COMM0014 – Blog #5 – Experience is what sets me apart.

I am an artist that likes to wear a tie, the quiet gentlemen that listen to metal music. I am the pacific guy that trains to fight every week and a couch-potato that runs ultra marathons. I am patient and easily gets excited with new projects. When you hire me, you are not only getting a photographer, you get a partner that will help you realize your project and document it in a way that will write history, your story.

My experience is what sets me apart. I had the honour of working as the official photographer to the Governor General for 4 years (2007 to 2010) and, now, I continue to work as a photographer, documenting our Mounties.

I have photographed countless of historical events, including a number of state visits, the Olympics in Vancouver, the aftermath of the Earthquake in Haiti and our troops in Afghanistan. I got to bring my camera to over 26 countries and most of our own country and to photograph many known and unknown personalities.

One thing that I am the most proud of is the exhibit that I had the pleasure of putting together for Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada. Click here to see it. 

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This panel explains what the exhibit is about and a little more about me.

Considering that I continue to be staff photographer for our federal police, I am fortunate that I do not need to promote myself very aggressively. It fits well with my brand, to be discreet and make noise with my megapixels.

Growing a Business for Free

Can you grow your brand through only Instagram?

It is crazy how much a click of a button can accomplish, allowing you to interact with your audience without being present. Companies are able to make a single post, and increase their growth, and make profits in just minutes.

Ashley Carman, a journalist for The Verge, writes her article Instagram now has 1 billion users worldwide. She discusses the rapid growth Instagram has accumulated in 2018 after their in-office announcement of hitting 1billon active users.

This allows large or smaller companies to take full advantage of these growths for their own improvement and development. Companies can increase attraction to their pages and bring awareness with simple interactive media posts.

There are many different ways Instagram allows you to interact and connect with your followers:

Tags

There are many ways you can use tags, from tagging other people, trending hashtags, or getting people to tag their friends in different contests. Instagram gives you man options for using tags, depending how you use it to your advantage. Hashtag’s have always been a key component for bringing awareness to a central topic, but recently brands have come up with new tactics that have proven to bring in more traffic.

Contests have been trending through people’s timelines, getting people to tag friends, like their photo, follow their page, like their page, or even repost them for a chance to win a prize. Normally people are not willing to take their time unless it is for a cause, so this helps push people to promote your brand for you while you sit back and all you had to do is make a single post.

Swipe Up!

This tactic is great if you are wanting to share something with your followers that you are not able to on Instagram; whether it be selling merchandise, a link to your newest video, or a link to your blog, you are able to link anything you would like that would interest you followers. It allows you to post a summary or idea on your story and your followers can decide whether they are willing to take the time to swipe up or skip by.

Recently I noticed personal bloggers re-posting their pictures to their story and have a swipe up link to the photo posted on their Instagram, using this strategy to gain more traction and likes to build their brand!

Make a Poll

Making polls is not so much for increasing traction but it does help you understand your followers and consumers. This option allows brands to take the time to see what their followers and consumers are looking for, for example: A company cannot decide if they want to launch their new product in blue or green… well with only a few clicks, the company is able to create a poll to allow their consumers to decide for them. Based off the results they can successfully create items they know their customers would enjoy.

Ask for Feedback

Feedback is a huge factor for all companies, involving Instagram of not, your feedback from your clients is the most important thing of any company because that shapes your reputation as a brand. Instagram now allows people to post a question or a statement and people are able to reply and voice their opinion to the person, brand or company and it can be completely anonymous.

Collab with Influencers

Now this is the BIGGEST tactic most larger brands use, this would not be considered free either. Companies pay influences hundreds to thousands of dollars to promote their brands through your favourite influencers. It is the most effective way to get influencers that people look up to and have them sell your brand to all their following. If your favourite model, actress, or singer tells you to buy it, chances are high… you will probably end up buying it. Especially when many of these influencers are given discount codes and you THINK you are saving money.

