Yesterday started off with an important lesson for me. I often look at leadership through a prism of complex models, unwavering influence, soaring inspiration, etc. As I struggled to create a simple list on my Twitter feed, something occurred to me. That it is important to take leadership of my social media presence.
The challenge I had was how to link to some great contacts in a Google + group that I belong to. What should have taken 15 minutes at the most ended gobbling up nearly 2 hours of my time! Why? It was challenging to cross-link some users due to mismatched information or avatars. For a few, I simply gave up.
That left me pondering. Do my followers go through the same tooth-pulling process? Would they hang around long enough to engage with me? I may have great content, a service or a product. But how credible am I if my online presence is varied and fragmented? I realized that this not only hurts my brand, it also has the potential to limit the growth of and engagement with my audience.
So, what three things did I learn? To take leadership of your online presence, these are a minimum must-have:
1. An icon or figure that represents you
An avatar is the graphical representation of the user or the user’s alter ego or character [Wikipedia]. It is important for people you’ve never met face to face to be able to visually identify you [or your business] easily. There are a number of online services that you can use to help you to manage your avatar. One very popular one that I use is Gravatar. Once you create your account, your avatar will be available for use across your social media platforms, blogs, etc. This one-stop-shop saves you time and worry on whether you have uploaded your new avatar on all your platforms. You just upload once and link to all.
2. A well-written bio
The importance of a well-written bio can’t be over-emphasized. It is the first window your followers first get to ‘know’ you. Spend some quality time to introduce yourself so that your followers will have no problem understanding you no matter which platform they engage with you on. Twitterbiogenerator and this article on ‘How to Create an Engaing and Effective Bio Page’ are a good place to start from.
3. Cross-connect your social media
This makes it easier for your audience to find and follow you. Remember, you may have followers on Facebook who are not following you on Twitter or on your blog if you have one. I am still struggling in this area because I need to be careful not to flood my followers with too much content. I have found Michael Hyatt’s ‘Social Media Tools That Will Save You Time’ a very useful guide.