Increase Your Online Visibility Without Chasing “Likes”
Use the “portfolio method” to raise your social media presence over time.
Posted October 28, 2019
Looking at your colleagues on social media may make you feel unsuccessful, unpopular, and even invisible. Maybe they have more impressive careers and accomplishments than you do. Or maybe they’re just more persistent at getting the word out.
If you’re an introvert, you may be adept at quietly conducting research and analyses, solving problems, and writing behind the scenes. But if you don’t spread the word about what you do, you may be missing out on career advancement opportunities.
So how can you raise your visibility on the likes of LinkedIn without feeling like you’re stuck in a junior-high-school-style popularity contest? Award-winning live streamer Ross Brand recommends his “portfolio method” to raise your visibility over time, without chasing “likes” and other vanity metrics. Brand, a fellow introvert, suggests ways to spread the word about the value you bring without tapping out your limited social energy.
I recently invited Brand to a business communication course I teach at New York University. He helped my graduate students, master’s candidates in Human Resources, understand the importance of tending to their online visibility, while reducing their stress around it. Brand, a graduate of the program, beamed into the classroom via LinkedIn Live. Inspired by his guest lecture, I invited him to share a bit about his portfolio method here, with special recommendations for introverts.
NA: Would you describe your portfolio method?
RB: It’s about polishing your professional brand on your social media accounts and website. So when a potential client, customer, or employer searches for you, they see your best professional self. Treat your social media accounts more like compiling your own best-of albums instead of attempting to create hit records.
NA: How can the portfolio method help job candidates in any profession become more competitive?
RB: If you’re a job candidate using the portfolio method, keep your next employer in mind as you craft your LinkedIn headline, summary, and your work history. Fill out your Twitter bio and mix in professional images and videos of yourself on your public Instagram profile. By taking these steps, you influence the results that appear above the fold on page one of a Google search and shape the narrative that your digital footprint tells.
NA: Are you suggesting that job candidates should be on all of those social platforms?
RB: Not at all. If you have accounts on those platforms, here’s how to make them work for you. I think most professionals should be on LinkedIn, because that’s where recruiters, hiring managers, and clients search for talent. I mentioned Twitter because your bio will index on Google searches, and Instagram for telling your story visually.
NA: Should professionals wait until they actually need a job before using the portfolio method? I wonder if you’ll tell me this question is rhetorical!
RB: Of course, the best time to build up your digital footprint is when you don’t need a job. But the beauty of the portfolio method is you can ramp up important aspects of your online presence quickly.
NA: How can the portfolio method especially benefit introverts?
RB: It doesn’t require introverts to chase popularity online and be always on, which is draining. Put your best photos and postings out there, create some new content on your own time, and then use social media platforms to share it so potential employers or clients can “discover” you.
NA: How do you reconcile job candidates’ and other professionals’ desire to increase their visibility with their wish not to brag?
RB: Some amount of self-promotion has always been required for career advancement, and it's even more important in the social media era. People expect you to put your best foot forward in your social media bios and “about” sections as well as celebrate career accomplishments and milestones in your posts—as long as you balance your self-congratulatory posts with helpful and informative content.
NA: So we’re on the same page about offering a healthy dose of useful information to our audiences to counterbalance the self-promotion, which can get tiresome if overdone. Ross, as a broadcaster, you don’t shy away from promoting the shows you host, the interviews you conduct, and the guest appearances you make on live video and podcasts. But you also consistently share a lot of useful content.
RB: Remember to show rather than just tell. Use your photo, video, and text posts to showcase your skills and expertise. That is an essential part of the portfolio method.
NA: How can professionals help raise one another’s visibility using the portfolio method?
RB: As an introvert, I’ve found that one of the best ways to promote myself on social media has been to promote others. Share articles your colleagues and friends write, congratulate them on their accomplishments and accolades, quote them in your blog posts, invite them to appear in your videos, interview them on your podcasts, or simply retweet something they shared on Twitter.
NA: Is there anything you’d like to add?
RB: Just as an introvert wouldn’t line up back-to-back events offline, the same applies to online. Make sure you give yourself the downtime you need.
NA: Thank you for sharing your thoughts about how introverts can raise their visibility without being always on—so minding their energy needs. That way, they can best serve their audiences while also advancing their own careers.
Copyright 2019 © Nancy Ancowitz