Positive Word of Mouth and Your Brand - Part 3
Part 3 of a five-part series on the importance of personal branding in garnering positive word of mouth
Sep. 21, 2009 05:45 PM
This is part three of a five part series of the importance of personal branding in garnering positive word of mouth. In our hyper-connected society, word of mouth has become “world of mouth” and recommendations truly craft your online and offline persona and value. It makes all the difference between positive or negative word of mouth about you, your service, or your business.
By now I hope that you’ve had the opportunity to really discover what your personal brand is. From getting feedback from contacts, clients and peers, to making some strategic plans to create a “word garden” that highlights your strongest brand attributes – we’ve been going over much to understand what you think your personal brand is and the perception that is out there. Unfortunately, human nature dictates that perception is reality. So, if you have not really understood what the current perception is of you – out there – then do that first before you move onto the next phase. (Personal Brand and Word of Mouth – Part 1 and Personal Brand and Word of Mouth – Part 2)
Now, it’s time to craft your communication plan. And, this is important for individuals within a company, independent professionals, solopreneurs and business owners. I’ll focus on how to create a communication plan that garners positive word of mouth. Whether you’re looking for a job or not, positive word of mouth is something that you want to encourage, nurture and know of prior to you needing it. Asking for positive word of mouth when you need it and when you haven’t nurtured it with your contacts, sounds desperate. Being desperate, no matter how you package it looks neither inspiring or positive on anyone.
You’ve heard the phrase, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Even now that phrase continues with, “and more importantly it’s who knows you well.” To garner positive word of mouth, it is your job to create the curriculum – meaning that you must put together the process of the way that people speak of and about you.
Why does word of mouth matter?
Word of mouth has always been considered a strong and reliable way to get information. With all of our social networks online, too, word of mouth has become the “new black”. We have greater lists of friends through online networks, friends that we’ve rekindled past high school and college relationships and friends that have become friends in a truly different definition of the word now that “online friending” is mainstream.
93% identify word of mouth as best and most reliable source for information, ideas, product, services and people. There are 500 to 1500 people we are connected with in life that are our weak ties (associates, acquaintances, colleagues). Source: Northeastern University
First things first, it’s important for you to define what success means to you. To put forth a good map to success, you have to know what that first stop in the destination looks like, sounds like and feels like. What’s most important are to know the “who” needs to be involved, what numbers would measure that success and your mile markers along that road to success. Why? Because you will teach others how to recognize connections for you and it must be done in a way that is specific, portable and easy to understand.
What will people talk about?
Creating your curriculum
It is important to teach people about positive word of mouth for you and what would be most effective. Why? Because when they ask you “how can I help you”, you want to provide a more helpful response than “find me a job” or “send some business my way.” Do you think true action would happen with that limited information?
Your communication plan is like your curriculum for teaching people how speak positively on your behalf and who to do this with.
Next, identify what phrases people can listen to for you that would give them a clue that this person might be a good person to connect you with? It could be simply they say, “I need someone with (and then they say something related to your talent). Yet, it might be more subtle. What do those subtle comments sound like? Going back to my example, those people that are good connections for me are in a leadership role with an organization or association, and they say “we’re good at getting members but not retaining them” or “our members are really wondering what they get for membership with us” or “we’re hosting a conference”.
So, you might be thinking “well, that’s well and good when you’re selling a product or consulting service” but what about if you want to move ahead in your career/profession?
Kin to listening for specific types of phrases is looking for certain things. Back to my example, I look for associations with Facebook and Twitter accounts with little or no activity or worse yet, they’re the only ones “talking” on those pages, so there’s no engagement or conversation. For you what would that be? If you’re a job seeker, it might be someone who is rushing around, not making appointments or being able to return phone calls. It could be a CEO whose having to be project manager, blogger and social media specialist. What do they look like when they don’t have what you authentically provide?
Lastly, teach your contacts ways to bring up in conversation some topics that would give you (and them) and idea if this is a good contact. For example, going back to the job seeker example, it might be asking “could you use some help on that project?” or “have you thought about someone who does (whatever your talent is)?” Or, maybe, it could be this question “how do you decide who you are going to put in a position of responsibility in your team.” All of these questions will give you and your contact insight into what your best contact is looking for along with their decision making process.
Reader Feedback: Page 1 of 1
Latest Cloud Developer Stories
Subscribe to the World's Most Powerful Newsletters
Subscribe to Our Rss Feeds & Get Your SYS-CON News Live!
SYS-CON Featured Whitepapers
Most Read This Week