SO YOU want to be more visible? You want you – and your brand – to be recognised for all the right reasons? You want your customers – and potential customers – to see you as head and shoulders above the rest, to seek your advice, to recommend you, to be clamouring for your products and services, or maybe even for a selfie?
Being recognised for all the right reasons is not rocket science, and it’s entirely possible to get there with some good, honest effort and authenticity. It’s not some secret club frequented only by the rich and famous and those who regularly throw thousands of pounds at Facebook. Seriously – the visibility doors are open to all who put in the grind to step through them. There really aren’t any shortcuts that don’t end up making you look like a total wally, so if you want to be seen, you need to be willing to stop hiding!
Like any ‘status’ position though, those we perceive to be more visible invariably come in for a bit of envy bashing (Ouch! That stings a bit, doesn’t it?) from those who tend to blend into the background and then feel irritated when all those golden opportunities gravitate towards those who are far less invisible. So, in this blog I’m going to burst some of those myths wide open and give you the lowdown without pulling any punches.
Are you ready? Buckle up and hold onto your seats!
MYTH: The only way to be seen is to spend all your time on Facebook, and I’m far too busy with my real business to do that.
FACT: You don’t need to spend all your time on Facebook, you just need to switch your thinking. Stop seeing Facebook (and all the other social media channels) as an extension of your advertising and start seeing them as massive networking events. If you have a business page, that’s great. If you have a business page and only ever fill it with stuff about your products and services, that’s a fail – particularly if that’s the extent of your social media activity.
You need to stop seeing social media as a box ticking exercise. And you need to stop getting pissy about the people who are using it well and getting results. It’s not just about updating your business page every day – it’s about being a real person and networking. Be interesting and, even more importantly – be interestED! Take an interest in other people, join in conversations. Use relevant Facebook groups – and I mean actually talk to people there instead of just spamming them with your oh so pretty memes or event alerts. Use video. Use LIVE video. Engage. Educate. Entertain. Talk TO people. Chat WITH people. Don’t speak AT them all the time.
And just to completely burst that BS bubble… you do NOT need to spend every waking moment online. Allocate yourself time slots to check in and engage. Use your downtime. And yes, you DO have downtime. Those smartphones we all use nowadays are tiny and portable… they can get into the tiniest of rooms with you!
MYTH: The only way to be seen is to spend all your time networking, and I’m far too busy with my real business to do that.
FACT: You could apply most of the messages from the first point to this one. It’s not all about the online stuff. Where do your ideal clients hang out? How can you be seen in those places? Of course, switched on business people realise networking in person and online can all work together beautifully. Here’s an example: I first connected with former Discovery Channel presenter, author and speaker Dr Andrea Pennington on Facebook. We met face to face when she appeared at Expert Empires, in London, which cemented the relationship even more. Since then, I’ve been a guest on Andrea’s show, broadcast through her own channels, as well as on her radio show on America Out Loud. She’s interviewing me for a second time soon as well. That’s powerful. But you’re all too busy in your businesses to be networking, right?
NB: I was with a cowboy (he’s mentioned further down this blog) at Expert Empires, and we both ended up being recognised an awful lot. The power of networking and a strong personal brand. This stuff works.
MYTH: They’re only out there so much because they have a massive ego.
FACT: If you’re going to be in business, you need to be seen. You need to build your personal brand and you need to get over these silly hang ups. People, there is a very real line between ego and confidence. You can be full of confidence in yourself, in your products and services, without being egotistical. You can be proud of your achievements, of your team, of your offerings, without being egotistical.
If you believe you’re here to serve, you need to accept that you cannot serve people if they don’t know you exist. You need to be seen. You need to let the people know you are available.
MYTH: They’re only popular because they’re in the ‘in’ crowd/have famous friends/have a following.
FACT: How do you think these people got to be in the ‘in’ crowd in the first place? Parking all the reality show rabble and just considering ordinary people – like you and I – they probably got to that place from a zero following, by engaging, educating and entertaining. See the first myth busting point. Famous friends? Pah. That’s the stuff of tabloid tittle tattle, not the stuff that builds a real business following and client advocacy. I bet most of us know – or have connections to – a celebrity of some sort. So what? That’s a really feeble slam, to be honest.
As for having a following, well, duh! Guess what? They all began in the same place as you when it came to building a tribe. We all start with nothing and then we build. Drop the ‘it’s okay for them’ attitude and switch it to a more positive one: if they can do it, so can you, and that following they have is the proof that it’s achievable.