Source: BUSINESS OF APPS

Social media gives us such a diverse and proactive platform that can be taken full advantage of. Brand’s now do not have to pay thousands to advertise or start up their brand’s on TV or on the radio because Instagram offers so many features to allow you to spark your growth and become a reputable brand with multiple free features, and low prices to sponsor or promote your posts if you decide to do so.

Facebook:

Want to know how to grow a business for free? Take a look at my blog! https://bit.ly/2FP2rjS

Twitter:

Want to know how to grow a business for free? #insta #socialmedia #instgram #branding #company https://bit.ly/2FP2rjS

References:

A Trip to the Brainery

A few weeks ago, two friends and I made the trek to Westboro to take a course at the Westboro Brainery. The Westboro Brainery is run out of the Dovercourt Recreation Centre, and offers inexpensive courses on a wide variety of topics, from baking to B-horror movie appreciation. As the Brainery’s website explains, it “is a citizen-led affair…classes are determined by YOU, the public. You come to us with your idea, and provided it meets the basic criteria, you have yourself a class.” The variety of courses on offer also underscores the value of having niche skills and expertise – as Roxanne Hori says in “The Importance of Managing Your Personal Brand”, “just because your attributes don’t seem special to you, doesn’t mean they aren’t valuable to others”.

The course that we registered for was “Introduction to Crocheting”, led by the Unplugged Crocheter. The instructor explained in her introduction to the class that she works in social media, and that she took up crocheting one Christmas when she was broke and needed cheap gifts. She taught herself entirely from watching Youtube videos, and became so adept at it that she ended up creating a side business out of crafting. She also explained that (as others in COM0011 have explored in discussions about digital detox) being constantly connected to social media personally and professionally was wearing her out. Crocheting offered her a way to disconnect and find balance. Having tried to find out more about the instructor beyond the Unplugged Crocheter Facebook page linked above, it seems to me that she really takes this disconnection seriously – she doesn’t appear to do any promotion of her crocheting business outside of a Facebook page, and the page doesn’t link to her on any other platforms personally or professionally.

My fellow Brainers

My fellow Brainers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While the Unplugged Crocheter was indeed unplugged, the lesson itself was very much plugged-in. A staffer from the Brainery was on hand to help participants as we inevitably struggled with our yarn and hooks, and also live-tweeted the event through the Brainery’s Twitter account. I thought this was an interesting idea, but the photos that accompanied the tweets were less than dynamic – this might be something they can improve upon.

Westboro Brainery Twitter feed

Westboro Brainery Twitter feed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As for the lesson itself, as a knitter, I expected to pick up crocheting easily. Not so much. My square washcloth somehow turned back on itself and ended up looking like a deformed bean. But, in the spirit of 10,000 hours, I thought I’d try again.

So, how did I do? Check out the video below to find out!

…I call it a qualified success.

What do you do offline to balance your online lifestyle? Have you tried taking up any new skills to bolster your offline existence? Also, are there any video editing apps for Android that you recommend? This was my first time making a video on my phone, and I used the built-in Video Editor app. It’s not bad, but I found it a bit hard to make minute-to-minute edits.

COM 0015 – Assignment 5 – Event Participation

Professional Development 2-for-1: that’s how it happened for me….

      Trying to figure out what would be the best professional development ‘EVENT’ was a tricky one.  Where do I go? What do I do?  What do I say about it?  So… I did two events in one  day… and lived to tell the tale: in blog format, no less. 🙂

      For years now, I’ve been working towards pursuing a career as a freelance superhero, writer and possibility creator.  An active part of the Ottawa Writing Circle’s Meetup group, I have attended several of their workshops, social mixers and I finally decided to venture out of my comfort zone to see what their OWC WRITE IN event had to offer.  I have always been a very solitary figure as a writer.  True, I’ve had my share of group writing and editing opportunities over the years, but this opportunity was a little bit different.

