Marketing is not restricted to only Marketing Professionals in the current age of social media and digital penetration. You may be wondering why I am saying so? If You have 9-5 good paying job, why will you need to market yourself. Entrepreneurs need to market themselves because they are making their personal brand as well as the brand image of their organization. But why would a salaried person or freelancer need to market themselves?
Because Marketing yourself means that you are showing your expertise to the world and establishing yourself as an authority in a subject. Whether you are the Chief Technology Officer of your startup or Head of Department/Vice President in an MNC or a freelancer who knows their profession well or working in an organization where you are ready to explore new opportunities; presenting your knowledge and your image in front of clients, employees and peers are very important.
“Marketing” is a necessary skill which impacts both the professional and the personal life of the people.
For example, I take this opportunity to tell a little bit about myself. I was a software engineer who had over 3.5 years of experience in the IT world when I took a career break due to personal reasons. When I wanted to return, I was not considered seriously as ‘a career break’, and ‘a small child’ are “Red Signals” for many HRs.
I got an opportunity to lead the “Digital Team” of a sports startup of which I was co-founder also. Although I knew nothing about digital marketing, social media marketing and blogging at that time, I kept on pushing myself into entrepreneurs circles and various women entrepreneur competitions where I represented myself as social media marketer for three long years. Today, very few people know that I was an IT professional and have a coding background. Most of the people know me for my Blogs which have been published on websites like Women’s web and social media marketing activities which I do for clients through this platform, which is my second venture.
I created this image through networking with the right people, consistently working with a goal in mind and updating my social media profile with the right content, which gives the message I want.
I was part of “Top 30 women entrepreneurs by IIT Delhi’s initiative WEE Foundation, Q1 2017 batch”. My startup was recognized as “Top 3000 startups of India” by SmartFifty – 50 solutions to Transform India, organized by IIM CIP in 2018. So, You can see how effective marketing and consistent effort bear the fruits!
Moving onto the next part, How will you market yourself. There are seven steps to ensure You shine:
- Identify your niche and set the target: It is crucial to identify your talent, passion and goal as the initial step. After these are concrete, now analyze what is the gap in the current offerings and what can you offer innovatively. Slowly, you start to inch closer to your goal. Marketing yourself is a long and consistent process which bears fruit when you are clear about your end result and each decision is made with that in mind.
- Seek recognition for your expertise: Showcase what you know by creating a knowledge base. Write a white paper, articles for leading magazines or start by voicing your opinions on the relevant topics. Identifying thought leaders and other complementary people are also crucial. As you learn by observing them and get noticed by sharing and commenting on their thoughts. Establish relationships and promote your work.
- Share your wisdom: Establish yourself as an expert and build relationships with your audience. Your articles or blogs should be informative, well written, relevant and valuable for the maximum impact.
- Build a community: Surround yourself in a network of like-minded people and work on building deeper relationships. When we have the right company, we get more value. For example, I am from New Delhi, yet I was the brain behind marketing designs for an Visionary summit in IIM Bangalore, Drishti which was held on 10th February 2019. Many professional Dignitaries were keynote speakers and Minister for IT, Telangana were the chief guest. This was possible through including myself in the right community and establishing as an expert even from afar. My work was appreciated as I went Out-of-Box in my ideas, marketing strategy and designs.
- Be of service to others: Become a trusted adviser and help people through your work. You may have noticed many people provide mentorship to someone starting out in your field, some indulge in CSR activities on the personal level and some offer free webinars. Because what you sow is what you reap!
- Be Social-Tech savvy: Like, share and comment are the three basic social media hygiene which everyone should follow. Join Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and relevant virtual communities where your network with people. Sharing your expertise for free and establishing your image are two points being followed by people rigorously.
- Protect and Build your Reputation: “Remember who you are”- is the message to the world. Hence protect your reputation and take every action, think every conversation carefully.
Marketing yourself is not thinking of Marketing exclusively. It is the continuous process where you build a community, show your expertise and establish your Personal Brand and achieve your long term aim.
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