By David J.P. Fisher

The Simple Mistake That is Killing Your Online Presence
30 January 2018 | 10:15 am

We’ve all experienced the online narcissist.  The person who is constantly sharing what they are working on, where they are going, who they are going there with, and what they are eating when they get there.  And we think, “I’m so glad that I’m not like them!”

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you are.

It’s not always as extreme, but when I look at how professionals use digital platforms for business purposes, I find they do the exact same thing.  Salespeople brag about how good they are at hitting quota and the features of what they sell.  Executives have lists of their companies’ accomplishments and their rise through the ranks.  Everyone is talking about themselves.

Your Online Presence is Too Self-Centered

And while that’s understandable, it’s important to remember that the readers of your online profiles aren’t looking for your story.  Even though they are at your LinkedIn profile, or your website bio, or your Facebook page, they aren’t actually interested in you.

Your online visitors want to see if you can help them with a problem that they have.

They might be a vendor looking for a supplier, an employer looking for an employee, a business owner looking for a service-provider, or a host of other scenarios.  But they are looking to see if you can fit the bill of what they are looking for.  They are asking, “Can this person help me solve my challenges.”

If you spend your time online talking about how great you are, it’s very hard for them to find the answer to that question.  Would you spend your time bragging to a person if you were talking to them face-to-face?  Instead, it’s critical that you spend time talking about how you solve those problems for the people you serve.

Nobody is reading your LinkedIn profile because they couldn’t find your autobiography on Amazon.  Too often, we share what we share because it’s what we want to say.  We share what we think is important and what’s exciting to us.  That’s the wrong approach.

Your visitors need to hear about what’s important to them.

How to Approach Your Online Profiles

So switch your approach and instead of looking at your online assets as an opportunity to talk about what’s important to you, connect your experience, skillsets, and capabilities to the ways you serve your audience.  Stop thinking about what you want to say and put yourself in the shoes of your audience. What do they need to hear from you?

It can difficult to change this perspective because we are used to seeing the world from our point of view.  There’s a simple process that can help you get out of your own head:

  1. List out your professional goals.

What are you trying to accomplish right now?  Do you want a new job, a promotion, new clients?  The clearer you are about where you are trying to get, the easier it is to map out a course.

  1. Connect those goals to the audience you need to influence.

You will have many audiences online, and if you try to speak to them all, your message will be muddy.  Who are the most important people that you need to address?

  1. Imagine (or Ask) what that audience cares about and needs to hear.

If you had someone from your target audience right in front of you, what would you want to tell them?  What information do they need to engage with you?

  1. Decide where and how to share that message

The digital world can be a big place and you can’t be everywhere.  Does your audience spend their online focus on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc?  Figure that out and spend time in the same places.

  1. Share your message

Put in the effort to clearly share the message on the different platforms you’ve chosen.  Your audience can’t know anything until you share with them.  Construct your profiles, feeds, and pages to share the message that they need to hear from you.

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