A strong online presence is not just an option in today’s business world, it’s a necessity. It can establish a director’s thought leadership influence while opening doors to new opportunities. But knowing how to build and maintain your profile takes time and effort. We spoke with founder and CEO of ThinkTank Social (TTS) Samantha Tait about how to stay ahead of the competition using your digital director profile in 2024.

    1. Personal branding

    Developing a personal brand that aligns with your career goals allows you to emphasise your key strengths and values, which set you apart as a director. It is a way of writing your own narrative to ensure you are perceived by others in a positive light and to show who you are as a professional.

    “In 2024, this is more important than ever,” says Tait. “If I hadn't started building my personal brand in 2011, I doubt I'd be where I am in business today. A digital presence is essential in today's competitive world, serving not just as an asset, but as a necessity for business success.”

    One way to create a brand as a professional is to share your unique voice, opinions and advice on LinkedIn. Go beyond a ‘like’. Add to conversations by commenting on topics to which you can add valued insights and unique angles. Your profile will soon gain followers and invitations to connect with other professionals in your field with whom you may collaborate in the future.

    2. Strategic networking

    In today’s digital economy, the idea of the world as a ‘global village’ has never been more relevant and making connections with professionals never easier. But strategic networking is more than just someone accepting your invitation to connect. It’s about placing yourself in the right place at the right time and seizing the opportunity to share your knowledge and build your director profile. Tait says LinkedIn's QR code feature is one of the most effective methods she’s used to grow an engaged and trusted network. The approach has significantly contributed to business opportunities and successes for her over time by effortlessly converting in-person meetings into lasting online connections.

    Whether networking is virtual (social media) or in person (at professional events), it is more about the quality of connections than the quantity. As former Apple CEO Steve Jobs once said, “One home run is much better than two doubles.” This means it is better to seek out professionals who can not only benefit from your expertise but who can help you achieve your own strategic business goals. For Tait, the bottom line is “your network is your net worth”.

    3. Thought leadership

    As a director, you’ve proven that you’re a leader with high ambitions. You’re someone who deeply understands the business you’re in and you’re seeking to curate your personal brand into that of someone who continually strives to self-educate and grow.

    By sharing your expertise through thought leadership articles, blog posts and speaking engagements, you can position yourself as a valued director who doesn’t sit back as an idle observer. In the social media context, thought leadership is more than reposting someone else’s articles. In order to build your director profile, you must tap into unique perspectives rooted in your experiences and share insights that can benefit others on their journeys. “As long as your content is valuable, relevant, and accessible, you'll gradually build a larger audience and, over time, deepen trust,” says Tait.

    Her own strategic approach goes even further. Recognising the importance of positioning herself as a thought leader, she carefully selects podcasts with audiences that align with her own target demographic and reaches out to those platforms, offering to share valuable insights on topics that resonate with their listeners and add depth to her expertise.

    “This method not only increases my visibility,” she recalls. “It also significantly improves my search engine rankings. Leveraging these podcast appearances, I repurposed content across my social media channels to engage and grow my audience further. This approach not only demonstrated my proactive stance in thought leadership but also led to direct inquiries, enhancing my reputation as a director.” Tait is a former director of Rugby Victoria.

    4. Confident self-promotion

    Striving professionals who are adept at self-promotion garner greater visibility in their fields while cultivating robust connections. Don’t be modest when presenting your worth as an asset to a business or a board. Displaying strong confidence is a soft skill that goes a long way towards building your director profile.

    A well-crafted LinkedIn page is a non-negotiable and the perfect place to highlight your achievements, skills and endorsements. It should not be ignored or half baked. Your page profile is your passport to opportunity both domestically and globally, so don’t underestimate its reach and power. Audit your profile page every six months and take suggestions from the platform about how to improve it.

    5. Create videos

    If you haven’t yet tapped into the power of video to present your knowledge as a director, this should be the year. According to social media management platform Sprout Social, LinkedIn Live videos obtain 24 times more engagement than static posts and are the perfect place to add personality to your public profile, share your brand values and inform your community of upcoming events in which you take part. And you don’t have to hire a videographer to get engagement.

    Sprout Social states that 34 per cent of consumers would rather watch authentic short-form videos than overly produced longer ones. Even a short clip filmed in the car to promote a speaking engagement can add value to your profile. However, if long-form and educational videos are your thing, you can create a YouTube channel and start building your profile there.

    Tait recognises that not everyone is comfortable in front of the camera and says many of her colleagues would much prefer to write content or use audio messaging. She recommends starting with the medium where you feel most at ease and expanding your range as you grow more confident. “It's about finding what works best for you and your audience. Diverse content caters to different preferences, as people consume information in various ways.”

    6. Build your public speaker profile

    In order to boost your director profile, you need to make your presence known in a variety of contexts. If public speaking is a fear, it may be worth taking steps to overcome your dread and build your public speaker profile.

    “Public speaking was initially challenging, but I quickly realised the value I was bringing to the audience, many of whom wouldn't dare take the stage themselves,” recalls Tait.

    Speaking at conferences, summits, symposiums and universities puts you in front of an audience interested in what you have to say as an expert in your industry, while raising your exposure and building trust. Tait says it's important to remember that you often hold more knowledge than your audience, who are there to absorb what you have to say. With each speaking event, your skills and confidence grow. She also stresses the importance of storytelling over lecturing.

    Leverage your talks by filming and sharing them on your social platforms. As with any self-promoting endeavour, however, you must remember that, more often than not, speaking gigs will not come knocking on your door. You must hunt down events that resonate with you and align to your knowledge and experience.

    7. Collaborate on mentoring

    Mentoring stands out as a key method to enhance skills internally, empowering others to build the expertise required to remain at the forefront of their aspirational journeys. When mentors and mentees are involved in the process and invested in each other's success, valued and beneficial connections are made.

    “A mentoring framework offers numerous advantages,” says Tait. “It empowers employees to take ownership of their career paths, encourages continuous learning and creates a culture of mutual growth and support.

    “As part of my commitment to mentoring at Thinktank Social, I work closely with all employees to nurture and develop their personal brands. Through monthly sessions, I delve into understanding each individual's aspirations and goals, guiding them towards achieving these milestones. This personalised support not only builds a nurturing work environment, but has also positively impacted our employee retention rate.”

    In order to lift your director profile, why not spearhead a mentorship program either privately or within your organisation? Once established, you can create testimonial videos of your mentees and collaborative partners for curation on your social channels, once again boosting your public profile as an ambitious and successful director.

    By sharing our success stories and mentoring practices, we not only celebrate our achievements but also inspire others to adopt similar strategies in their professional environments.

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