I’m a social butterfly and like most people, I prefer to participate in groups with other people who hold similar interests to me. It gives me a sense of trust when I interact with people and groups with common values and beliefs to my own (Meyers, 2011). I find comfort with ‘like minded’ individuals, and obviously, I am not alone in this feeling since, one of the main motivators for people to use social media in the first place, is their desire for community. Social Media allows us to be a part of community, not dictated by space or location, and it also comes with a sense of family and unity (Mueller, 2010).
This social connectivity, this common ground, can help you build a strong digital reputation. Just as you are attracted to people and communities that you have something in common with, people will be attracted to what you have to say in return. You just need to be genuine and authentic in your digital communications.
According to Dorie Clark, one of my favorite Branding gurus, there are 3 main ways to get noticed by other people when building your reputation online:
- through the content you create,
- by social proof provided by others, and
- by having someone recommend you directly.
Based on the first 2 ways above to get noticed, I have put together 5 suggestions on how you can grow your digital reputation. The third way, having someone recommend you directly, speaks more to your physical network than you virtual one, but if you are getting them to recommend your social presence loudly, at let’s say a cocktail party or business conference, by all means, you should be using that tactic as well.
1. Promote Yourself and Your Ideas on Facebook
Facebook is, hands down, the largest social network being used today. It is not just for your kids and connecting with your high school buddies anymore. Many people have set up professional profiles that highlight their knowledge and expertise. For example, check out Chocolate for Breakfast. This is the business page for Sue Ann Gleason, a culinary nutritionist and marketing strategist. This page has over 19,845 Likes, which translates into fans following it, with outstanding engagement in the Facebook world (over 60% of the fans are talking about the page according to the Social Media Examiner). It uses photos really well, has inspiring posts (particularly the recipes),and is entertaining and educational.
Personally, I have a page on Facebook ( DogDaz ) that I use to connect with my followers that prefer that social network and to promote my PetBlog, dogdaz.com. The goal is to connect with other animal lovers, promote animal rescue and remind my Facebook followers to read today’s blog posts. This has worked great in the last year and I have over 40,000 hits on the blog (which is huge for me).
What you will find is that people will start recommending your content to other people, who will recommend it to other people, and building your reputation. In the Facebook world, the number of people (FANS) that LIKE your page, the higher the rating and stronger your reputation. These ratings act as SOCIAL PROOF that your page (you) has value. If someone agrees (thumbs up) that what you are saying, or selling, or doing, has value, that social proof leads others to see greater value in your stuff. Dorie Clark says that “basically, [social proof] means that people look to others around them to judge the value of something. (If a book has 1,000 five-star Amazon reviews, it must be good.)” Can you see how you might leverage this to help build your reputation?
2. Connect to Other Professionals with LinkedIn
LinkedIn is definitely ‘the place’ to connect to people professionally. Just like with Facebook you set up a profile, but the power of LinkedIn comes through your participation in groups that interest you. This is where you show your smarts. You build a following on LinkedIn by following other people and groups, and commenting on their ideas, or in forums, with your ideas. This gets your name out there. As you comment, you build your credibility as an expert in a particular area, and your reputation increase.
3. Write a Blog
Though blogging is not for everyone, blogs are a great way to let the world know what you are thinking on a particular subject and why you are an expert. It takes time to build an audience, but if your posts are on interesting topics and you take the time to research and write clearly, the benefits to your digital presence is worth it. I use this blog (thedigitalattitude.com) as a way to pull all my thoughts together about digital eminence, personal branding, and social project management, and then I link my posts to Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and IBM Connections, to make sure that those people who are following me on different platforms, know what I am thinking today. (Don’t be overwhelmed by the media connections, you can manage the feeds with tools like HootSuite or feedly – but that is for another blog post.)
4. Comment on Other People’s Posts and in Relevant Communities
Being helpful and answering questions in forums and communities is a great way to get known. This may sound like a tease, but you can give just enough information in your answer and then encourage people to contact you through your email, blog, website or other links, so that you start to build a direct relationship. The more you put yourself out in front, the more digitally social you are, the more will come back to you. Trust me – it works (your reading my blog, aren’t you?).
5. Be a Regular On Your Social Media Sites
If you are going to use any of these suggestions to build your digital reputation, do them consistently. I hate when I come upon communities, groups, forums, and blog sites that are woefully outdated. If you are going to have a presence in social media, you need to post regularly or it does you little good. People will lose interest in your posts if your site, or blog, or Twitter feed is outdated. You don’t need to post everyday, 2 or 3 times a week is fine, but you should be doing it regularly.
The internet provides the ability to grow your reputation exponentially, And, based on the concept of Six Degrees of Separation (or the Small World theory) “millions of people are connected by just a few short steps.” (Lovgren, 2010) So what are you waiting for? How are you leveraging your connections?
Tell me what you are doing to grow your reputation?
Keep up the good attitude. See you next blog.
(All the Social Butterfly’s views are her own)
- Community Image from Google Images
- Why the Human is a Social Animal [Report from the 99% Conference], Courney Boyd Meyers, The Next Web, May 5, 2011
- 10 Reasons People Love Social Media, Ken Mueller, Inkling Media, January 6, 2010
- How to Get Others to See Your Potential, Dorie Clark, Harvard Business Review, May 16, 2013
- Six Degrees of E-mail Separate Wired World?, Stefan Lovgren, National Geographic News, October 2010