If you kept up with our last blog series, you’ll remember that we capped that post with the advice that you should join us in the digital age, promote yourself online!
This isn’t an idle call to action—an online presence is vital to the success of your business.
Don’t believe us? Well, according to “A Nation of Shopkeepers,” 10% of customers are deterred by businesses without any mobile/online presence. And the problem with having no web presence yourself is that you can bet most of your competitors pomote:
- In 2012, reports showed that 60% of Fortune 500 companies were active across platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
- Fast forward just two years, and now 80% utilise these social media platforms, not to mention the whopping 97% of companies active on LinkedIn.
If you don’t already have a foothold on the internet, those numbers can be daunting. So, if you feel like a fish out of water or if you’re already computer savvy, but looking for more tips on how to promote yourself on the web, this article’s for you.
1. Get Established
“Social media is a primary vehicle of communication today, and because much of that communication is public, it’s no surprise some recruiters and hiring managers are tuning in,” Rosemary Haefner, HR vice president at CareerBuilder, told Forbes.
So, with so many people looking on, where do you start?
- Identify key platforms. LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter continue to be relevant, but these past few years have also seen a huge spike in Pinterest and Foursquare users. Keep up with current trends, especially if they complement your business (e.g. if you’re an artist, display some of your art on Pinterest).
- Promote your brand. This can be as literal as developing a logo and sales pitch, or as simple as identifying what you want to get out of your business. Maybe you want to sell the best pastries in the UK or deliver a carpentry service that outstrips your competitors when it comes to detail and passion. Personal branding is an important step in marketing yourself.
- Build relevant profiles. Treat these websites like snapshot CVs. Write professional profiles that identify you, your passions, your trade, and your job history. Be sure to tailor your information to the medium, too. For example LinkedIn allows you to wax on about your expertise, whereas Twitter is designed for brevity.
2. First Contact
Next, you need to overcome your internet agoraphobia and start to build and promote your network:
- Connect with every professional acquaintance you can think of on LinkedIn—especially former employers or customers who might give you endorsements. LinkedIn is also a great way to keep track of potential work in your field.
- Follow people on Twitter, especially companies that might come calling for the services you offer. Give clients shout outs and greet them by tweeting something @theirusername. Participate in discussions that are relevant to your vocation.
- Join Facebook groups that relate to your industry, and send out a notice to your friends and family that you’re up for hire.
3. Sell (and promote) Yourself
The more tempting advice here is “be creative,” but that might be more or less relevant depending on your industry. The more important message ties back into your branding: communicate your business’s M.O. and sell your personality.
A great way to do this is with a blog. Where tweeting your own content exclusively and never retweeting others comes across as narcissistic, a blog gives you free rein and lets you gather your thoughts in one place. WordPress, Blogger, and Tumblr are all popular options.
If you find the thought of maintaining a blog daunting, try turning it into tool that will promote your knowledge in your field. Blog about recent work, compare and contrast related brands, and maybe write simple “how-to” posts that will generate some interest and establish you as an expert.
You can use also use different platforms to showcase different aspects of your personality: LinkedIn might display your professional acumen, while your personality shines through on Facebook. Play to the strengths of each medium while marketing yourself.
4. Separate Business and Pleasure
A small, but important note, especially if you already use social media personally, is to keep your business accounts separate.
According to Forbes, 34% of employers perusing social media sites have rejected candidates based on their profiles. Reasons for this range from inappropriate photos, to evidence of drug/alcohol use, to a demonstrated inability to communicate clearly.
Haefner offers some more sage advice: “If you choose to share content publicly on social media, make sure it’s working to your advantage. Take down or secure anything that could potentially be viewed by an employer as unprofessional and share content that highlights your accomplishments and qualifications in a positive way.”
5. Nurture Your Network
Don’t relentlessly self-promote and hound other people with your sales pitch. Instead, focus on building your name and reputation. Positive word-of-mouth from your contacts will go a long way.
Make sure that you’re engaging with others in your industry when you’re online. When you find content that relates to your industry, make sure that you reply to those blog articles, retweet that content, or “like” those Facebook posts. Establish yourself as a fixture in the industry, and show that you’re active and conscious of the people around you.
Also, remember that referrals are the lifeblood of your business. You never know when someone who has used your service might have need of you again or pass your information on to a friend.
Visit our QuickBooks Self-Employed page for more resources on the challenges of working for yourself.