In this article Kate Griffiths continues with the theme of visibility that she started in last week’s post and shares ideas on how to get noticed in a good way. Business owners, particularly those starting out are keen to get clients and be noticed so they focus on being visible but often in a way that is counter productive.
If you look up the dictionary definition of visibility it states that it is the ability to be seen or the extent to which something attracts attention and gains prominence. Small businesses rely on recommendations and referrals as a key way to growing their business. Marketeers often teach clients that any publicity is good publicity because people will be talking about you. This is a myth, let me explain why using an example of my own. I had a hideous experience about five years ago when I was very new to the world of small business where I agreed to write an article about social media for Mums. The editor felt that I needed to write stronger statements in my article so I did what I was asked and wrote something quite controversial. It provoked a fierce reaction and the organisation got what it was hoping to achieve which was high engagement on its site however it did not do a lot for my reputation because readers, understandably, assumed that the views expressed were what I believed. Furthermore when I needed it, I did not get the support from the editorial team. To be fair to them, I had not questioned their motives sufficiently nor had we communicated how we would behave if the article went viral.
It was a great lesson for me in that my desire to be noticed overrode my sense of who I was becoming at that time. Rather than writing my truth, I adapted my views to fit in with what someone else wanted. I am not like the great chess players who think many moves ahead as they contemplate their next step, I tend to live in the moment. I did not stand back and reflect on the potential impact of what I was writing and I paid the price. It had many ramifications for me, few of them positive at that time. It was probably about the last time however that I was caught out in that way and as the adage says you only learn when you find yourself in a place of discomfort.
In my experience what clients are looking for is a sense of innate confidence in what you are offering and a constancy in how you show up. They want to get to know you to decide, especially as a coach or someone who works in the leadership development field, whether they wish to work with you. They cannot achieve this if you don’t spend at least some time engaging on social media platforms. Think about it how can they get a sense of who you are and what you stand for, if you rarely participate in conversations online except to post your latest offering. That is not showing up.
And yes it is difficult to straddle all the platforms effectively. At some point you need to make a choice about where you are going to focus your energy. Will it be Facebook, Google plus or Twitter? You can have a presence on all three and yet you still need to decide how you will engage in each medium, for how long each week and the extent to which you will automate that engagement. This post is not going to go into the merits of the different platforms as Chris Ogle has written a very useful article on that so click here if you are interested in reading more on that.
For me what is important is that everything you do is aligned to your values. Your focus needs to be on who you are becoming and to find inspirational places where you can be that and start to build your community in that way. Yes it takes time and there is not necessarily instant gratification or sales. That said it is a lot more sustainable in the long run because you start to build a following and people look out for your comments and posts. It is why I set up my facebook group Sacred Soul Space because I wanted to create a place of inspiration for business owners where they could grow and be seen and supported by others. Some amazing connections have already happened in particular someone drove from Watford to Oxford to meet another of our members; there are two based in the San Francisco Bay area who are planning to meet up; and others have got together through Link4Growth in the North and regularly get together.
In the new paradigm, doing business or your levels of visibility equate to the extent to which you give to others. Generosity of spirit is a key value now and pays dividends although often unexpectedly in terms of how business comes to you. In short just posting your own links in a forum or group and yet being notable by your absence 95% of the time, will not build your business. We all buy from those we know, like and trust. Being present in a mindful way is one of the fastest ways to grow your business in the long term. I know this from personal experience.
I hope this article has caused to reflect on your own practices as a business owner and you get a real sense that visibility in business comes when you know who you are becoming. It is all linked to who you are being. I am available for a free 30 minute consultation if you wish to discuss any of this further and currently have one or two openings for new coaching clients. I would love to hear your take on visibility in the comments below.
Kate Griffiths works with individuals and business owners to create more ease and flow in their lives. Clients include conscious business owners and leaders who recognise that the old paradigm way of doing things does not work and want support in determining what the new ways of doing business look like. She is passionate about creating conversations that lead to change and has developed her own process to do that called connection through conversation. If you want to get free tips then ask to go on her monthly newsletter and join Sacred Space for the Soul.