When I met up with our coordinator, Averill (@averillelisa), there were two more participants pecking away at their respective writing projects.  Prior to our meeting, I had mentioned the event on Twitter– Thank you @Averillelisa for giving me my first Twitter conversation in real-time!!  Not only did we mention each other by Twitter id: it also gave me an opportunity to learn new conversation skills with someone who actually Twitter talked back.

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The write-in group included such writing personalities as Averill Eisa Frankes (bottom left w/ me), Alexandra, Ariel, Belle Alvine, James W. Cook, Michelle Human, Nick HJ, Sanna, Tamara and me.  (all mentioned are profile names for our Meetup Ottawa Writer’s Circle Group)

      Writers periodically dropped in and introduced themselves and we did have a discreet ongoing conversation; politely asking how it was going when we caught someone blankly staring at their screen. Averill did forewarn me that there were no outlets or wifi at the world exchange plaza foodcourt, so I had made a game plan in advance. I went with my trusty fully charged MacBook Pro and I used my iPhone to call up any images that I needed to play with. Airdropping stuff from my phone to my computer has become a regular practice for me— way less grunt-work!

“Can’t edit a blank page,” is one token of writerly wisdom that Averill left me with: short, sweet and to the point.

       Same day, different location…

45 minutes after leaving the world exchange food-court?  Yeah… I managed to haul myself and my amazing computer all the way home with a quick, portable fre-fab food that I picked up at Sobey’s with roughly 5 minutes to spare.

       When I initially signed up for this online event, I thought that it might have video or some sort of interactive discussion.  They’d been reminding me via text and email and I’d even built it into my calendar as a backup.   I’ve done a whole lot of reading of a whole lot of books and listened to audiotapes with these fine fellows.  Luminaries and philosophers and authors all rolled into one: they have distinctively different appreciation for social media.

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So, I rushed home and plugged my trusty MacBook pro into my television so I could see everything hi-def… and then, it turned out that their ‘BEAUTIFUL CHAOS: How to find meaning in a messy world’ (link for encore presentation) was audio only via internet that combined the sharing power of Deepak Chopra with Eckhart Tolle’s Power of Being perspective.  Bummer.I sucked it up and listened and took notes anyway.  The simplicity of the presentation worked well: zero technical glitches or distractions throughout.

Common narratives revolved around the power of transformation on the other side of catastrophe and their usual ‘this is how you can build power from powerless’ mantra.  The one super interesting part of their presentation talked about the tole of social media in our society at large and how it can be used to make a positive impact.

Eckart made an interesting analogy to Narcissus, touching on the superficial, facade based practices of social media.  Admittedly, he doesn’t really use it much at all.  On the other side of the coin, Deepak Chopra sees the power in social media for human creativity: becoming  “a catalyst for collective awakening.”  He brought an interesting perspective to the conversation.  Talking about the power of luminaries to share their knowledge and experience with the world, Deepak sees social media as the opportunity to have more luminaries present on the world-stage.

Left exhausted and inspired by the onslaught of creative input and my own interpretation of how challenging and rewarding this social media rich, professional developmental day could be for me: my plans for a luminescent empowering career path took shape.  I’m continually proving to myself that I am willing to try the impossible.  Let’s face it, in my world ‘Impossible’ is what a scaredy cat says when confronted with something that seems too big to conquer.  Giving up the ‘im’ part of that equation is what transformation is all about–

Transform the IMPOSSIBLE into a POSSIBILITY!!

 

 

 

COM0015 – Assignment 1 -Blog 4 – Out of the Box

Combining everything that we already knew about SOCIAL MEDIA with all the cases we’ve studied and all the best tools that are to be had: it feels like I’m only ever getting half-way to a solution.  Before starting this program, I thought I had a hunch about a few tools and programs out there in the real world of business meets social media… but.. wait a minute: ‘Things are changing… how will I ever keep up?’

LISTENING + LEARNING + STAYING IN ACTION  = keep to keeping up with trends and generating new ways of looking at the world through the lens of #SocialMediaMeetsBusiness.

