In today’s world, if you have no online presence, you may as well be invisible. And if you’re hiding your real self on social media – the same applies.
Ghandi said, “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
I would now add to that, “First they hear about you on the internet…”
Do you risk the death of your business by invisibility? From phone books to the internet, times have changed. But have you kept up?
When I started my business in 1998, I arranged to have myself listed in the local telephone books, Sydney White Pages and the Yellow Pages. Wherever you live, there will be a local version of the same. There it was, proudly in bold (purchased at an extra cost) on the greying ‘white’ page.
Anyone who had a business wanted to be in those phone books. This was very important. People needed to be able to find you. Occasionally we’d see a TV story about people who went out of business, because their listing didn’t run in the local phone book.
It was death by invisibility.
Today, the phone books don’t matter so much. We have an online presence. But, I hear people say, “I’m not online. There’s too much out there already.”
I’m thinking about how many people I know who have left jobs, many reluctantly, and struck out alone in the past year. Australia has become the land of the self-employed. Every one of us needs an online presence or our businesses will experience death by invisibility.
And the magic – or peril – of this online world, is it’s interactive. You’re not just a phone book listing anymore. You’re a photo, your opinions, knowledge and wisdom. You are also how you relate to others.
I speak every day to solo self-employed people and small business owners. I notice they are especially values driven.
And yet, as we create an online presence, we seem to hide who we are, what we believe or know and the experiences we’ve had. We don’t know how to bring our authentic selves, our knowledge and, especially, our values online. It’s as if the very thoughts and actions that would demonstrate our wisdom and potential industry leadership, are the very things we hide.
So it’s time to stop hiding! Here are three suggestions to bring you back out into the open and create an online presence!
1. It’s called social media, so let’s be social
Let your social media behaviour reflect your everyday life and values. If you’re fantastic at championing others,creating introductions and connecting friends, then do the same online. If you’re great at keeping abreast of trends and innovations – then do more of that and share what you find.
2. Share more about what you’re up to
If you’re overseas looking at new architecture, take photos and show us. If you’re at a workshop listening to a respected author, tell us what you think about it. Talk to us on social media in the same way you would at the office the next day.
3. Imagine you’re at a cocktail party
Social media is like that fantastic opening cocktail night party at the annual conference you’ve waited for all year. Everyone is there! Here’s the guy whose book you read – tell him how much you loved it. There’s the woman you went to uni with who now runs an aligned business – make sure you say ‘hi’. There are probably half a dozen other people you’re keen to say hi to … so, say hi!
Stop thinking about how to not be yourself. The online world values authenticity and social participation. This is how you and your business can come out of hiding and reveal who you really are.
How have you come out of invisibility to keep your business alive and create an online presence?