The internet becomes increasingly more popular and accessible each year, and there are a number of fundamental areas where this is abundantly apparent. One of the most notable, is the rise of digital profiles created by Executives.
For those who believe social media is not worthy as a business platform, a recent article written by the Harvard Business Review noted that 80% of the Chief Executive Officers of the world’s largest 50 companies, are now engaged online and on social media. Indicating that the transition into the Digital world is taking place at the top of the ranks, too.
There are a range of prevalent professional social media networks, one of which is LinkedIn. Every two seconds, an additional two members join the site. Another site which is commonly used by professional personnel within Europe (predominantly Germany) is Xing. The sites membership figures stood at a healthy 1.6 million users in 2006 and today, Xing is utilised by over 14 million business professionals.
The statistics speak for themselves, but what is it about digital profiles that is drawing professionals in?
Digital profiles offer a chance for virtual networking to take place, and they also help to establish the reputation of not only individual employees, but entire businesses too. During this digital age, investment in Social Media has become a necessity, not a Luxury. Businesses are continuing to re-distribute budgets away from outdated approaches to advertising and more towards social media and other inbound marketing strategies.
In addition to this, a global survey carried out by McKinsey & Company established that 81% of Marketing Executives believed that an effective online presence is ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ important for staying competitive.
What should also be noted is that the very existence of digital profiles has helped to create thousands of new careers and business opportunities. Many recruiters use virtual sites such as LinkedIn and Xing to scope out new talent and find existing personnel that may be suitable for mandates that they are currently working on. It’s no secret that online profiles can be a deciding factor on whether a person or firm might be approached by a prospective client or for an opportunity that could change their career.
So, what are the benefits?
Countless Corporate Executives dismiss social networking as an operational disruption or regard it as ‘too much of a risk’ in respect to security breaches and data privacy.
But what remains unseen is the abundant opportunity that it creates in terms of business growth and revenue generation. One highly successful example of Web branding, as reported by Forbes, is Blendtec’s YouTube video campaign “Will It Blend?” The video series features Blendtec’s CEO, Tom Dickson, comically attempting to blend all manner of objects in one of his company’s appliances. Thanks to the series’ viral effects, the company’s blender sales have quintupled.
The Blendtec videos cost practically nothing to produce and share, yet they created vast amounts of interest and engagement, with the end result being company profit.
Online exposure is priceless and this is especially true if you’re looking for a new role, and want to have your name heard within the market. Sprout Social recently reported that 92% of companies are using social media during the recruitment process – making it evident that this is a vital tool with regard to hiring.
What should a digital profile look like?
When building a digital profile, the idea is to make a professional lasting impression on potential clients and colleagues as well as people you may have never met. An important aspect of success at present, is awareness and proficiency within social media and the general digital world.
A crucial part of any profile is the picture, a profile with a photo creates personal branding, recognition and trust. Pictures are also more immediate than words, and profiles without photos are typically presumed to be either inactive or outdated, and few employers and clients are looking to hire or work with someone who is demonstrably lacking in activity. In addition to this, there are many “spam” social profiles which aim to sell products or services and collect information, profiles such as this typically don’t have a photo.
The next feature to consider is to ‘establish expertise’. The focus should be professional expertise and accomplishments. An effective profile includes current and past employment, education, and industry experience within each role. Personal information, such as date of birth and marital status are not essential to a business profile.
The use of relevant functional / industry keywords throughout is also a useful tool if you’re trying to gain the attention of clients, recruiters or employers. Terms which are applicable to your field will often be used when a search is carried out, in order to refine the most relevant candidates.
Also, be confident to divulge key achievements during your career. After all, the intention is to interest the audience and give yourself a competitive edge over countless other executives who have also posted their profiles online.
However, don’t over exaggerate your versatility, some people make the mistake of merging together their credentials and create the impression that they are ‘jacks of all trades’ (but masters of none). People look for specialists, not generalists.
Digital profiles are a perfect way to network without leaving the office. You can connect with people and forge conversations with them, which can be the start of building lasting relationships. It will also make people think of you, should they require someone with your skill set or expertise. These profiles are a great way to advertise yourself. An online profile and network of relevant contacts ensures that when business or opportunities arise you’ll be ready to take advantage of them instantly.
Many corporate leaders are finally recognising that using social technologies to engage with consumers, providers, and even with their own employees enables their company to be more accessible, receptive and active.
In summary, the internet is a great way to connect internationally, and with around 3 billion members on LinkedIn alone, it’s obvious that Executives really should be expanding their reach into the world of Online Profiles.