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Why Your Online Authenticity and Social Network Strategy is So Important


What is online authenticity? Have you been hearing this buzzword while looking into positioning yourself or your business on line? Have you given it any thought? Building online authenticity is fast becoming one of the most important factors in building a presence online today, right up there with building relationships with new businesses, vendors, prospects, clients, you name it.

“The Information Age” is firmly in place as we move into the “Recommendation Age” where we look to others and their opinions and experiences rather than being told what to expect. Finding information is second nature at this point. What we look for now is the quickest path to narrow our search by asking others.

People are looking for you. They want to know what you think. People want to know if the movie was garbage or is it worth the twelve bucks. Finding fishing lures online is a snap.. The info is easy to find, but I want to know if I’m going to catch any fish with them. I’ll be looking for the wisdom of a fisherman at this point, not a salesperson.

A dash of biological comparison and a pinch of Internet evolution. If you understand biological evolution even in its basic form you can easily grasp that the evolution of the Internet is virtually identical right down to the Phylogenetic Tree of Life which ironically resembles a visual layout of any hierarchic information chart for any web site today. The Internet is nothing short of a virtual biological evolution in almost every sense. Truly understanding this fact should make you consider revisiting or completely rethinking your online business strategies whether you are a business owner, an individual looking for a job or new career.

Look at the parallels. It is essential to understand the importance of how the Internet has rapidly come full circle from an arcane virtual jungle with colorful and prolific species (dot-coms) to the intriguing and not so intriguing amalgamations we see today online. We watched the dot-coms roam the Internet for a brief time, then watched as many became extinct, leaving behind the fossil fuel, the DNA allowing the Internet to grow, to evolve into, ironically something fantastically organic.

Yes organic… but not in the sense of organic computing such as self generating or thinking for itself. Organic in the sense that it has become a natural tool in bringing people together in the most humanistic ways. It has been harnessed in a manner that can be used productively and by osmosis, personal authenticity is created and shared among its end users. A new ecosystem of abiotic components coexist with biotic components. (To simplify even further, lets call these abiotic components computers and software and the biotic organisms, we’ll refer to as people.)

Why is this evolution important to understand? It has enabled people to interact by taking purposeful action in networking with others in a non abrasive but direct approach. Obviously this is not a new concept but it is vastly taken for granted by many as we do our own ecosystem. The power it has is incredibly overlooked.

Are you LinkedIn? Consider the rapidly growing LinkedIn network for example. Another social network you may not be a part of or may have felt obligated to join because one of your friends or colleagues found it useful and asked you to join. You already have an email account, maybe a Facebook profile… You ask yourself, “Why do i need to join a network and dump more personal information about myself on the Internet?” The answer is, in essence creating authenticity for yourself or your company in a changing world in the age of NOW is the present and future.

Resumes and CVs to become extinct! Resumes and CVs are going to be extinct soon enough by the growing emergence of blogs but until then, HR departments, recruiters and employers are looking for authenticity in new hires and they are finding it on sites like LinkedIn or on personal blogs. While submitting your resume and other information to job sites you may be asked for a LinkedIn URL. Employers are taking a increasingly more serious look at it now. Some even require it at this point.

Anyone can submit a stellar resume with a list of qualifications but what can put you ahead of the game in an instant is having a URL on your resume pointing to your LinkedIn network, a personal blog or maybe a Ning community. Utilizing these sites rather than simply sending people to your static web site is becoming essential because they are easily updated on a regular basis and when people see a network of people communicating with you it naturally gives the perception of authenticity. You exist, you are who you say you are and other people are acknowledging that fact. Your colleagues, future business partners or your past employer will not be joining your network or give you recommendations if your content is fraudulent.. Transparency, authenticity is the key component to success today.

Your own world, vision and passion. There is a big “however” here though. You need to be on the ball with it. Entering this relatively new frontier requires more from you than dusting off your resume once a year. Business owners beware. If you’re planning on just paying a PR firm to put Social Media platforms to work for you, you will fail before you even get started. People will know it’s not authentic. You have to put your world, your own vision and passion into it. There MUST be an organic quality to it. Change your mindset and learn more about the growing power of Social Media platforms, how to use them and possibly more importantly, which not to use. In many aspects things have reversed themselves but in a positive way. Revisit real customer service, real interaction, real relationship building. If you’re not offering authenticity and value to a new employer or customer they WILL move on in a mouse click. Anonymity online is no longer socially acceptable. Hiding behind a screen name is so 1990s.

Maybe you have a LinkedIn account already? Take a good look at your profile. Have you noticed the little green bar of completion? Are you 30% complete? 75%? Think it’s simply there to extract more information from you? If so, you’re not comprehending the usefulness of this platform.

11 Tips To Make LinkedIn work for you:

  • Make sure you have a nice current photo of yourself. No more hiding.
  • Gather your most current information but don’t simply copy and paste.
  • Make your content presentable. Add bullets to key points if necessary.
  • Start building your list of connections. You may be surprised where this takes you.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations from employers, clients or colleagues.
  • Post your most current resume and any other relevant documents.
  • If you have a Twitter account, connect it. Add a “#in” at the end of your tweet. It will auto post to your profile if you add this feature. This adds to your profile’s activity.
  • At the very least add or change something on your profile once a month.
  • Join some networks or discussion groups in your field of expertise or that interest you on LinkedIn.
  • Interact with these networks and discussions and make them visible on your profile.
  • Make a solid effort to make new connections. Ask people offline if they are on Linked In or tell them to look you up.

Now you have created valuable authenticity for yourself. These powerful elements reveal an authentic reality that a resume or business card will never provide. Free and easy does not equal irrelevant. Seeing the real potential. What people are not quite grasping yet is the fact that because many of these on line watering holes; LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube et al are free and simple to use, doesn’t mean they are void of real importance or value.

Having a plan, learning what Social Media can do for you or your business, understanding how to create authenticity and taking action right now will put you years ahead of people who don’t see the real potential of the Internet and Social Media trends. It really isn’t just for catching up on current events, entertainment or finding your lineage to William the Conqueror… Understand this; Social Media has overtaken the porn industry as the #1 activity on the Internet. That’s massive on multiple levels.

Corporations, small business, product designers, marketers even political strategists are looking to consumers, the end user via Social Media to steer the trends in all industries whether they like it or not. THEY are no longer in the drivers seat. You are! Look at the film industry, the music industry.. They are focusing massive marketing dollars into Social Media. A one hundred million dollar film can die in a single day if it’s crap rather than weeks allowing the studios to recoup expenses. The power is in the hands of the consumer and markets in all industries are adjusting to this fact. To be blunt, people are not buying what sellers are shoveling any more. People are savvy to testimonials, blog posts and peer reviews like never before.

Why not create an online brand instead of simply having a web site? Why not create a following or ‘tribe’ of people interested in who you are, what you do and the goods and services you provide? Why not monetize some of the time spent on the Internet? Creating authenticity and transparency online for yourself and your business is the key.

Phylogenetic Tree of Life, LinkedIn.

Source by Brian James Leslie

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