Last Thursday, March 27th, I had the great opportunity to be seminar leader at Destination U, a very dynamic event created and hosted by The MI Network. This amazing three session workshop was all about giving attendees the tools they needed to find direction in their lives.
What do you use when you need directions and you’re on the road? You use a GPS. If you happen to be in the process of creating change in your life, you can also use a GPS. In this case, GPS stands for Goals, Positioning and Systems.
My portion of the presentation focused on Positioning, and that’s what I’m sharing with you today.
Positioning You – Starts with You
When was last time you Googled yourself? You need to know what other people will see when they look for you. This is information that has a direct impact on your career path or the success of your company. If it’s not favorable or accurate, you have a problem.
Some people have extremely common names – there are 632,000 Google results for Sally Smith, including the CEO of Buffalo Wild Wings, a super talented artist, and a best-selling historian – and that presents additional problems. If that’s the case for you, Google your name as well as what you’d like to be known for. If that’s still not producing any results, try Googling yourself plus the area of the country in which you live.
Pay particular attention to what social media sites show up in your Google search. The MySpace account you set up when you were 13 may still be out there. Is that really what you want your customers to see? It’s time for the next step: the Social Audit.
Step 1: Give Yourself a Social Audit
After you’re done Googling yourself, you’re going to have a list of all of the social media sites on which you can be found. Decide what needs to stay and what definitely has to go. (So long, teenage MySpace account!)
Then it’s time to clean up the social media sites you’re keeping. Make a list of what needs to be fixed. Here are a few items to look at:
- Your photo should be the same or similar across all the platforms.
- Your current and past information should be consistent on all platforms.
- Check your platforms and understand how people see your content when logged in and out of each site.
When you’re done with your audit and you have cleaned-up all your social media be sure to create a sheet that has all your logins and passwords. You might want to use an app like Evernote or SplashID Safe.
Step 2: What’s Your Message
Now that you have a clear idea of what platforms you’re on, and have your profiles cleaned up, it’s time to focus on what you’re actually going to say. People need a clear, coherent messaging strategy. How will friends or other connections remember you if you do not have a focused message?
If you’re looking for a new position or opportunities, adjust your profiles to focus on this goal and message. Next start sharing items with purpose and mention in your posts what you’re seeking. People aren’t mind readers. You need to talk about what you want to accomplish. Remember, we all get wrapped up in our own lives and your connections want to help – they just need to be reminded in creative ways to think about you when opportunities come up.
Step 3: Pick Your Platforms
Personally I think everyone in business should have a LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is the primary professional social media platform. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, or would like to be in – your current and future colleagues and connections are on LinkedIn.
Google+ is also rapidly gaining ground as a networking tool. Twitter’s reach is primarily among the young, while Facebook is skewing older. No matter what social media platforms you choose, take the time to familiarize yourself with how they work to make sure you’re getting the most out of these tools. Explore and participate in groups: this is how you build the connections that will strengthen your personal brand.
Check the Map Often
When you’re on a long road trip, you’ll look at your GPS regularly to make sure you’re still headed where you want to go. When you’re building your career, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your positioning to make sure it continually reflects who you are and who you want to be.