It's All About Attention

When I was growing up, my brother and I would compete for just about everything.  While we didn’t fight for survival, we were certainly competitive in just about every other area.

He would push my buttons, and I would push his in return.  We would annoy each other, and even get physical from time to time.  It was all about the reaction and the attention.  The thought process was simple:  We would kill two birds with one stone.  One of us would seem like the bad guy, and my parents would praise the other for being the good one.   Sounds logical…to a child.

I am sure this situation is familiar to you, or you know someone who has had similar experiences.  This was probably the biggest waste of time and energy I can think of. But, to a kid, it made perfect sense.

Most of what we do as kids is geared towards getting our parents’ attention and possibly even their approval.

Attention is the name of the game.  Whether you are an influencer, thought leader, entrepreneur, corporate branding specialist, or a child.  Your ability to grab attention and KEEP that attention will translate to increased revenue.

Here are a few ways to captivate people:

Update Your Profile Photo

Please…please…please… I beg of you, get rid of the social media silhouette avatar, profile photo of you and the family dog, or outdated cheesy picture made in the 1980s with mystical smoke and halo effect.  None of these images are serving you well.  They don’t help your digital identity, and they don’t garner the attention of your audience. 

A solid headshot is your virtual handshake. It is how you introduce yourself to the world.  Whether that is on social media (facebook, twitter, linkedin, etc.), or on your website and marketing material, this still holds true.

An impression is formed within the first 7 seconds of seeing someone. You don't have the luxury of missing an opportunity to make a good impression.

What good is the picture of you and the family dog?  It may tell a story of your life, but that’s not what you need from a profile photo or marketing image.  Why would you show a stale image of yourself from 5, 10 or 20 years ago?  You can’t risk appearing out of touch with modern trends. 

You need to resonate instantly with your audience.  That image should be well lit, professionally made, and expressive.  The expression should capture your personality, authenticity, confidence, competence and approachability.  Anything less than WOW is likely to look like your high school graduation photo. I think we can all do with a little less “old-fashioned” when vying for the attention of clients and colleagues.

Visit a headshot specialist in your area. Make the investment in yourself!

Put Out Great Content

It is relatively normal to want to share your thoughts with the world.  At least, it is these days.  Some folks like to share contentious perspectives, controversial topics, and even stir the metaphorical pot.  That can certainly get you some attention.  The question I would ask in that case is, will that sort of attention help to increase your income? You’ll probably get a bunch of folks who want to “interact” with those posts.  This might not necessarily be a bad thing. However, posting about controversial issues might not fit into your strategy for generating revenue or for building awareness of your personal brand.

By great content, I am referring to information that will spark some thought and provide valuable information to your audience.  Maybe that information will inspire readers / viewers to take some form of action.  Perhaps it is inspirational or motivational material.  When you appear as an authority on a specific topic or topics, you will ultimately drive growth of your audience.

It is good to provide information free of charge.  I am not suggesting that you work for free. I don’t think anyone would expect that.  However, I do believe that providing information shows the world that you have something valuable to offer.  Provide information for free, but charge for the implantation of that information!

Negativity Propels You, Backwards

Just like when I was a kid, annoying my brother so that his reaction would make him look like the bad guy, it didn’t work then, and it won’t work now.  My mother knew the game, and she called me out on it. 

It is unprofessional to badmouth a competitor, and it is also a slimy way to do business.  It’s simply bad form.  It depicts you as a business owner who only cares about the sale, and not about the interests of the people you serve. Also, it detracts from your humanity.

When putting out content, steer clear of responding aggressively, defensively, or negatively.  It won’t help your cause, and will only serve to be inflammatory.

Sometimes our emotions get the better of us.  It happens.  What matters is that you learn from this and right the ship, quickly.  The last thing you want is for a client to experience your negativity and let others know about that experience.

Interaction

Whether you put out information that folks agree with, or not, you should always make a bit of time to interact with people.  The fact that you took time to address their concerns will not go unnoticed. 

Of course, you should always make a habit of responding in a nice manner. No need to be aggressive or defensive when folks disagree with you.  You will always find someone who will disagree with your position.  That’s par for the course. 

Your viewers are watching how you handle these conversations.  When you spend a few moments to interact (online or in person), you may just increase your own value.  Whether they agree with you or not, you will have earned their respect.  This goes to the heart of your personal brand, and is incredibly valuable currency.

Don’t hesitate to go out into the world and meet people!  It’s difficult to gain traction and get attention when you are building a business from behind a computer.

***I can’t stress this point enough:  Building your personal and corporate brand is ALL ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS.

Your business will thrive based on your ability to make friends, cultivate relationships and interact with other humans.  Since people do business with people they like, it behooves you to spend some quality time meeting and greeting others.