MYTH: They’re lucky – they just appeared in the spotlight overnight.
FACT: No, they didn’t. They appeared in your newsfeed after lots and lots of effort and hustle. They worked the system and kept being of service – engaging, entertaining and educating – when everyone else was giving up and going to the pub. They kept going when everyone said social media was dead. If someone’s suddenly started to appear in your social media feeds, it’s because people are listening, watching and being interested enough to engage with them – they’re liking their updates, commenting, sharing and tagging them. Sure, they might be spending a bit on advertising as well (who knows!?), but it might not be a huge amount OR it might actually all be organic growth. Stop judging, start actioning.
And if you’re seeing them in newspapers and magazines, on TV, or hearing them on radio, chances are they’ve invested lots and lots of effort to get to that place. Yes, they might have someone helping them with PR, but it STILL might not be mega budgets. My wife runs a PR business and offers really affordable content coaching to small businesses who need to get seen but don’t have much to spend. You never know how someone ended up in the spotlight for their business offering but, nine times out of ten, I can guarantee it didn’t just magically happen overnight with no effort on their part.
MYTH: Clamouring for all this media attention is all a bit crass.
FACT: Oh, climb down off your thoroughbred and have a word with yourself. This is a classic case of sour grapes. It’s hardly worth responding to. We’re not talking about fame hungry twenty-somethings scratching each other’s eyes out to stay another week in the Big Brother house; we’re talking about people with a good business doing the leg work that’s needed to be seen above all the noise, to be taken seriously, and to do anything within their power to help their target audience know they exist. That’s not crass – it’s just good business sense.
MYTH: They’re only visible because they have pink hair (insert your own identifier here!)
FACT: This one used to get me all riled up but now, it just makes me laugh. Of course, it’s not just pink hair – that’s just one that gets levied at me every now and again. There are plenty of people out there who are inextricably associated with a particular element of their personal brand: Todd from Spaghetti wears a cowboy hat, networking guru Stefan Thomas has flowery shirts, Asha from Turquoise Tiger always wears something turquoise, and there are plenty of big name celebs who are instantly connected with personal brand elements too. If we take my pink hair (and, believe it or not, it wasn’t a deliberate brand move, but that’s for another blog!), yes, it does help me to be recognised, but if I wasn’t putting the legwork in first (engaging, educating entertaining) people wouldn’t have seen me and my candyfloss bonce in the first place and there’d be nothing to recognise.
Anyone – ANYONE – including YOU can build something recognisable into your personal brand; just bear in mind that you still need to put the effort in to get to the spot where people will want to connect with you and remember who you are in the first place. The pink hair – or cowboy hat, or flowery shirt, or turquoise accessories – are add on identifiers, they don’t instantly make you famous!
Enough with the myths now…
I can’t stress this enough. In this day and age, it absolutely is easy and relatively low cost to set up a business, precisely because of all those tools provided by the web and social media. The trouble is, everybody else is doing the same and the internet’s creating a saturated marketing melting pot, where we’re being bombarded with messages (spammed!) left, right and centre.
What really cuts through the noise is authenticity. Telling your story. Stories connect people. Stories build bridges. Stories get remembered (check my blog on the science of storytelling). People love stories. Movies, books, TV shows… they’re stories – THAT’S how popular stories are and how much power they have. Marketers will throw jargon at you – they’ll use words like ‘content marketing’ – and they’re just stories.
How willing are you to share the story of YOU? Are you prepared to keep it real? If you can connect to people’s hearts, to their emotions, to their minds, if you can be remembered and thought of in a positive way, you’ll already be head and shoulders above all those twerps blasting the general populace with soulless marketing messages. Seriously. Stories are powerful! It’s why people love my #LiveStory workshops so much. It’s why so many work with Asha to get their content in the best shape. It’s why Marvel and DC are loved by so many, why cinemas are still popular and why people Netflix and chill (or the Netflix part of that, at least).
That’s what will build your visibility. Engage. Educate. Entertain. And for goodness’ sake, be authentic. Tell your REAL story, and be interested in other people’s too. Give people a reason to follow you beyond your latest special product discount or new launch. Give them stories.
PS: If you need help getting your story straight, drop me a line and ask how I can help – or, if you want a personal introduction to Asha to find out about her content coaching, let me know and I’ll happily hook you up. No catch – I’m passionate about helping other people to find their own spotlight and get more visible – that’s part of MY story.