Posts Tagged digital eminence

Improve your personal digital eminence by adding value

Posted by on Monday, 15 April, 2013

IMG_0962I’ve written on this topic before and in multiple spaces. I first touched on the idea back in January 2011 with this post over on the Notes from Rational Support blog: On Personal Digital Eminence. In that post I set for a simple call to action for “both IBMers and the public alike: Get out there and distinguish yourself in your space”. Many of you heeded that call, saw the value, and have begun sharing more in the social spaces and really building your own eminence, even taking the more specific actions of claiming your own name space to improve your digital eminence!

Today, rather than selling you on the value of creating your online eminence and thought leadership, I want to talk to you about a single small refinement that has the largest impact when sharing online.

One of the key items in the IBM Social Computing Guidelines is the idea of “adding value”. This means asking yourself before posting if this is going to add any value to the conversation, or if it will add value by creating a conversation worth having. Now, I think most of us can rationalize some sort of value into nearly everything we post today, so I’d like to touch on how to improve this notion of “value add”.

The single most effective and easiest way to add value is to provide some sort of context or commentary when sharing any link. Have you see people share only a link with no other text around it? How often have you clicked on those links? I’m willing to say rarely to never. You may also be thinking that most of what you reshare from others is self-explanatory; and in many cases it quite well could be. But, unless it is an eCard meme, I’m guessing there’s value you can add to anything you share or reshare… especially if you are sharing in a more professional context. Let’s take the following example which shows how I added value to a share that was already potentially self-explanatory:

In the example below, Susan shared Robert’s post on G+. Since I don’t follow Robert, Susan’s share gave me immediate value as the content was interesting to me… but when it comes to resharing, how could I add even more value to Robert’s post and Susan’s share? Simple: I added my own perspective as to why this post has value for me:

gplus_context_share    .

Adding your own insights or context does a few things to add value here: One, it provides a reason for your audience to pay attention and click-through to the link or content you found interesting enough to share. Two, it begins to build up your own digital eminence as people begin to understand your views and insights on what interests you. And as a third tangential benefit, adding context and commentary like this surfaces you in Google search results lending even more weight to your personal digital eminence.

Don’t believe me? Need a real world example? Try Google searching on the phrase “digital eminence” and you’ll find that my content is not only one of the top 3 results, but two of the highlighted images are also from my own posts. Results which have come directly from adding value when sharing these posts from myself or by others.

If you want those same kind of results (or better) for yourself start adding your own commentary and context to the content you share. Soon, you’ll find your own name popping up in search results like this too! It really is the single easiest and best way to build your own digital eminence around the topics which interest you… you’ll thank me when a hiring manager does some quick searches and hires you into that new role because YOU show up in the results.

 

Build your success by claiming your name-space

Posted by on Thursday, 28 March, 2013

IMG_1741I don’t care in WHAT industry you’re currently working, your social presence is quickly becoming the defacto standard for success on multiple levels: B2B, B2C, as well as employment and advancement. Today, I’m going to talk about the latter; your career growth.

I’m sure you’ve heard it before and you’ll continue to hear the same pitch (and not just from me): being active in social media is important. In today’s digital world, there is a shift occurring across industries who are adopting the digital paradigms of expertise once relegated to academics and people with acronyms after their names. That paradigm being article publication in industry journals, magazines, and hard bound volumes. Today, all industries are using digital publication channels to research the digital eminence and expertise of prospective employees, as well as measuring current employees and identifying those who are candidates for advancement.

Take a moment and do this quick comparison in your head: how many times have you ego surfed yourself, versus how many times you’ve researched someone else on-line? What’s your normal process when you get a friend request on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, GooglePlus? Do you blindly accept/reject, or do you click-through and check the person out a bit, looking for reasons to make that connection or deny it? I know which side of that I fall on…

Now look at it from another perspective: if you put that effort into curiosity or determining a social connection, don’t you think any employer is going to go to even greater lengths to research a candidate to ensure they are the right person for the role they are working to fill? You better believe they are! Knowing that, we need to be prepared to have the best on-line presence we can muster, wouldn’t you say?

With that, here’s a few things you can do with relative ease to make sure that your presence is not only found, but controlled by you and helping your personal digital eminence stand out:

  • Register your own domain name- This is the first step to owning your name and your presence. Here’s a great article by Dan Gillmor explaining why this is essential. Simply said, it gives you more control rather than relying on third-party services to host your name-space. Having your own domain name/ URL provides that first bit of a stable web property upon which you can build.

 

  • Build your personal landing page- A quick and easy solution is to use a service like About.me to build a landing page behind your domain name. Yes, I’ve gone against my own recommendation above and use a third-party to provide my landing page content for AcdntlPoet.com. But I still own the domain and can point it to this blog easily if About.me starts behaving badly. For now, their free service provides me with exactly what I want and need: a location to connect all my other presences. A slightly more advanced step may be to use WordPress.com or install your own WordPress based blog in your domain and take control of all your content.

 

  • Connect the appropriate social accounts so employers or clients can find you- Now that you have your Domain URL and have built a landing page, start connecting the appropriate social channels. This doesn’t mean you have to connect *everything*. At the least, this means using your landing page to link to other professional presences online where you may be engaging in social discussions, sharing slide decks or blog posts, or where your hosting other professional information. Having a one-stop page that connects your other entities to your name and persona continues to help build your eminence.