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So what do I hope to accomplish with social media?  Is it working? Well, I’m constantly learning new tricks.

From what I gather, I’m using platforms that are suited to my particular field and/or project(s.)  I’m learning from others about the varied style of communication using social media = the ins and outs of sharing your message.  What works for some people is worth a try but it might not quite work for me.  I guess it’s all a question of finding a style and sticking to it..

GOING MOBILE?  Here are a few tools that might come in handy…

I’m always looking for social media inspiration: taking free webinars and online courses.  I have found a whole bunch of useful information about how mobile apps come into play

Instagram can house short videos… Hilary Rushford, of Dean Street Society, hosted a webinar called: ‘Doubling Your Instagram Following.’

Distributing a free workbook, her program talked about free tools for editing and posting images on Instagram.

VSCO CAM = where you add a photo to your library and she talked us through using the editing tools.

@HilaryRushford also talked about the PERISCOPE App = live mobile video streaming; which works really well when you’re sharing content on a road trip, from various locations.

Another useful tool that I’ve grown to love is HOOTSUITE Suggestions...

Right from my iPhone, I am able to call up HOT TOPICS that I can easily share on my Twitter and Facebook accounts.

FYI>> It gives you THREE topics to search for and you can assign unlimited accounts… so make sure that you tweak the settings before posting on multiple accounts.  Be #strategic in what you post and where.  Double check your postings on each platform to catch anything that goes wrong.  If in doubt, delete and give it another try.  Skill takes practice.

Puzzled by PINNING?

PINTEREST is a social media platform that would appear to have limited application to business… but Melanie Duncan’s webinar gave me a whole bunch of information about optimizing this platform to steer traffic from PINS back to your company site.

> The type of material you PIN is part of the formula.  Inforgraphics are the most popular format (they spread like wild fire.)

Melanie also suggest the following tools:

PICMonkey =  Protecting your content with a watermark

Easily creating infographics = www.infogr.am

Getting a Pinterest tab for your Facebook Page = www.woobox.com/pinterest

Pinterest stuff = Courtesy of Melanie Duncan (www.powerofpinning.com/course

> The BLOGEME poster thingy I built (featured image)  still lives on scribd.com which I’ve embedded on my personal blog (backdoor access = click expand button on bottom corner) http://ow.ly/MFQx302Y1sy

500 Followers

I work for Models International Management (MIM) here in Ottawa. This work environment is hugely based around image and branding, not only of our company, but our models within our company. One of my main roles at MIM is to control the social media accounts. Out of all the different kinds of social media out there, the best one we find for our company is Instagram! Multi-Color_Logo_thumbnail200By being able to share photos of our models and jobs that they are doing we are able to promote our business and drive in new clientele. However, what I am finding is that I can’t balance my work Instagram (@mimmodels) and my personal Instagram (@megfuger) accounts. I spend hours a day on MIM’s Instagram account, increasing its followers, promoting it, making sure each picture is getting enough likes, and that our branding is on point. And at the end of every day, I get home and I am exhausted, and I can’t even begin to think about my own personal Instagram account!

I have decided this year of 2016 that I will increase my personal following base! This number may seem low to many people, but I would love to get my followers up to 500! Baby steps folks, baby steps… today 500 tomorrow 1000. Currently I am sitting at a comfortable 420 followers.  My job is to talk to my models about the importance of social media and how it brands you, (for them, they are their own brand), however I do not practice what I preach… So I thought I would share knowledge that I have come across by researching on the internet, and hopefully actually putting these into place in my own accounts:

