learn how here)
- Use a personal email signature (here’s how)
- Get a personal website or landing page: about.me, vizualize.me, flavors.me (here’s a full description of each)
- Monitor your online rep: Set up Google Alerts- Me on the Web, Social Mention
- Manage your online reputation- own the first page of search results (use Brandyourself)
The best defense is a great offense! Build your online visibility today!
Are you interested in some of the other tools I use regularly to build my online visibility? Here are my 26 go-to, must-have tools!