 

  • Claim your Google Authorship- This is really a big win for anyone who publishes blog posts or other articles a s a means of establishing credibility or expertise in their industry. I’ve blogged about how to claim your authorship before, and am finding that every day this is becoming more and more critical to ensure results for searches on you provide the right details. It is a simple task that will bring larger long-term rewards.

 

 

So, there you have it; four beginning steps to building your digital eminence and helping yourself become more marketable in your industry compared to those who haven’t begun to do so. Of course this doesn’t mean that’s all you have to do to suddenly become a leader in your space, but it gives you the structure upon which you can build your expertise for others to see, and more importantly allows your information to be found easily when they need someone like you on their team. Unless you don’t care about your career, you can’t afford to not be building your digital eminence. Soon, if you can’t be found online, you simply won’t exist to employers.

Influence is irrelevant

Posted by on Wednesday, 9 January, 2013

jro_kloutThat got your attention, didn’t it? Last month I called 2013 the Year of Influence and shared Brian Solis’ interview of Klout founder/CEO Joe Fernandez where they spoke about the future of Klout as a tool for influence measurement. Contrary to the title of this current post, I still believe 2013 will be the year of influence for content marketers and social businesses on a large scale. But, let me tell you why I think it is also irrelevant to some of us:

In social business, the common belief is that measuring a person’s influence on social networks is the key to showing value; that influence is THE metric to use to show value and success. That is to say: is it accurate that if I have a higher influence score then I am obviously more successful in social business? Many people have been scurrying to quantify this as part of their efforts to define ROI. You’ve even heard me use the word when speaking about other aspects of social business and how being and influencer and working with other influencers are key parts to creating results.

While I’ve been cautiously skeptical about companies purporting to be able to define this soft concept in quantifiable numbers, I did buy in to the idea that influence is one of the keys to show value beyond simple click-through or follower metrics. I’m no longer so sure. From a strictly sales or marketing organization perspective that may indeed still be the case; but I don’t work in sales, I work in the support organization where our mission is different and our value is most often seen after the sale.

From a support delivery perspective, as a client what you want from me isn’t my opinion nor my ability to influence you to my ideologies; what you want (and need) is my tacit knowledge and skills to solve existing technical problems. As a client/customer your interaction with us has nothing to do with our level of influence, instead it is wholly focused on your trust in our expertise and capabilities; two items which activity measuring services like Klout, Kred, Crowdbooster, or PeerIndex can’t touch on… at least not yet.

Tom Webster at BrandSavant.com notes in a prior blog post:

“… These are the three appeals:

  • Ethos, the argument from the author’s credibility;
  • Pathos, an appeal to the emotions of the audience;
  • Logos, or an appeal to the audience’s sense of logic and reason.

Writers who skillfully weave Ethos, Pathos and Logos stand the best chance of swaying their audience to change their state. I believe that what “influence measures” are working towards is this: a quantification of Ethos. They aren’t there yet, but they are iterating rapidly. And I can buy a Klout score as a representation of Ethos, especially if they would finally get around to applying these scores to individual topics. But Ethos alone is insufficient. What all of these scores fail to measure–indeed, cannot measure–is the effect of the message itself… “

Taking Tom’s ideas into account, we can still use the Rhetoric concepts of Ethos, Pathos, and Logos to help our efforts in quantifying value within the support realm but outside of the concept of influence.

  • Ethos= perceived trust and identified skill.
  • Logos= quality of interactions and historic interaction/observation
  • Pathos… There is less of an emotional need in support, as logic and reason are ingrained in our technical content used to answer questions or solve issues. But what this does touch on is the sense our clients get from our interactions which may help them be more inclined to contact us sooner when an issue is encountered, or conversely may cause them to use us only as a last resort. Call this approach-ability, friendliness, or personality.

So, let me try to define a new way of looking at this:

Value for a social business support account = perceived trust + identified skill + historic interaction/observation + quality of interactions + responsiveness + approach-ability.
Or, put more simply: value = ethos + logos + pathos

But it goes beyond that. You can see here, what we need from these measurement tools is not a quantification of influence. Rather, we need thought leadership or digital eminence quantified: a person/account which is perceived by their followers as best in breed; the people who are technically adept and know the right answer, the smart answer… the connectors to the knowledge you need.

The deeper root problem here is that the mock equation above is based on measurements of concepts, thoughts, and feeling; not always directly observable or quantifiable activities. So, how do we quantify perception?  In my research I’ve found that direct feedback is the single most critical component to quantifying subjective perception. But, often that feedback is scarce at best, and non-existent most other cases. Often (and especially in self-help scenarios) once a problem is solved there is no additional contact to close the loop and provide feedback so we are left attempting to quantify the unknown, and make educated assumptions of effectiveness to close the gaps as best we can.

In light of the lack of direct quantifiable feedback we only have indicators like click-throughs, reach, and influence scores to tell us if our efforts in the social business spaces are moving in the right direction and potentially effective in helping our clients solve their issues, and to show us value beyond the pure technical content we create and share. So, while influence is indeed irrelevant, the scoring information is a usable measurement to at least tell us if we’re doing something right.

All our efforts in the social spaces, of course, grow IBM’s influence as a whole as we build that level of trust and identified skill.  But in support, indirectly providing influence is a side-effect of our primary objective: getting the right answers to the right people just in time.