In the old days, it used to be reference letters that supported our claim to authenticity. We got one when we worked at a job and performed well, or when we asked our neighbor who knew us for a long time. I’ve accumulated quite a few of these letters and am grateful for them. Today, however, our reputation is formed online in virtual space.
I’ve noticed that whenever I publish online—whether it be on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest—people who approve of what I post express their appreciation in the manner provided by the particular social media website. It could be clicking “like,” commenting or becoming a follower. When and as this process unfolds, more people are attracted and I begin to build an online following.
This is why I think that today’s references, the “new references,” are those individuals who, like atoms in motion, are attracted to me by an inexplicable “chemistry.”
It happens over time
The process of developing our online reputation takes time. This is because followers want to see whether I’m capable of offering quality input consistently. They become used to my style and the manner in which I present material. It could be originally crafted content or references to extant content that is interesting and/or useful to them.
I’ve had followers express themselves after several years of following me! So, be patient because it really does take time.
Repetition isn’t boring
Assurance comes with repetition. It doesn’t mean that I say the same thing over and over again. It means repeating certain themes that are refreshed and renewed in the same way that we do not wear the same clothes every day. My experience tells me that follower are savvy and extremely aware of these nuances. They enjoy when I “re-package” content that nevertheless reveals my authentic self.
By word of mouth
People communicate with each other and when they find original, online content, they share the news with online friends. In many ways, therefore, the number of likes we get is not a true representation of the interest we build for our brand, products or services. It’s important, therefore, not to obsess with the number of likes you get. That’s because for every like you receive, there are perhaps ten others who like, but aren’t ready to commit to clicking.
I read an interesting article about Pinterest which explains that people who follow you are interested in your overall taste. If you’re consistent, the images you choose for your various boards and the descriptions you carefully craft for your Pins (as opposed to using what’s already provided) reveal things about you. This is precisely what people look for.
On Twitter, for example, there are entire communities whose members are “magnetically” attracted to each other via shared interests. You can find them by using Twubs.com. These are worlds of their own within the virtual, online world of the Internet.
The total picture
How we brand ourselves involves a complex process that unfolds over time and tangibly demonstrates, in a flitting succession of clicks, posts, expressions, reactions, chats and images: the whole picture of who we are.