For women in particular, 2018 is a fantastic time to be in business.
We can choose what to do, where to do it from, how to do it and who to do it with. We have opportunities that the generations of women who came before us could never have even dreamt of, or believed were possible.
One of the things that has opened up the business world to women is the internet – and in the communities I’m in at least, we are harnessing this awesome power and using it to network and grow our empires.
However, with great power comes great responsibility. If we can see people they can see us – so we need to ensure that what they see is showing us in our most favorable light.
My blog, Impact, Influence & Inspiration – Your Online Personal Brand, gives a good overview of this topic, but below I’m going to go into a little more detail, focusing on the different kind of situations female entrepreneurs find themselves in online!
I have found personally that interacting with people in Facebook and LinkedIn groups has been hugely beneficial for my business.
Giving valuable content and sharing your story can really help you to genuinely connect with others.
Even if you have a professional or business page, we generally use our personal profiles for this kind of networking, so it’s vital that our profile is up-to-date and on brand.
It’s okay to have personal pictures and friendly chats, but it’s important to keep in mind that as soon as you start a conversation with someone in a business/professional group they are likely to go and look at your profile to understand more about who you are.
And trust me, they are not only interested in what you do professionally – they are going to have a nosey around the rest of your profile, checking out your hobbies and your holiday pics!
You need to ensure that there is nothing there that’s going to embarrass you or damage your brand or reputation. This includes photos, comments, status updates and other people’s posts that you may have shared. To check that your profile is up to scratch, read my guide HERE.
Make sure that your personal profile links to any business pages/websites that you have as this can be a great way to get some extra visitors to your page or social profiles. You’d be crazy not to use this free marketing tool!
Tips for online networking:
Personal profile picture – use an up-to-date professional photo in which you are recognizable (ideally showing the face) and looking approachable. As I always say: no baby photos, pet photos, Snapchat filters or cartoon avatars. For bonus points, wear flattering colors in line with your business branding.
Cover image – choose a photo of something related to what you do.
Intro section – make sure it contains a clear summary of what you do.
The internet makes it possible for us to do business with anyone around the world, which means that many of our meetings are now done via Skype or Zoom, rather than face to face.
Whether you’re the “seller” or the “prospect” the rules are the same - just because you are sitting at your kitchen table or in your home office, it doesn't mean that you can turn up to the meeting in your workout clothes. Especially if it’s the first time you are seeing each other!
Tips for online meetings:
A smart casual style is generally appropriate. This could be a nice top with jeans or a pretty dress - anything that makes you look like you mean business and makes you feel good.
Wear flattering colors that look good on you (again, bonus points for staying “on brand”!)
Don’t forget your hair and makeup. At the very least use some concealer, mascara and lipstick/gloss.
Some subtle accessories (earrings/necklace) will finish off your look.
For more advice on how to keep stylish while you work from home, take a look at my blog HERE.
Under no circumstances only “dress up” your top half while still wearing your sweatpants and your Christmas slippers on the bottom. What if you need to get up to get up to fix your internet, get your charger or simply get a glass of water? And on that note, it’s also important to be prepared – make sure you have your charger, earphones, notepad, and pen etc. easily to hand!
Absolute “no-nos” are dirty clothes with your baby’s puke on them, messy hair and a “just woken up” no makeup look.
Turn up like a professional and remember that people make immediate assumptions about you based on their first impression. Don’t expect them to respect you if you don’t even respect yourself.
When you are hosting a webinar, the “rules” are the same as above for online meetings - except that you will have a bigger audience, so it’s imperative that you are totally on brand.
Your clothes, your decoration (desk etc.), and your background should all recall your brand colors and communicate your brand values. A “put together” look is a must, as well as an approachable tone and open body language (no crossed arms and no stooping or slouching). This is the time for bringing your best game!
Hosting a Facebook “live”, you have a more freedom in terms of location (i.e. you can check in from outside or walking down the street), therefore you can play around a little more with your outfits. It’s important to stay on brand, yet be authentic and show a bit more of your personal side.
If it’s a webinar kind of live, it’s better to follow my guidelines above and stay completely professional. While if you’re just checking in to share a personal story (or “breaking news”!), a more casual look is okay (that’s a t-shirt and jeans – not your pyjamas!).
I’m really not a big fan of going live in your pyjamas at all, or gym clothes and sweaty hair/face (or anything similar) unless you’re a fitness/health coach or wanting to share something directly related to exercise, for example. Honestly, I’m not interested in seeing “you” whilst running or just before your shower – and I suspect I’m not alone! It’s nice to get vulnerable in front of your tribe, but it’s better to do with your words rather than your image
When you put a video on YouTube, it’s there for the world to see – permanently. It needs to be right!
The basic guidelines are to follow my outfit tips above for online meetings, and then add in my branding tips from the webinar section.
As you are pre-recording, you can test drive your outfits, the colors you’re wearing, the makeup, lighting, and background etc.
Remember, anyone can find this once it’s up on YouTube, so you want to make sure your brand is identifiable.
In terms of content be sure to avoid “random” videos, offensive material, or overly personal stuff.
Do you want an image that makes an impact? A personal brand that helps you to build the business of your dreams?
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Veronika Nemeth is a Style Coach & Image Consultant, based in Milan, Italy. She works with ambitious businesswomen and female entrepreneurs who have a desire to create a unique & authentic image that enhances both their professional & personal lives.
Veronika’s mission is to empower women to build wildly successful businesses & lives by creating a confident, authentic & stylish personal brand.
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