How to Promote Yourself Online

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Social media is growing and you need to think about how you build your personal brand online. Whether you are an experienced (and emerging) Corporate Director, it is a good way to find opportunities and make connections. Today, being online is a relevant way to promote yourself and showcase your accomplishments!

On February 18, 2016, Women Get On Board held our first event of the year, supported by our first Event Partner, Welch LLP. Our speakers; Josée Morin, entrepreneur and bilingual Corporate Director, Deborah Rosati, Corporate Director and Co-founder, Women Get On Board, and Susan Varty, Co-founder, Digital Strategy and Personal Branding, Women Get On Board, shared their experiences and tips on how to use digital media to promote yourself online.

Benefits of being active online

You need to be visible and stand out online to get noticed for potential board opportunities. Using social media is a great way to get recognized and showcase your expertise online. It is a great platform to blog about topics relevant to your field, or comment on other articles to showcase your thought leadership. Even if you are not a writer you can always hire an editor to professionalize your content.

How to showcase your board work and expertise online

  • Use LinkedIn as a source of information and follow individuals who share content you find interesting.
  • Comment on articles written by people in your network and other thought leaders.
  • Find information about what matters to you and share it across your networks.
  • Use your website to keep your publications and board resume in one place.
  • Share your LinkedIn profile link with new and existing contacts.
  • Plan a schedule for sharing information at regular intervals.
  • Participate in LinkedIn group conversations and stay consistent with your personal brand.

To blog or not to blog

Blogging is a great option for those who like to write and can regularly produce engaging articles. Write about topics that you’ve spoken about or leverage materials that you’ve written in the past. Be mindful to avoid writing about things that are not relevant to your career/industry or don’t interest you, as this may come off as unauthentic.

A benefit of blogging is that all blog posts stay on your website, or LinkedIn profile, where people can read current and previous posts to get a full picture of your expertise and knowledge.  As a bonus, most online platforms have built in statistics tools that allow you to see which topics were of most interest to your audience. These tools help you be strategic as you plan future social media posts and communications.

Personal branding on and offline

Everything you write or say about yourself offline should be consistent across your social media. If you are seeking a board position, for example, be clear about what you are looking for and state that in your LinkedIn summary. Elaborate on what value you bring to the table and write a statement about what you want to do for the next phase of your career. (Being consistent also includes keeping your online presence up-to-date!)

7 tips for connecting online

  1. Collect business cards and connect with those people on LinkedIn.
  2. Engage people online and follow up with an email or in person (if appropriate).
  3. Before a meeting or initial call, review their LinkedIn profile to get a better sense of their skills and expertise.
  4. Post your comments, updates and articles when most people are online; lunch time, early morning, between 4 and 5 pm, and on the weekends.
  5. Arrange with people in your network to comment on and share each other’s articles.
  6. Check in on your digital channels once a day if you have the time. If you don’t have time to invest, then try to check in as often as you can.
  7. If someone you don’t know invites you to connect, see what connections you have in common and use that to create rapport. Once connected, thank them and see where the conversation goes.

Remember to…
Make your LinkedIn profile standout by talking about your personality and how you added value to various roles. If you hire someone else to write for you, ensure that your voice is authentic by proofreading approving everything before it goes out.

Popular digital media tools

LinkedIn–An excellent source to research industry trends, companies, organizations and people who you know or would like to connect with. LinkedIn is a must for your online strategy.

Twitter – Offers widespread exposure that enables you to easily share links back to your articles, and also share or “retweet” topics of interest to your own network. It takes time to develop a following, so be patient as you build up your audience.

Hootsuite – Scheduling posts ahead of time can be made easy with this tool that lets you line up content for platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and automatically releases them at specific dates and times you select. Be cautious about what you pre-program because some of them could turn out to be inappropriately timed due to world events.

Register for our upcoming workshop: Building Your LinkedIn Profile – Wednesday, June 15th, 2016.

Personal Branding to help reach the C-suite

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How do you get into a C-suite role? Do you navigate the politics and work hard? Do you take risks and pitch your own promotion? Do you streamline processes that saves millions of dollars? Do you manage a business unit? Sometimes it takes all of these plus more. Much more because the competition is fierce and only getting more competitive.

But the corporate team builders, creators and delegators of this world also have an edge and they use it to their full advantage: personal branding online. Yes, many of them make it a priority to get online.

After more than 10 years of working directly with CEOs and C-suite leaders, I have identified 5 personal branding characteristics they have in common:

– They articulate their strengths.

– They are consistent in their message.

– They deliver results and tell others about it.

– They work hard and go above and beyond.

– They get noticed.

All of these aspects of personal branding can be used online to amplify and speed up your own efforts for career advancement. How is it done? By promoting yourself online in a thoughtful and strategic way (often indirectly). Here are some strategies to help do the ground work for your personal brand online:

Articulate Your Strengths

What are you good at? What do you read that is work-related when you have a few minutes to yourself? What do people at work appreciate about you – and why do they refer you?

