Friday, January 1, 2016

Promote Yourself Beyond Your Business Card

Your business card is a marketing tool. A good business card should convey the overall image of you and your business. However, your business card cannot tell the entire story about you or your business. In addition, it has limited reach - It's only seen by who you give it to.
What's on Your Business Card
Typically, we place basic contact information on business card. This includes your name, title/job description, company name, address, phone number(s) and email address, You may also add your website address and links to your social media pages, such as LinkedIn or Facebook pages. Some, also include a logo. Since your business card only measures about 2 inches by 3 inches, it is not easy to convey a lot of information. Nor, should you try to cram a lot on the business card.

What's Not on Your Business Card
Your contact information aside, there is a lot of information about you and your business that is not on, or conveyed by, your business card. This includes:
  • Depth of your Professional Expertise - You have a unique set of skills, knowledge and experience that makes you valuable. You need to let others know about those, but the business card is not the best way to do so.
  • Commitment to Customer Service - This attribute may be a key differentiator between you and your competition, Someone who only sees your business card will not know this about you.
  • Your Personality and Passions - People like to do business with others they like. The things that you are passionate about are what attracts others to you, and solidify the impressions others have about you. You must convey your personality and passions to earn the professional advantage of trust.
Use Social Media
You use Google and other search engines to learn about your clients and their organizations, and to find other professional contacts. You do so to find information that was not yet disclosed to you, to find others in your network that can assist you with your information search and to learn more about an organization or person. On the flip side, others may be searching for you for the same reasons. More importantly, for those who do not have your business card and don't know of you, they may be searching for someone just like you and passing you by.

You and your professional profile need to be available on social media sites. By doing so, you provide additional information to people who just met you. You control the message and information to promote, and can even negate any negative information posted on other sites. In addition, you increase the possibility of being found by someone that has not yet met you. Here are some of the places and ways to promote yourself:
  • LinkedIn - This is the #1 professional social media site with over 396 million users at the end of the 3rd quarter of 2015. The site and service is used by professionals to find professionals. This includes for business needs and job search. The site's presentation is well organized, and you can easily post more information than on a business card, marketing brochure or resume.
  • Your own website - If you are an individual and not a company, create your own professional website. A website is more robust than a marketing document. In addition, it's easy to update your professional content, which remains current and becomes instantly available to anyone.
  • Write a Blog - Blogging is one of the most effective ways to convey your professional competencies and passions. This can be a page on your website or your separate blog site. Or, you may be able to find another blog site where you can post your content with your name as the author.
  • Twitter - Write all you want in 140 characters or less. Let your followers know about events you hear of and articles you just read. Make sure you include a (shortened) link to information you found on other sites.
  • Facebook - Is the largest social media website in the world with over 1.5 billion users. However, many of the users are not professional-oriented. When you use Facebook for professional purposes, make sure your "friends" are professional friends. Be sure to keep your personal connections private to reduce the possibility of your professional connections from seeing personal information. Some of your personal connections may post information that is not in line with your professional image, and which you will not want professionally associated with you. You may even choose to de-friend your personal connections,
  • Email Marketing and Newsletters - Send a message to a group of people using email, or an email service. You will do so to provide information to others, advertise a service, enhance an existing relationship and even encourage client loyalty.
What to do First
The above can seem overwhelming if new to you. What you should do first is to just pick one of the above social media items. Pick the one that seems the easiest or the one that seems to make the most sense for you to use or try. Once you pick one, create an account and start using it. Build your profile and create content. If you need assistance to start, ask a friend or colleague, watch a webinar, use the product's "help" information, or seek out a consultant. Once you get started, you will see how easy it is to proceed and be satisfied that you are moving forward in promoting yourself.

I encourage you to leave a comment by clicking on "...comments" below...
David Schuchman

1 comment:

  1. David, very timely information. Worth the read BEFORE we order our next set of business cards. Thanks for sharing.


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