21 October 2020

Taking care of online visibility: enforcing the network through personal branding 

Author: Fabrizio Liponi, International Part Time MBA student 

The key to success for every business is the ability to achieve a sustainable competitive advantage. In a nutshell, a company’s customers should perceive a higher value delivered than if they were to look for the same ̶ be it a product or service ̶ in a competitors’ offering.

Now, picture applying the same concept to us professionals, therefore seeing ourselves as businesses. In this case, the products and services we have to offer are our hard and soft skills, experiences, values and opinions. The target market – our preferred customers – are personal or professional contacts, as well as the networks and organizations with which we want to be involved.

But how do we reach out to them in the most effective way? How do we communicate and show what we have got? How do we stand out against our competitors? 

Well, given today’s trends ̶ which have been strengthened by the challenges brought on by the recent pandemic ̶ most professional, educational and networking activities and exchanges are taking place on the internet via online platforms and services providers. These have become the go-to medium for anything we need: from a conference call at work to a last-minute delivery of our dinner.

This is why having a strong and tailored online visibility is paramount to being found, but also to finding.

As a student at MIP I receive constant support from the Career Development Office staff, who help me in bettering my online presence by delivering interesting seminars, training and one-to-one meetings with recruiters and HR professionals on the topic. Among MIP’s wide-ranging offering, I recall finding extremely helpful the webinar held on personal branding strategies. The latter helped me reconsider my online presence and start taking good care of it.

The development of a personal brand is crucial for standing out in a crowd of experienced professionals. Moreover, while our colleagues and friends can experience our potential “live”, the vast majority of the customers we want to engage with lies outside our first-hand network.

In order to communicate effectively the value we can deliver to our potential “customers”, we must have a strategy in place. Thanks to all the training on the matter I have changed my perspective: it is not about what you want to say, instead focus on what you’d like to hear if you were your customer.

At the beginning, set who are the contacts of the network you would like to build. Then, figure out what those people would like to find in their network. Next, understand how to manage your value to achieve your target. Eventually, go online and start to put your plan into action.

First step: our online visibility’s journey begins on a search engine. If someone wants to know more about us, they will look us up on the internet. If our name+surname returns “no results”, our potential contact is immediately lost. So make sure you have an online presence linked to your main interests.

Please note: the internet keeps track of everything, including what we wouldn’t like our potential boss to know. Therefore, a periodic check of our activities online helps greatly in avoiding uncomfortable situations as well as conforming the first glance of the final picture we want to convey.

Second step: a wise and strategic use of social media is paramount. Our profile page on social media is the front door for accessing our online persona: are we taking care of it? Choosing a proper profile picture and the right keywords to describe ourselves and our competencies draws the line between being ignored and emerging.
Please note: via social media you foster meaningful interactions: be careful with comments on posts, remember to stay coherent with the set strategy and what the targeted audience expects. This allows us to show strengths and experience. Stay professional.

Third step: publishing content moves us on the frontline. By posting on our personal blogs/websites or social media pages, we aim to attract prospects and leads, build credibility and enforce trust. If we don’t aspire to be perceived as experts, sharing content with a personal comment is often enough.

Please note: posting content is the icing on the cake. Make sure this is done carefully and is linked to communicating the particular and unique value that we can deliver. We must be aware of the purpose we want to convey. We must provide a consistent picture with everything we say, do and write.

Last tip: be patient. We should nurture an effective online visibility as farmers nurture their crops. We plow with credibility, we seed connections, we nurture and grow relationships, we aim to harvest opportunities of cooperation, be it professional collaborations, job offers or entrepreneurial initiatives.

21 October 2020

No article found