Once defined, articulate your strengths and gather specific examples:

– Instead of saying you are in internal communications, tell them you are a corporate writer who can inspire participation in company events.
– Instead of saying you are in HR, tell them you take policy and make it relevant to employees’ every day lives.
– Instead of saying you are an entrepreneur, tell them how your product or service creates change.

Write them down, then hone in on how you bring value. Make it memorable.

Online – what is out there right now that defines your strengths? How do you plan on reaching more people than your immediate circle of colleagues?

Be Consistent

No matter what the role, what you deliver consistently? What makes you dependable and trustworthy?

People who selected to advance are reliable, consistent and trustworthy – because someone else’s reputation is on the line if you are not a good fit for the role.

Online – do you present a consistent image that tells your story? Are you publishing content or speaking on a regular basis so people can get to know you and trust you?

Deliver Results and Tell Others

When you deliver on something significant, who notices? Do you tell anyone other than your team about your accomplishments? Do you schedule one on one meetings with your managers when you’ve completed a project? Or tell them that you’ve delivered value, saved costs or helped to grow your company?

Online – do you list your project or career accomplishments? Do you celebrate the wins in your working life?

Work Hard and Go Above and Beyond

Some will still say that the hours matter – but more importantly, how do you use those hours? Do you work hard to finish what you start and go beyond what was asked on your own time? How have you saved or made the company money this quarter? Have you delivered value to employees or helped morale? Did you volunteer for a committee in another department and gained some new work connections? Did you invite a client to an event, lunch or workshop on your dime?

Online – are you seen helping others, sharing information or answering questions?

Get Noticed

Many corporate executives in the C-suite will talk about an internal sponsor or champion who recommended they be considered for the top job (not a mentor, but a sponsor who knows your work and knows you would be a great fit!).

Attract potential sponsors by sharing your thought leadership. Thought leadership is your voice – your speaking engagements, your blog, your business community involvement, on topics relevant to your work environment.

Apply for awards if you haven’t yet been acknowledged within your company or industry – getting noticed means you must invest in yourself.

Online – websites, social networks and company intranets make it easy to share what is important to you to showcase your thought leadership. What are you participating in to get noticed?

Building your personal brand online has rewards that can come from the most unlikeliest of people and places. Take control of it and use it to advance your career into the C-suite.

Susan Varty is co-founder of Women Get On Board. She is a Digital Strategist and Corporate Writer with more than 10 years of experience working with individuals to showcase their accomplishments and thought leadership for career development.

Top 3 Tips for Building Your Board Profile

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Getting started on your board journey includes building a board profile. So, how does one go about it?  It starts with asking yourself what your value proposition is, and what unique skills and experience you bring to a board.

Here are my 3 tips for helping you build your board profile:

1. Define your unique value proposition

Boards are made up of a diversity of thought with members bringing different culture, experience, gender, ethnicity, age and geographic representation. So, what is it that you can bring to an already diverse board? What is your unique board value proposition?

Think of it like an “elevator pitch” where you have 10 seconds to tell someone what you bring to a board. In my case, I say that I have entrepreneurial and financial expertise with high growth and transformational companies in the technology, retail and consumer sectors.

2. Be true to what you passionate about

You need to pursue organizations that deal with what you are interested in or passionate about. For myself, I am passionate about dance. When I was asked to join Canada’s National Ballet School’s (NBS) Board, they asked me why was I interested in NBS, and I replied, “I always wanted to be a ballet dancer.”

Think about companies outside of your industry experience. It can be very rewarding to leverage your skills in a new industry with a whole new network and community to engage with. After spending over 20 years in the technology industry, I was asked to join a retail board, which made me excited because I love to shop. But, I am also a Canadian consumer so I understood that I could bring that perspective to the Board.

Get involved in your Alma Mater. Begin by serving on committees or councils to reconnect with your university and go back on campus. I started getting involved with Brock University by serving on the Dean’s Advisory Council for the Goodman School of Business, then on the President’s Advisory Council and was then asked to join the Board of Trustees.

3. Research the companies or industries that you are interested in

Review their values, mission and strategy. Do they align with your own skills, experiences and values? Will you add value?

I always evaluate Board opportunities in three ways:

  1. How can I add value?
  2. Do I have a personal statement of the attributes I can bring to the board?
  3. How can I use my network to make meaningful connections to grow the business?

Building your Board profile is an ongoing process that takes time and takes focus. Good luck!

Interested in Getting Board-Ready? Registration is still open for Women Get On Board’s ‘How to get yourself on a Board’ workshop on March 30th:  http://bit.ly/March30Workshop

Don’t miss a chance to win a Free Board Planning Consultation from Women Get On Board!
Sign up for our mailing list, refer a new member, or become a Women Get On Board member before April 30th, 2016, and be entered automatically into a draw for the chance to win a free Board Planning consultation – a $500 value. Visit www.womengetonboard.ca to sign up, refer or become a member by April 30th, 2016!