  1. Make sure your Instagram and Facebook accounts are connected; by doing this you will increase your followers, also make sure your followers know what they can expect by following you.
  2. Like 100’s of random pictures from people in your target audience; the more you like and the more you comment, the higher your chances are of getting more followers. Neil Patel, found that for every 100 photos he liked, he generated 21.7 more likes on his photos, and 6.1 more followers. Also he didn’t have to follow the user back, by also liking photos outside of your general circle of friends, you will increase your outside followers.
  3. Use popular hashtags; Some of the tags that I like, and are trending at the moment are (picked my favourite hashtags from this site):
    1. #love
    2. #instagood
    3. #me
    4. #tbt
    5. #photooftheday
    6. #happy
    7. #selfie
  4. Post at the correct time; Damon Beres shows us that the best time to post is 2am, 5pm and 11pm. Why? Because most Instagram users are on Instagram at that time and are engaged. I believe 2am is important because for me one of the first things I do in the morning when I wake up is check all my social media sites, so of course the person who posted at 2am is in my feed and getting a like or a follow.
  5. Make your post more personal and about your lifestyle; people want to live through everyone else, you know what they say the grass is always greener on the other side. Well I feel that is the same for Instagram, you want to live like everyone else, so I enjoy seeing a meaningful post then anything else.
  6. Edit your account to leave only the best images; probably once a month I go through my Instagram and delete any images that didn’t get many likes, or aren’t true to my personal branding.
  7. Make sure your bio is complete; make sure to use relevant keywords, hashtags, a bit about what they will see in your Instagram account.
  8. Try to post daily; this is important so you don’t lose your followers, that they stay engaged and interested. I find this is hard, but I also notice that my followers will increase for a day, then if I don’t post for two or three days, they stop following me.
  9. Use Geotagging; Geotagging is important, because people want to live through you, if you post a super cool picture of a coffee shop, but don’t let anyone know where it is people will become frustrated and unfollow you. Also when you geotag other people in the same location will see your tag and either like your photo or follow you, if your page interest them.
  10. Engage; be engaging, not only on your account, but on other Instagram users as well, comment on photos, comment back on your own photos, when you comment on someone else’s photo, they will often (or at least I do) click on the person username, see who they are an either follow them back or not, however I always (or I try too) comment back in my own post.

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I know for many this may seem like such a small little thing, and I often think to myself why do I need more followers? Maybe it my own personal narcissism, that drives me to increase my followers and my likes on my photos. Then I stop and realize, if I am selling myself as being social media savvy, shouldn’t my own social media be #onpoint.

I hope that my tips will help you reach any goal that you may have with your own personal branding! Leave a comment if you have any more tips on how to increase your followers 🙂 

The Brad Thomas Brand

My personal brand is something that I take pride in. As a professional, my focus on results and my passion for continuous learning are what separates me from my peers. A lot of communications professionals do too much planning and not enough doing. I focus on doing things that will help reach communications goals and impact a company’s bottom line. I am also a relentless networker and my network is a definite asset to any organization. I am always trying to teach myself new skills to be a better communications professional.

My coworkers would say that my best trait is my ability to deal with and connect with people. I can make people feel comfortable and I can make them feel like they’re my friends in minutes. This trait helps me grow network and get the most out of it. In addition, I often go out of my way to help people in need and I think this is what my peers respect the most about me.

Thinking about my personal brand was difficult because I’m not comfortable talking about myself. I think this is the case with most people. I believe that sometimes we don’t realize how great we are because we are naturally hard on ourselves. I took some time to reach out to contacts to see what they thought about me, and it really made me feel more qualified and a lot better about myself as a worker.

Take some time with a trusted colleague or friend some time and ask them:

What separates me from my peers? What are my best traits? How do I add value?

I think you’ll hear some positives things you forgot about yourself. Tell me about your experiences in the comments!

The L8test BREAKING BrAnD…

Brands are like a box of breakfast cereal… Secure in the knowledge that we always pretty much know what we’re going to get while breaking fast.

In a market that’s flooded with inspiration and ideas and photos of everything under the sun, the modern surfer has acquired a useful criteria with which they rank their findings.  Google seems to be the common denominator.  If you don’t appear on the first page that your search engine coughs up: good luck.  Now, that’s not to suggest that people who are seriously looking for something specific won’t delve into the massive depths of google’s index to find exactly what they’re looking for.

