Knowing your audience and bringing your best self are key to online engagement.
Few things in life have been unaffected by the shift online, with changes to how we work, communicate, and even play.
Certainly, the way businesses (and people) brand or promote themselves has undergone a massive readjustment.
“Branding is about showing up with your photo and with your story.
And, if you do it badly, people aren’t going to find you,” Perth-based personal branding expert, professional photographer, and author, Songy Knox said.
“People weren’t doing branding well in the first place.
“Right now, it’s more important to do it right, because you’ve lost the in-person.
"The in-person is easier, it’s more conducive to understanding, to having that authentic connection.”
So, when social interactions are usually mediated by a screen, we need to work harder to create that authentic connection.
Find your people
For Ms Knox, who just launched her first book, How Do You Want To BE SEEN*, the foundation of this is finding out who you are and what you love doing.
Then, it’s a matter of finding the people who want the things you do.
Like a Venn diagram, it’s where the two overlap that’s the magic spot.
It’s about knowing your people and making it easy for them to find you online.
“Branding is about bringing your A-game into the mix, so that relevant audience members find us easily,” Ms Knox said.
For example, she said coaches on Instagram talked about mindset change, about inner child healing and the like.
“How are you going to make it so that the right people will pick you out of that?
It’s not because you’re better, but because you are the right brand for that person,” Ms Knox told Business News.
Even though Zoom and Skype and video conferencing have existed for years, it’s only in the past 18 months that we’ve all experienced the mindset shift that has convinced us we can work with anyone around the globe.
“This means we have a bigger playing field,” Ms Knox said.
“The point is, if your playing field got bigger … you get a bigger net, but it doesn’t mean you just go wider.”
Now you’ve just added a couple of zeros to your potential client base, her advice is to go even narrower with your target customers, because the more specific you are, the easier it will be for your people to find you and to find the specific things they are looking for.
Make yourself obsolete
Each business or entrepreneur will likely face several opportunities to pivot their focus, which is something Ms Knox experienced herself.
“If I look at my personal history, I have always pivoted,” she said.
“I started as a graphic designer; I realised there were plenty of other graphic designers who could design, but what I was good at was managing.
I started managing, and then I realised all the project managers in my team were okay, and I was actually really good at mentoring them so that they can manage better.”
And now, in her current pivot as a photographer, Ms Knox is pivoting and innovating again.
“I take good photos, no doubt about it,” she said.
“There are people who take equally good photos, but what I’m good at is teaching and empowering, enabling other people to do good work.”
So, her latest pivot, which is very much aligned with the new world of everything online, is teaching people over Zoom how to take their own photos as part of her online brandbuilding course.
The most important aspect of what she teaches isn’t the technical side of photography, but how we show up as humans.
First, it’s getting clients over hating having their photo taken.
Then it’s teaching things like body language and expression, so clients are being seen in a way that is authentically aligned with their story and values.
Ms Knox is currently finishing an online program to deliver her wisdom to clients globally and is already working on her second book.
Her mission now is to be there for entrepreneurs and businesspeople when they are in the ‘trough of sorrow’.
“You will hit it and I’m there to catch you because I know what that looks like,” Ms Knox said.
That attitude is something we could use more of these days.
• The author is a case study in the book.
• Dr Kate Raynes-Goldie is a multi award-winning designer, researcher, futurist and certified facilitator of LEGO Serious Play. She is also the CEO of Lovego, where she is improving the dating experience for business women