Ways you can promote yourself, your experience, skills and insights internally and externally! You need to do your own PR
Working the system. Playing the game. Managing up. Networking. Whatever you want to call it – selling yourself within your own business is an important skill to have up your sleeve. You know how much of an asset it can be when you see others get promoted, ahead of people you believe are more deserving. The whole “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” is alive and well; what has changed is the importance of your internal profile building, versus what you do in the public sphere.
Politics and alliances within the organisation are not just a slimy tactic used by those with no talent, they’re also used by good operators who understand that their abilities are unlikely to be naturally noticed (at least in a reasonable amount of time) without self-promotion. With the perpetuation of social networking however, managing out is as critical as managing up. Your individual, external brand has never been more under the spotlight. It’s not a matter of your internal image being irrelevant now, but certainly the scales have shifted somewhat and getting that next promotion doesn’t just depend on where your allegiances are amongst your colleagues. You can bet your boss pays an equal amount of attention to who you’re aligned to and speaking with on Twitter and Linkedin. If they’re not now, they will – because they certainly should.
The good news is, there are common ways you can promote yourself, your experience, skills and insights internally and externally!
Own conversations: You can’t network in isolation, but you have to start somewhere. Ever thought about linking your unique position to commonly used forums to show leadership through partnership? What I mean is #s are great ways to find communities. Creating one that only you use is silly, but it can be an anchor point. I recently registered #commspro with TWUBs for people interested in discussing ‘communication’. It is a site with a directory that helps promote events and groups to encourage conversation, while protecting trademarks. Anyone can register a hashtag, share it or embed it on their own site.
Join Groups and participate: It really irks me the number of people joining Linkedin groups but never joining discussions. This is an outstanding way to build relationships with people who share similar passions to you. By design, it’s supposed to be magnetic. It’s certainly not meant to be passive. Put in another way; Ps get Degrees, but you know that you don’t get as much in your education if you sit silently in the lecture theatre. The same goes in the online world, where your individual brand is on display for all to see. Flying under the radar isn’t an option if you want to successfully enhance your position. Your Social Capital is dependent on its connectedness and the viscosity of those relationships.
Get global: Leverage international relationships. Just as your brand isn’t measured by it’s internal weight alone, it isn’t contained within the context of one geographic space. Don’t think just because your paid responsibilities are defined by your work within one country, your dialogue with parties outside those borders doesn’t matter. I think the best thing about social media is the fact that it decentralises. Engage with the experts, no matter where they are. That is what best practice sharing is all about.
Make introductions: Keep your eye out and volunteer connections. This is perhaps the best way to bring together what you are doing externally, internally. When you can introduce your boss to people and opportunities that add value to their life, you enhance your credibility markedly. You may have heard content is king and are therefore concerned because you don’t have enough of it. You might even think because you don’t have ‘the right content’, you’re best off watching from the sidelines. This is nonsense. Don’t get paralysis by analysis. Blogger, journalist and author Cory Doctorow says, “content isn’t king. If I sent you to a desert island and gave you the choice of taking your friends or your movies, you’d choose your friends – if you chose the movies, we’d call you a sociopath. Conversation is king. Content is just something to talk about.” Hard to argue with that! We know that potential employers, customers and staff do social media checks on you prior to connecting. As a result people tend to focus on and worry about any dirt that could be uncovered. I’d be more concerned with them finding nothing at all. Being absent is the worst kind of sin in social media. It means you have no brand at all. If the word ‘networking’ is just too scary for you, replace it with ‘chatting’. Anyone can chat. It’s the seed of content; the kernel of a relationship – valuable to you, and those you work with!
– My name is Aaron Crowther. Follow me on Twitter @ascommstweeter