And once you’ve got yourself held high in the rankings? That’s where the real fun begins:

  • What does the public want?
  •  Do you serve a conscious or unconscious need?
  • Solving anyone’s problem are we?

 

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According to a recent study, Microsoft has  determined that Human beings have a shorter attention span than gold fish.

UK Telegraph? Read more >>


 

Social Media has broadened the horizons so far that it can almost feel, at times, like you’re a grain of sand trying to stand out from a preverbal beach of competition—

A tree?  How’d you like to be a tree, in a forest, for this part of our discussion?  Now, choose a species.  We’ll fix the season and call it summer time. (Yay is the roar from the crowd!!) So… you can be green all year round or not: it doesn’t matter in the slightest.  Let’s imagine, for a minute, that your customer/patron/fan is planning on doing some modest landscaping on their property.  Are you the tree that will fulfill all their wildest dreams and fantasies?

I’ve always thought of myself as a pear tree.  Not quite sure why, but it came to me so I’ll work with it.  In the big bad world of tree farming, I know that there’d be a whole lot of competition at the nursery to be the next big ‘find.’  Being fondled and sized and admired in the hopes that some discerning, sophisticated connoisseur of timbers might take you home with them. Oooh… It’s almost a visit to an orphanage of sorts…. What will make you a perfect fit?

———————> Flash forward to my Ah-hah moment

October 28th, 2015… Around 15h00 E.S.T.

I’m sitting on a crowded OC-Transpo bus while we’re all enduring the worst bout of stormy weather that we’ve had in quite some time.  Trying not to think about how wet I already felt and how much wetter I was going to get in the not so distant future, I looked down at my lap.  In my periphery, I saw a knapsack… and it made me think about my feet.

And then I’m thinking (in my head bccause that’s what nice normal girls do when you’re not looking):

“Hey, my feet and images-7your Meet my feetknapsack have something in common!?!!”

>> BRANDING <<

it’s not always about what makes us different from everybody else.

 

Sure, it’s fun to ‘stand out from the crowd’— but that really only gets you to the pitch!  Making the sale is also about what we have in common!!

  • How can we relate?
  • Is it obvious that I have a clue about what’s important to you?
  • And is it important to me to?

And there, folks, we have the perennially awkward, avoidable and unanswered question that’s baffled marketeers for centuries.  

Will it ever find an answer?  I honestly don’t know that I could tell you… Maybe it’s all about the universal powers of H?

COM0015 – Blog #4: Out of the Box – A Learning Curve

vintage-social-networkingThis certificate and these courses have been a total learning curve for me.  When I started the certificate I was very much a social media “newbie”.  I started a Facebook account years before because everyone I knew had one.  I had a Pinterest account which I enjoyed posting anything and everything to the boards.  I had a barely started LinkedIn profile.  That was the extent to my online presence.  However, I was very curious about the whole thing.  I found the draw to social media fascinating.  I found it interesting that people were so willing to share everything about their life with the world.  I work for an organization that was also fascinated by all of it and the way it would impact our business in the future.  So, I started on a journey to earn this certificate and learn a little more about what all the fuss was about.  What an eye opening experience!  I have really enjoyed this course and the whole program.  I have learned so much and there have been many unexpected applications of social media and online marketing.

Social-Media2I have been amazed at all I have learned about the way social media has changed the world around us.  These applications range from disaster relief, first responders, non-profit (awareness and fundraising), to businesses and individual users. The most unexpected application that I have found in the field of online marketing and social media is probably the opportunity to connect and create relationships with our customers outside of a business transaction.  From a business perspective, I have been so impressed by the opportunities social media presents to us.  I always thought it was just another form of advertising, a way to get our name out there.  Unfortunately, I thought the megaphone approach made sense, we talk, they listen.  This has been a real eye opener for me in this program and this course.  The importance of creating conversations and even more important the art of listening has been a game changer for me and my company.  It has caused us to plan a whole new launch of our online presence.  Our customers have come to expect a different level of service than what we have been providing and this is a big change for us.  The importance of having a positive online presence and engagement with our customers is something we have really come to understand through this program.

