Who Are You, Anyway?: Showing Up Online

For the past few weeks I’ve been pondering all the reasons it’s good to have so much choice in the world, as well as what makes it challenging. Have you ever stopped to count how many choices of everyday commodities there are? Be it bread or shampoo or a professional service provider?

As a loyal shopper at Trader Joe’s honestly I find just the right amount of variety for myself. Stopping by a larger grocery chain quite frankly can overwhelm me. And I’ve had the same end result of overwhelm when I go shopping online for anything.

Say you are trying to pick for yourself a marketing specialist to support you. And there are just too many great looking options to cull through as you search for possible partners.

How does one choose when a friend’s referral doesn’t come to fruition or you want to do a little of your own footwork to confirm for yourself?

How do you decide who to call and talk to as a next step?

Thanks to Guest Blogger: Judy Dunn of Cat’s Eye Marketing for a piece that caught my attention and inspired some great dialogue when initially posted on her blog October 17th. (And she is thankfully over the cold and feeling strong again!)

In our easy access and digital age with literally endless options for services and service providers, it seems that truly differentiating yourself, representing yourself AUTHENTICALLY is ever more CRITICAL. Are you willing to be yourself and present yourself as so?

Judy Dunn offers one way to make it easier for clients to settle with confidence on exploring you as the solution. Read on and feel free to comment either here, on the original blog post or BOTH:


Who Are You, Anyway?: Showing Up Online

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Originally posted October 17, 2009

It’s been a strange week. I’m in day 10 of the crappy upper respiratory stuff.

Type. Cough. Sniffle. Repeat.

I’m keeping my water glass to myself and trying not to breathe on Bob. In fact, it would be better if I just didn’t breathe at all, his eyes are saying.

And why is everyone talking about website bios all of a sudden?

This week had a weird synchronicity to it. People have been talking about website bios and social media profiles. In phone calls. On Twitter. On forums. In emails.

Everywhere.

For a minute, I thought they’d all gone crazy. Then I put it together.

It’s what I’ve been working on all week for clients. Fun, memorable bios. About Us pages. Social media profiles.

Bios are on my brain. So of course I’m paying attention more.

You know, like when you buy a new car and all of a sudden you see all the other ones on the road just like it? They were always there, but you just noticed them.

Showing up online: part II

This past week, I had lots of smart questions from people struggling to create their bios, to boil down the essence of who they are in a short paragraph or two—in a way that is consistent and that attracts the people they want to work with.

Here are some starter tips:

1. Align your profile and website bio with your brand.

Your website gives people a good idea of who you are (or it should). But if the bio on your website, the one on your blog and the one on Facebook sound like you are talking about three different people, I’d say you have a problem. Unless you have multiple personality disorder. Then, of course, it would make perfect sense.

Connect your profile with your brand. If you are playful, and your website copy reflects that, so should your profile. Got a quirky sense of humor? Go with it. Someone tweeted a line from my website bio on Twitter yesterday: She said, “@CatsEyeWriter’s website bio says she can juggle, has been to Timbuktu and can say, ‘Four knives will be sufficient’ in Swahili. I LOVE THIS!”

Everything I said was true. And, yes, a little quirky. Just like me.

Just be sure you show yourself in a real and consistent way—across all platforms.

2. Tell what you do best—and for whom.

When I am browsing through Twitter profiles and bios or visiting someone’s About Us page on their website, I am attracted to the ones that deliver their messages with style and originality.

One of my Twitter friends, Havi Brooks, says it this way on her website’s About Havi page:

My duck and I (okay, the duck is a little weird and that could be a blog post all by itself) help bright, creative kooky people (who she does it for) destuckify their stuff so they can do their thing (what she does best).

She goes on to say:

So they can work through all the overwhelming, sometimes-terrifying goo that gets in the way of doing what they love and biggifying it like crazy.

When I read this, I know right away. Either I am her target market or I am not.

3. Leave the cardboard person at the doorstep.

I saw a small business networking site recently that warned its members to only enter “basic business information” into their profile. They said, “It’s not about you personally. It’s a business profile.

I couldn’t disagree more, particularly if you are a small biz owner. People who are deciding whether to interact with you are looking for someone real.

Asking yourself a few of these questions will help you uncover—and show—the real, multi-dimensional you:

1. What three things do you believe most about people?

2. What is the one thing you’ve done in your life that you are most proud of?

3. What’s the one thing you haven’t done yet that you want to do before you die?

4. What three adjectives best describe you?

5. Which movie or TV character are you most like and why?

6. What’s your favorite food or beverage?

7. Name the two things that bug you the most when they happen.

Use phrases from these answers to make a list. From that list, mix and match until you come up with the whole person that best describes you.

On Twitter, it’s a challenge to do that in just 160 characters, but that’s part of the fun. And it’s the very process that gets you to the core of who you are.

My Twitter profile says:

Slightly neurotic copywriter. Loves strong verbs, creating unique online identities, oaky Merlot & John Cleese. Thinks the word cree-A-tive is overused.

4. Act online in ways that match your profile.

People are getting to know and, hopefully, trust you, so your online behavior and the copy in your bio should not clash. Who you are should not change. Whether you write an article for a social networking site like Biznik, create a new blog post or make a comment on Twitter, stay true to yourself.

5. Play with the content as you change and grow.

You aren’t going to be the same person you are today. None of us are. Hey, next year you might climb Mt. Everest. Or write a book. Or become a goalie on a women’s indoor soccer team (which one of my clients did) You might join the hole-in-one club. Or master conversational French.

Profiles are easy to edit. Be sure to do that regularly so when things change, your customers, prospects and colleagues can keep up with all the cool things you are doing.

What does your profile say about you?

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