In this modern day and age, so much in a person’s career can come down to their online presence. And based upon said career, your efforts need to be channeled in different directions of the internet so you can reach the right people.
This article isn’t about avoiding putting stupid stuff online. Most of us figure out how to use social networking to our best benefit. What to put up, who to show what, etc. If you’re not sure, google some other articles on that topic. My focus here is primarily on how I personally make my online presence work for me, and how I’m always trying to keep up with the newest, best ways to do so.
Since I find myself primarily focused on two careers, singing and travel, I regularly notice how different online media help each career. Keeping a strong online presence is key. No one uses the phone book anymore. It’s all about Google searches and social networking. When I talk to some who have traditional jobs in offices or the labor fields (or are of an older generation), they don’t quite get how someone who is self-employed (or works as an independent contractor) needs to make such extensive use of the internet. Perhaps for them sites like Facebook are just for fun. Or they can’t understand having a Twitter account, or writing a blog.
For me, yes, Facebook can definitely be fun. But at the same time, it’s an excellent source of business. (And I’m not talking purchasing Facebook ads. At my current point, I can’t see needing them anytime soon – they are a bit pricey.) But as a travel agent, don’t you think it helps me to post pictures of my travels? (The answer to that is yes, folks.) I strategically make certain pics and posts either “public” or “friends only”. Posts about my awesome trips? Public! Posts about the crappy day I had? Friends only! But why make anything public? Because there are other people out there who will find my page and will be wowed by the wonderful places I’ve visited or experiences I’ve had, and they will want to do the same. Or how about posting about Disney World when many of my friends are indeed looking to take trips to Disney World. I like to remind them that not only have I been going to Disney World regularly my whole entire life, but I can organize and book their trips for no added expense to them! They get a stress free Disney trip for the SAME price as booking through Disney, and I get some business coming my way. Win-win!
As to my caroling business, it’s all about having a great website. I’m lucky to have an amazingly talented friend run both my personal and caroling websites. She’s brilliant when it comes to graphic design and layout (I’ve learned TONS from her) and it’s a real eye-opener when you go on some other websites and realize what a hot mess they are. People are visual creatures and a website (or any other kind of graphic advertising) has to grab the viewer and keep them there. Once you achieve that, you’ve made a big step towards success!
Let’s talk some of the other online sites that I maintain out there. I have a Twitter account, but admittedly I don’t keep up with it as much. (Workin’ on it!) My goal lately has been to tweet at least once a week and grow from there. Another site that I’m trying to do better with is LinkedIn. For those who don’t know, LinkedIn is a networking site for work, jobs, and careers. It’s not a social hangout – it’s somewhere to post your resume and job experiences and network with others in yours and other fields. I just went in today to try to update a few things, as I hadn’t done so in quite some time.
I also have a YouTube channel. As a singer, this is now an absolute essential element to your career. Nowadays, I’m starting to see audition notices asking singers to include links to their YouTube channels when submitting their photos and resumes. A singer has to have a good number of videos on YouTube now – for potential hiring purposes and to cultivate a fan base. But like all sites, they are constantly updating and re-formatting as new forms of technology come on to the market. YouTube just did a big update, and I had to spend some time yesterday working on the visual aspects of my page – new profile pic, new banner photo, new corresponding Google account. (And there seem to still be a few kinks hanging around that I have to figure out.)
Then of course, there’s this blog. This page serves SO many purposes! First, it’s a great outlet for me to keep up with my writing. I love to write! I’m that crazy girl in school who actually enjoyed writing papers, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. I love to research and learn new things – but I especially love to share that info with others. My blog lets me do that. I also have many friends all over because of my singing and travels. Many have told me that they love to keep up with what I’m doing by reading my blog. And I’ll admit, it makes me feel kinda special. 🙂 But having a blog also helps to establish yourself as an expert in your field(s). By writing about the destinations I visit, it lets people see that I don’t just talk the talk – I walk the walk. As a result, I see my blog getting hits from all over the world because people are out there looking for the information I have to offer. Besides that being a fun little ego boost, it shows potential clients that I know what I’m talking about. If a potential client wants to go visit Vienna, well, here are tons of blog posts about all the great things I’ve seen and done while living in Vienna. They know they can come to me and get accurate information and trip planning help. Someone wants a good Disney hotel recommendation? Well, they can see that I have backed-up personal opinions based on experience, and I can not only help them choose their hotel, but do all the planning for them. Or perhaps someone wants to take voice lessons – they can see all my experiences as far as performing and auditioning around the world.
Maintaining such an extensive online presence is a lot of work, but in this technologically advanced era, it’s a necessity. You either embrace it and make it work for you, or you slowly wither away.