Step away from the emoji button. Read on to learn how to build genuine influence in your personal brand. Learn to move beyond the micro engagements of liking and sharing. Be bold and brave – expand your connections and network by following our pro tips.
Mirror mirror on the wall
While browsing idly through social media recently I concluded that many of my peers have confused visibility with influence. Procurement is a small industry especially if you’re in a niche field or a small country. What makes this contracted market even smaller is that we stare into our own reflection.
Seek to expand not reinforce the bubble
Commenting, liking, gaining followers and profiling only those within your bubble only serves to reinforce the echo chamber that you reside in. Expansion and growth should be the aim of the game and that’s the trick that many are missing!
Number of likes and connections is not influence
All the chat about the importance of “raising your profile” has seen many people reach for the emoji button. They equate visibility and these micro engagements with achieving influence. I’ve even heard some peers brag about it “mate did you see my pic? Got 12 likes, brilliant ay? I’m raising my profile and building influence.” Um no, but I’m glad people liked your photo.
Sure, visibility will get your name out there and you’ll make connections but just like the platforms we use in our personal life, professional networking sites can create a trap for the uninitiated. They offer so much more than just how many followers you have!
Think about how you engage online, do you make the most of all opportunities?
- Chance to connect with and observe thought leaders
- Expand your learning beyond your sector and follow other industry trends
- Grow your knowledge of different areas within your technical field
- Expand your support base by utlising online connections
- Taking part in free webinars
Check out these tips to ensure you are getting the most out of your Procurious experience!
Fear stops meaningful engagement and expansion
Platforms where personal profiles are created on a “work self” image can fuel the fire if people view their professional / work self as separate to their “real life” self. On professional networking sites people can struggle to make genuine comments, challenge / ask questions or engage meaingfully for fear of looking dumb or speaking out of turn.
It’s such a lost opportunity! Don’t be afraid to be yourself, engage and connect with people.
What is influence and why care?
Influence is earned and grows over time. The difference between visibility and influence is that with a focus on your sphere of influence and who you engage with, you are building longevity and sustainability into your personal brand and therefore your career. You are thinking beyond your immediate role or even career.
There are many studies out there that have shown that people will change their careers significantly two or three times over the course of their lives, as described in this NY Times article.
How to get started
Hold up, I hear you… how on earth and am I meant to do that?
Start the same way everyone else does but don’t limit your professional networking to just likes, commenting and growing your connections. Keep your eye on the bigger prize.
Step one: getting started
- Join an accredited membership organisation like CIPS or IACCM. There are usually many ways to get involved and connect with lots of people through these avenues. This provides a supportive environment to get involved in chairing committees and speaking / hosting events.
- Awards. Keep an eye out for industry awards, nominate your team or yourself! I’ve seen some surprise winners – the only thing that set them apart from others was that they simply backed themselves and applied.
- Network. Don’t simply add just people on social media, if you do send an invitation add a note and make sure it’s relevant to something they just posted or wrote about. Think of people in your industry, can you reach out to any of them for a coffee chat? And then ask, who else do you think might be of value for me to connect with?
- Content. Remember the dictionary definition of influence: “the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behaviour of someone or something, or the effect itself.” what content are you producing or contributing to that is building impact?
Step two: grow
Use your network of genuine connections to try and find ways to get involved in different projects and start expanding your reach.
- Offer to mentor someone
- Offer to host an event at your organisation
- Ask for speaking opportunities
- Write your own blog on an existing platform or your own profile
- Connect with people through the content you’re consuming e.g procurious webinars and groups!
- Ask to shadow a senior for a day to learn what they do
- Talk to your suppliers and learn the other side of the fence
- Learn from other sectors and follow other thought leaders for inspiration
- Find someone you admire and see if you can unpick what makes them tick. You can check out Kelly Barner’s journey for some inspo
- Think about yourself as a brand, what do you want to be known for?
Take the plunge! Expand your connections beyond micro engagements and you will add sustainability and longevity to your personal brand.
Remember: be yourself, be humble and be authentic.
Picture source: www.brenebrown.com