If you are an entrepreneur looking to sell your skills to a wider audience, it might help you to learn some marketing skills. No one particularly enjoys self-promotion and it can feel daunting at first, but it is an absolutely essential part of running a business (which could just be selling your skills) in a modern economy. If you can create a branded image of what you sell and who you are professionally, you can stand out from competitors in your field. At the end of the day, word-of-mouth will always be the best way to promote yourself.
The trick is to find out where people are having their conversations these days and then work your way in to make yourself heard.
Most of us spend a good amount of time each day engaging with each other on social media. It is quite literally a new way for people to connect in a largely urbanized world that doesn’t allow for much free time and socializing. But you shouldn’t just dive blindly in; here are some tips to use social media to build your personal brand.
- It is a really good idea to create a presence on the main social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
- Learn to use each site optimally (you wouldn’t necessarily tweet in the same way as you would update a Facebook status), as each platform allows slightly different interaction, and learn to use media across the different platforms. Branding yourself as a thought leader in your field means you have to be professional at all times, and never engage with trolls.
- Make sure that you update your pages or status regularly with relevant and interesting information. Followers will soon grow bored of too much boring information or a page that hardly ever has anything new on it. Make sure that you engage your followers when you use social media; Answer their questions, and retweet or like their good ideas. Nobody likes being talked at they like to be talked with.
- Link your pages with your website and make sure you use interesting and varying media on, for example, photos, videos, and blogs, etc. Most people respond well to a broad web presence when they feel engaged and interested.
- Most importantly, make sure that your contact details are up to date and that potential clients can contact you in more than one way.
Once you have honed your skills and grown a following on the web, it might be worth getting your name out there in other forms of media. Here’re two quick tips:
- Speak to your local radio station about doing a one-off advice spot about your field of expertise. Approach local newspapers about writing a column, or start wooing a magazine journalist about conducting an interview that focuses on your skills.
- It is also a good idea to look for opportunities to engage an audience at events where people are likely to be interested in your advice and skills. For example, if you are an expert yogi who can offer advice on aspects of healthy living, you can approach a local organic market or store with a dedicated customer base to collaborate on an event that could benefit both the shop and yourself. The experience you gain doing this will be very valuable to your future and you will have a great opportunity to network with like-minded individuals.
Don’t be shy!
Self-promotion doesn’t come naturally to most of us. It is important to separate your personal self from your professional self to make it easier. Sometimes it can help to imagine that you are an actor playing the part of the “wonderful” version of yourself that you are hoping will encourage future clients to buy into your brand. Completing a course in marketing might also go a long way in boosting your confidence.
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Mark Montoya has been working in personal branding for more than a decade for hundreds of online and offline companies, small businesses and individual service professionals. His focus has been toward improving the way jobseekers find employment on the Internet. He has synthesized his expertise by helping job seekers obtain their ideal choice of employment over the Internet on his sites MyOnlineCareerSpace.com and MyOnlineCareerCoach.com, and through his books 101 Tips Every Job Seeker Should Know and The Ultimate Online Job Search eBook.
“It is the responsibility of the individual to reject the prospect of mediocrity and to strive for the betterment of society as a whole” ~ Mark Montoya