Expert-Backed Strategies for Increasing Your Company's Online Visibility It's never been more vital to make a meaningful online impact: An expert in the field shares powerful methods of nailing it.
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Whether the intent is to grow a business or a personal brand, visibility is, of course, vital. To build a sturdy and consistently growing brand, you must get in front of the right eyes and address the right audiences, but this is far easier said than done. We float in a world saturated with people and brands wanting to stand out, and we go to great lengths to do so. So how can you — possibly with a limited budget, timeframe and bandwidth — grow an online presence… get in front of individuals who might not only love your product but become ambassadors of it?
Recently, I spoke with a good friend, Jen Gottlieb, a world-class PR consultant and "super connector," who is now focused on helping entrepreneurs and businesses learn this indispensable skill. She has a book coming out in October of 2023 entitled Be Seen, one that not only aims to train individuals and enterprises on how to be noticed by those around them but also how to recognize yourself as the asset you are.
She shared some winning insights in pursuit of both.
Among the early questions I asked Gottlieb was, "What are some major pitfalls you see with individuals trying to build their brand, following and overall digital footprint?"
"Too often, people try to build a brand alone," she replied. "They work hard and strategically to create a bunch of content, post it on their social media, then wait… and nothing happens. They keep at it for a while, but their audience doesn't grow and they start to feel discouraged.
"People also vastly underestimate their value. This is understandable: It's hard to feel like you bring anything new or interesting to a table that's already oversaturated. Your job is to figure out what your superpowers are, then connect those superpowers with people… to bring something to their lives that they never knew they needed."
Finding your superpowers
Take a quick look at any successful individual, brand or company online, and they have one thing in common: a deep understanding of who they are. They know their strengths and lean into them. Sometimes, these strengths aren't necessarily new or novel individually, but put together, the resulting portfolio amounts to something that uniquely appeals and applies to those who follow them.
Asked how we should go about finding what we're truly good at, Gottlieb observed:
"We spend way too much time on the internet comparing ourselves to other people. We feel, as we scroll through highlight reels of friends or influencers, that they are more worthy than we are. Stop comparing yourself to their curated perfecting.
"Instead, think about all the moments in your life you did something amazing (say, quit your job and started a side hustle, or ran a marathon). Write them down, followed by a list of your strengths and unique knowledge sets. Then, when you're experiencing imposter syndrome, take out the list, read it, and act like you're reading it about someone else. Be jealous of that person, marvel at that person and ask yourself, 'Is that individual worthy of doing awesome stuff?' Then realize that that person is you… and go and do."
Such a set of "superpowers," she added, will inevitably be unique to each person, and hopefully, resonate with individuals who are part of a target audience.
The engine of networking
It's never a bad time to leverage OPA, aka "other people's audiences." In this age, networking is as vital for growing an audience as breathing and eating are for survival. Here's what Gottlieb had to say about leveraging it:
"The key is finding people whose audiences could be your audience. Such a person may have similar interests or demographic sets. It could be another author, photographer or designer who has hundreds, thousands, or maybe just a few dozen followers. It doesn't really matter: From there, forge a relationship. Become friends. Reach out. Understand that you can bring something to the table for them as well. Approach it as a relationship that's going to be mutually beneficial, and the ball will get rolling."
This kind of effort, she explained, won't always result in a connection, but it's a numbers game: The more individuals we reach out to, the better chance of mutually leveraging one another's followings.
A critical three-part formula
A great combination to follow when trying to increase online reach and visibility is cultivating credibility, influence and authority. It's important to build all three to make your brand appear as robust and important as it should.
Gottlieb talked me through each of these components.
Credibility: "Anyone can get online and claim they're a business owner/expert in something, but it's hard to know whom you can trust. Not anyone can be featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur or Good Morning America, but you still need to create credibility through respected sources. People subconsciously pick this type of source, so it's important to spend time researching and approaching them."
Influence: "This depends on a handful of factors: 1) You must have a steady online presence, and consistent content creation is king, here; 2) Leverage OPA, because being featured on someone else's feed adds to your influence; 3) Be real: People love entrepreneurs with personalities, and are drawn to companies because of them. They want to know and see who you are, what you talk about and what kind of content you're creating."
Gottlieb added that if you're building a product-centric brand, it may not always be important or necessary to build a personal brand as well, especially if you'd rather stay out of the limelight.
Authority: "This is a combination of credibility and influence, and essentially becomes power. An undercover cop walks into a restaurant with normal clothes on, and people don't listen. That same cop flashes a badge and everything changes. When you're a business owner, you want to have that badge, and it comes in all kinds of shapes, sizes and forms (such as case studies, where you've been featured, the stages you've been on, the podcast you've been featured on, etc.) — all of them give you authority and make people more likely to listen to you."