Marketing YOU

You know how to market your product or service, but do you know how to market yourself? You are the critical factor to successfully selling your product or service, so make sure your marketing medium and message aren’t outdated.

It’s not just social networking. Facebook is no longer a site only used for reconnecting friendships or indulging your teenager’s need for constant communication. As of April, Facebook now has 200 million users, and its fastest growing segment is 35 years old and older. If you don’t have a page on Facebook, you’re missing out on an easy advertising medium. It takes just minutes to create a Facebook page, and soon, you can be establishing yourself as a leader in your field, developing your personal brand and creating more visibility for yourself, your product or your service.

Sign up with LinkedIn so you can easily be found with a Google search. LinkedIn is a business networking site where you can personalize your own page, broadcast your professional history and post testimonials from others. The contacts you link up and interact with, the more expansive your network. View LinkedIn as an opportunity to build your contacts, expand your network and increase your credibility.

Twitter began as a way to easily stay in touch with family, friends and business contacts by answering a simple question: What are you doing? But, now, Twitter also can be a marketing tool. Users “tweet” by sending short messages via mobile texting, instant message or the Web. Savvy business owners tweet to draw attention to a product, event, resource, blog or Web site. Use Twitter to find out what people are saying about a competitor or you. Show the human side of your business by discussing the good things people in your company are doing. Find out your contacts’ interests, or share some of your own. Get feedback on a problem or answers to questions. Organize meetings or “Tweetups.” Or, follow your mentors by seeing what they are tweeting about.

Complete the paper trail. If you’re still hatching your next big idea or have taken your time between business endeavors, consider freelancing, consulting or volunteering. Not only are you filling gaps in your work history, but you’re keeping your life fulfilling.

Don’t throw in the kitchen sink. If you are pulling out your résumé or portfolio to land that next big project or make a career shift, focus on accomplishments and work samples related to the position you are seeking. Prospective employers or business partners don’t want to be inundated with a chronology of everything you’ve ever done. Follow the same process for your references. Specifically select those relating to what you’re pursuing, and don’t use the same three references for every new opportunity. Take time to tailor your self-pitch.

Be yourself. People can sense fake a mile away. Skip the stilted business-speak and give a real sense of your personality with natural conversation and writing. If you think it doesn’t sound like you, it probably isn’t you.

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