Networking in the modern day is an exciting challenge
A Harvard University study has shown that one person’s impression of another is 55 per cent based on what they see, 38 per cent on body language, eye contact and body posture, and only 7 per cent on the spoken word.
“Like it or not, we are judged by how we look,” says Liane Gorman, General Manager of Servcorp Australia and New Zealand.
Her advice to small business is to present a professional and credible image.
“You want to build the like and trust factor,” she said.
“This is human nature. And this extends into the online sphere.
“Therefore, it’s important to first and foremost have a credible online presence before you start to enhance your networks and reach out to potential business partners.
“It’s a good idea to first see what others see when they search for you. Then tweak what you find to make is suitable and representative of you.”
Ms Gorman suggested a “vanity term” search on Google.
“Search for yourself on Google via text, images and video. Each channel will reveal different search results.
“Review the search results and identify which websites and images are associated with your name.
“If you found offending results at Google or another search engine, ask them to remove the pages from their results. Google has a process for this, and another for Google Images, but they only apply to pages that have been taken down, or old, cached versions of pages that are still up-it's not for pulling down any old page.
“There are also tools available online that will help you scan the world wide web and identify your online visibility.
“You can also sign up to Google reader to stay up to date with all articles that mention your name.
“These days, anything and everything can be made available online. Therefore it is imperative that you scan the internet to determine your presence.”
Ms Gorman said that, conversely, a lack of presence will also mean people won't learn anything good about you.
“That can be pretty bad too.”
The next step is with your business or brand.
First, you need to identify the online networking platforms to utilise, select those that offer the best potential for reaching your ideal audience and communicating your brand’s value proposition.
How do you decide which platforms are best for your needs?
Take a look at the user profiles for each platform. This is what generally distinguishes networking sites from other platforms. It helps set the stage for building relationships with people who share the same interests, activities, or personal contacts, as opposed to primarily disseminating or digesting information feeds.
There are various types of online platforms.
Social media platforms, usually designed for mass consumers. However, these can be tailored to the business to business environment as well. These include Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and more.
Professional platforms such as LinkedIn and Slideshare.
Then, you have your more industry specific platforms for professionals to socialise in, share ideas and inspire one another.
We recommend becoming part of an association to keep abreast of the latest industry insights and news. Joining the likes of VECCI for example keeps you up to date and aware of what’s happening in the market, without having to sift through pages and pages of data.
You can actually use all three types to complement your professional efforts.
For example, you may share an opinion piece you’ve written on LinkedIn with followers on Twitter; then share it in a discussion board or forum in industry specific platforms.
You can also use the social platforms to “humanise” your professional brand. Share your charitable experience with your followers to showcase your personality.
Here are some Servcorp tips:
Leverage Your LinkedIn Account
Set up other accounts in places similar to LinkedIn such as Naymz.com, ZoomInfo.com, Plaxo.com, BrandYourself.com, and Workface.com. Copy the LinkedIn profile you so carefully crafted and then paste it into these accounts. Modify the information to fit the site’s specific format, and change the first few sentences so that the content showing up in a Google search result is different for each site.
Create a Google+ Account
Let Google know that you exist and who you are by setting up your own Google Profile at Google.com/plus. Set up your free account; link it to your website and social networks, and more.
Again, leverage the LinkedIn profile you already wrote when creating your Google Profile biography.
Create a Twitter Account (and use it)
Create an account at Twitter.com and Tweet on a regular schedule.
Refrain from Tweeting about what you had for breakfast. Instead, share information that others will find valuable such as educational articles related to your business or industry. Follow others whose reputation you respect, and that in turn could increase your followers.
Manage Your Facebook Account
Create and manage your Facebook profile at www.facebook.com. Remove any photos that don’t show you in a professional manner. Certainly share information about your personal life because that’s what people want to see on Facebook, but don’t post anything that you wouldn’t want your mum or grandmother to see—or great-grandkids 50 years from now.
It’s important to maintain an online profile that’s promotes your brand in the best light.
About the author:
Liane Gorman is the General Manager of Servcorp Australia and New Zealand, a publically listed Australian company and provider of premium office and virtual offices with IT solutions globally. The ANZ region in which Liane is responsible has a turnover of approximately $55million.
Liane is responsible for over 250 employees across Australia and New Zealand.
Join Liane for a Servcorp webinar, hosted by CCIQ on November 30, Taking care of business this festive period. Register here