Speak Your Mind – It’s Good For Your Business!
“Well-behaved women seldom make history.” – Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
One of my personal challenges is that I’m not one of those naturally outspoken people. It’s part personality and part learned habits (nice girls sit quietly… the whole be seen and not heard mentality). Takes some work to break out of that thought pattern, but it’s worth it if you’ve got goals to reach.
There’s nothing wrong with a calm quietness or reserved dignity, of course! But sitting quietly and never expressing our opinions or sharing our thoughts certainly won’t help us build our businesses, change the world, or make history.
Are you afraid you might say the wrong thing, look silly, or get something incorrect? The more you speak out, the more likely it is that you will at some point. And that’s the perfect time for the polite manners to come out and allow you to gracefully learn. Don’t worry about it so much. It won’t be the end of the world. You might even surprise yourself with the confidence you find in what you know when you start speaking up more. You probably know more that can help and encourage others than you think you do.
Ready to speak your mind? Great! Here are some tips on how to build your brand and reputation through your online interactions, including blog commenting and social networking.
Gravatars/Avatars: You know the little photo that shows up when you leave a blog comment or post on a social network? It’s called your gravatar (for blog comments) or avatar. Set one up free at gravatar.com and it will automatically show up on many blogs when you post using the same email address that you used to register at the gravatar website. Use the same photo, or very similar ones, across all your networks and for your blog comments so people get used to seeing you and know it’s the same “you” in each place.
Link URL: When you comment on a blog, you get to enter a URL for you website. You don’t have to enter your main website home page. You can use your Facebook fan page, your Twitter profile, or your blog URL. You could link to your online portfolio or gallery page. Consider which one would be most engaging for someone who just read your comment to visit and use that one. (But don’t add extra links into the comment you leave unless it’s to a resource you’re sharing, or unless the post requests it.)
Weigh Your Words: Don’t shy away from controversial thoughts or replies, but don’t use that as an excuse to be impolite or cruel. There’s no excuse for rudeness or personal attacks, and you don’t want your name or business associated with that kind of attitude.
Don’t Be Afraid to Share Your Thoughts: It’s okay to add your two cents to a post. If you read something that sparks a great idea, share it in the comments! Got something to add to an idea or thought? Share it!
Get More Links to Your Blog: Many blogs are setup with a plugin called CommentLuv which automatically adds a link below your comment to your last blog post. If you register at comluv.com it’ll help those blogs find your last blog post.
Be Consistent: It’s better to choose just 2 or 3 blogs to follow and comment on regularly (the owner and other readers will get used to seeing your comments and get to know you), or to choose just 2 or 3 social networks to be active on, instead of trying a different one every week. Consistency is what will help you benefit from networking online.
Is it worth it? Yes! Networking online will help you:
- Get more people clicking through and visiting your site (when they read what you’ve got to say and want to find out more about who you are and what you do).
- Make connections, develop friendships and business partnerships.
- Build links back to your blog/website which help the search engines find and see your website as more relevant and popular, which in turn boosts your search engine rankings.
- Become more confident and get you out there interacting instead of feeling isolated in your home business.
- Interact with clients and potential clients so you can keep your finger on the pulse of what they want and need.
- Continue learning and growing as a person and a business owner – because your business can only grow as fast as you do!
So, go ahead. Don’t worry about sitting quietly. Give yourself permission to speak up. Do it for your business, and for yourself. You have thoughts worth sharing that will help others. Find your voice.
And now, let me give you access to some great free resources for small businesses including 101 Free/Cheap Ways to Market Your Business, 119 Things You Can Outsource, and more at www.michelleshaeffer.com
Michelle Shaeffer has been a work at home mom for more than 10 years and loves to share the tips and strategies she’s learned to help other home based business owners balance, manage, and market their businesses.