December 6, 2012 by corinnaziegler
By Corinna Ziegler, MSc in Management Consulting 3 student
Clients seek competent advisors, who will be able to cater to their specific needs through valuable insights, analysis, evaluations, recommendations, and solution findings. As future consultants, we are expected to assist others in self-management, but how do we best manage ourselves in the online world? How important is having thorough understanding of your personal strengths and weaknesses to promote yourself in the best way possible?
In today’s age of social media and networking, managing your brand and virtual business card are essential, often representing the first client contact point. Creating buzz around your branding strategy, builds your social footprint. Similar to traditional off-line marketing, your online strategy needs to promote strengths innovatively to attract attention. Then just how should you leverage today’s social networks to your best advantage?
Clear differentiation needs to be made between professional and personal social networks- most prominent being LinkedIn, or Facebook and Twitter respectively. Although preferences vary among countries, according to Google Trends for Websites for June 2012, Facebook ranked number one in 19 out of 21 countries analysed, with Twitter and LinkedIn sharing second and third places interchangeably.
Among the many benefits of developing your online presence, comes the ability to present your many talents, facets, and strengths in different contexts. Consequently, the type and amount of information to be shared on social media needs to be carefully selected and continously monitored. Facebook and Twitter allow you to utilise multiple accounts, depending on their nature and purpose, thus creating platforms for selected contacts. Finding a balance in-between networks implies sharing the right information with the right audience. LinkedIn allows your connections to endorse and suggest skills you may posess, in addition to providing referrals and recommendations- thus building your credibility. Further points to consider when using LinkedIn, are your profile picture, tag lines, or your resume information and wording, as these should depict you to your utmost advantage.
One limitation to constructing your online presence is the danger of spam and unsolicited, false information being posted about yourself in the virtual world. “Googleling yourself” has become to be a popular practice demonstrating just how well positioned your personal brand is on the world wide web. Furthermore, it allows you to identify potential pitfalls and to counter unwanted information that has been posted- either with or without your consent- with the potential to harm your reputation. On Facebook, for example, security settings allow you to customise your profile to be visible to selected audiences only. Further points to consider are the amount of information posted, such as pictures, comments, or relationship statuses, that could potentially harm your professional online standing if having ‘be-friended’ a client, work collegue, or future employer, and can even become potential sources of discrimination.
By establishing and developing your online presence, you are simultaneously boosting your online network as well. As future consultants, it is necessary to carefully select the type and amount of information shared on different social media sites. In my opinion, a key takeaway is the importance of identifying how to virtually showcase yourself in the best way possible through effective communication of your personal and professional unique selling proposiiton in a dynamic online environment.