We have embraced the computer, and we have embraced digital networking. We are connecting with each other online with unprecedented enthusiasm. However, you need to be careful.
This topic is not only highly relevant in today’s career market; it is right on the money. If not done properly, it impacts our ability to land that dream job and connect with the right people.
Times have changed. Gone are the days when I started networking –100% non-digital. My networking started in university, and consisted mostly of personal meetings, going to events and phone calls – skills that are far from out of date. Maggie told us that digital networking on its own is not enough. Personal networking and events like this are essential.
Today, it’s possible to research any person, company, group or product that may come into your network. Resources are abundant like search engines, websites, social media sites, blogs, email and more. Hence, career building now also involves the creation of a personal brand; a digital, personal brand.
“We are CEOs of our own companies,” said Fox. It’s “ME Inc.”
She explained how Facebook can represent a digital brand in one’s transition to a professional life, that LinkedIn is one’s professional resume, and that blogs and Twitter are used more pointedly for thought leadership. The stratum has sorted itself out to be this (for now).
And she warned against the danger of a too-personal Facebook posting or an off the cuff remark in an online thread which can negatively add to your digital brand. Ouch. Filter the personal stuff to just your inner circle through staying abreast and using privacy settings.
Today, it’s paramount to manage the message.
For example, it’s important to establish an online domain in your name. Fox offered the tip of using Namechk.com to determine if your name has been taken across an array of social media sites. “In addition to using marketing to communicate your brand, you are also the curator and cultivator, and you have to also manage your own disclosure,” said Fox.
What I also found relevant was Fox’s points about consistency. Choose one professional photo and use it consistently. Further, keep a “consistent presence on networks”, she said, including your photo, but also in terms of contributions offering your points of views on topics and being sincere about your areas of expertise (i.e. not offering a laundry list of areas of expertise while your experience demonstrates just a couple).
There’s value in one’s personal brand on so many levels. For example, Fox conveyed that “those with more than 20 connections on LinkedIn are much more likely to find a job.” Further, Fox presented IBM research data that calculated monetary value for one’s network, stating that roughly “each person in your contact list is ‘worth’ $948 to your employer, and execs are worth $6,395”.*
Your digital brand is worth something, today. Maybe even everything in your professional life. However, while it’s important to personally nurture your digital brand it’s ultimately through in person connections and human contact that brings the most value to everyone.
The good old handshake, eye contact and a smile always works the best. While our world changes by the minute, some things will never change. Thank goodness.
* In response to my query Maggie provided the source for this research. It is:
New Language of Marketing 2.0, 2009
Value of Social Network – A Large Scale Analysis on Network Structure, Impact to Financial Revenue of
Information Technology Consultants, 2009