Living at 5,280 feet above sea level, in the Mile High City, we often have to help out of town visitors adjust to the altitude. At this elevation, the lack of oxygen means you can tire more easily, get thirsty more often, and suffer from headaches and nausea until you acclimate to the altitude.
Similarly, when your online reputation climbs to a certain levels of visibility and exposure, or your marketplace shifts under your feet, you also might encounter new challenges, ills and frustrations as you build your personal brand.
Just like visitors to Colorado experience the need for an altitude adjustment, your social networking strategies need to stay fresh and relevant. Here are some signs you need to recalibrate your reputation management tactics:
- You’ve grown your contacts and online networks to include influencers from your industry, media, stakeholders and friends-of-friends who can directly impact your ability to add value to your industry or field.
- Your market has shifted in geography, sensitivity, demography or need, creating the opportunity to share a new value proposition with different audiences.
- Your product, service or offer has grown or shrunk in it’s value to the marketplace you serve.
When this happens, it’s time to course-correct and move in a direction that works for you. How you will adjust and acclimate is always driven by, and through, your personal brand strategy. That strategy, as I’ve written about numerous times here, is anchored in your values, beliefs, goals and authenticity.
When your reputation needs recalibrating, here are some suggestions to adjust your social networking approach:
- As your contacts and networks grow, so too will your exposure. This means that new people will be learning what you do, how you do it differently and why that might interest them. As you build this reputation, you might need to deploy unique and unconventional (for you) tactics to keep your contacts engaged. In the past you might have discounted Facebook or Google+, for instance, but now that might be the perfect forum for you to offer insights and connection with your growing network. Or, perhaps it’s time to become more discerning about the invitations (on LinkedIn) that you accept, the groups and forums you are active in, or the friends you share jokes with on Facebook. All of these actions and interactions create a perception about who you are and what you value.
- When shifts in your marketplace cause the need for an adjustment, it’s important to assess the situation in light of your desired brand and reputation. How will you position yourself as valuable and relevant to a new market? Will your existing audiences receive your new positioning favorably? How transparent do you need to be in communicating your new direction?If you are now pursuing a new market, social media can provide tremendous tools for research and insight. Twitter is still one of the best feeds of real-time news and information about happenings and events across the globe; YouTube offers you the opportunity to share information, tips and the human side of your brand to online audiences; and Pinterest could be the right way to reach your marketplace, particularly when your offer has a high visual component.
- As your product or service brand grows in reach and visibility, you will need to protect that reputation tightly. Overexposure to the marketplace can lead to a decreased perception of value, where as too much exclusivity can help your product disappear from consideration.When your offer begins to enjoy a swell in support and engagement from online audiences, it’s important to keep those audiences involved and excited about your product or service. Using contests, coupons and rewards to honor excitement in the marketplace builds enthusiasm and can create loyalty for your offer with online audiences.On the other hand, if your product or service suffers from a decrease in value (perceived) in the marketplace, you would want to engage more robust, creative and perhaps innovative ways of reaching your audiences, re-establishing trust and engagement to drive the perception of value once again. This might mean running specific campaigns targeting key influencers to help re-establish your offer’s position in the marketplace. That said, this is typically only successful when the offer is genuinely valuable, but the marketplace has misunderstood or miscommunicated about its worth.
As your social networking visibility grows, use the tools to measure and monitor your presence. All media is not always “good media” in social media, and often an adjustment is warranted. In the same way Coloradans typically set out bottled water, aspirin and a soft pillow for out of town visitors, so should you assess your social networking to make sure your efforts aren’t giving you a headache.