imagesAC7WZR53One of the new possibilities being explored in social media that we are most excited about from a business perspective is the opportunity to buy through social media channels. The potential for a “buy” button or a special offer being advertised through social media and then being able to take advantage of that offer through social media directly is very exciting.  This would allow us to create a call to action, like a limited time offer that people could take advantage of through that social media channel.  It would be another metric we could measure our social media efforts by, outside of reach or engagement alone.

20150213social_networks_boxPerhaps the most surprising application for social media and online marketing that I have found is their use for me personally.  When I signed up for this course/program I was interested in learning more professionally and being able to apply those skills to my work life.  I have been very surprised how much I have learned and been able to apply to my life outside of work as well.  I have started a website and a blog which I really enjoy.  I have also started working to build a LinkedIn profile after all of the learning we have done surrounding professional networking.  I have recently stepped into a new role at work and I am amazed by how many people meet me and say they looked me up on LinkedIn prior to our meeting.  It has made me realize the importance of our personal online presence and the importance of being the one in control of what others are seeing.

I look forward to incorporating all I have learned into both my work life and my life outside of work.  I am excited about all the possibilities that lie ahead!  I look forward to being a larger part of this online world that only a few months back I knew so little about!

COM0015 – Blog #3: Professional Networking Now and in the Future – My New Strategy

network 2I have a confession to make……I do not have a professional networking strategy at all. To be honest, I had not given it a lot of thought until this class. Of course I have work connections, school connections and a half completed LinkedIn profile but I never gave them a lot of thought. After this class, I have a hard time believing I did not see the value to all of this before now. In reality, I think I saw the value; it just did not occur to me that it should be a strategy versus casual. I have been lucky to have mentor/coaching relationships in my professional life but it was never formal or strategic. However, I think this kind of long range planning and thinking can have a lot of value in expanding the possibilities of networking. Therefore, my first commitment is to develop a professional networking strategy.

My first priority is to finish and update my LinkedIn profile. It could definitely use some attention and could be more fully developed. I think this is a good place to start because in the digital world we live in people are looking for me online and I want to be in control of what they are finding. I had not considered that so many people would look me up before or after meeting me and the weight it would have in their opinion of me. Therefore, one of my plans for the future is to expand my profile to reflect all my past/current experience. I also want to ensure I reach out to all my possible connections.

My second priority is to foster my current relationships. I want to ensure the people who have been there for me over the years know the value they have added and the appreciation I have for them. In the idea of improving/building relationships I would also like to see who I can add to my inner circle. I would like to seek out new mentors and coaches that are doing some of the things I would like to work towards doing in the future. While online networking is a huge area of focus right now, I don’t want to lose sight of the importance of face to face contact.

networkMy third priority is to look for opportunities online or in person to practice networking and to build my professional network. These events could be social, educational or business events. The main goal is to become more comfortable especially at in person events. I have found these scenarios intimidating in the past but I have started to do some research to overcome those feelings. This includes ideas on how to make conversation, researching the speakers ahead of time, ways to add value, building an elevator speech and the importance of post meeting notes.

My fourth priority is to look for people I can mentor or coach. I have been very lucky over the years to have people take me under their wing and teach me important lessons that I use to this day. I think it is important to remember in networking that it is as much about what we are putting out as it is about what we are getting in return. I try to help others succeed the way I have been helped. I would like to formalize this in order to make it consistent instead of the sporadic way I use now.

I am very lucky to be working in an industry that I enjoy with a company that I love. I always thought of networking as being less planned and often used to change jobs. I am excited to use it to build connections and to be able to offer my support to others. I now see how it is important to stay current and connected. I look forward to putting my strategy in place and seeing where it takes me!
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