Recently I’ve had the pleasure of meeting several early stage business founders. Each of them have amazing passion for the ideas they are growing, conviction about the market segment they are impacting, and are full of energy. The one thing I found surprising was how a couple of them did not realize the value of establishing a digital footprint.
While my own startup experience predates the social web, we had a great conversation about personal branding in the digital world. Specifically, we talked about the value of connecting their personal brand to help shore-up the value of their new ventures’ brand. This is important for an early stage company because investors are not only buying into your product’s value proposition, they are also buying into your vision and value prop. Do this the right way and capital and customers will come to you. Do it the wrong way or be absent from the social web, and you’ll have to do it old school by smiling and dialing your way to success.
Is there a right recipe for this? Well, it’s like asking if there is one recipe for macaroni and cheese. There are always a few basic ingredients:
- Set up Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn profiles for yourself (not your company). Keep it simple, and clearly identify who you are and what you do.
- If you have more than 10 employees, set up a social media policy with some do’s and don’ts, agree on a posting schedule, and stick to it.
- If you happen to have a live website, connect your executive profiles to the social web. Include all the relevant links (LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.). If, like some startups you list your whole team on the site, encourage them to connect their social links as well. Don’t be afraid of them leaving—exporting talent can be a great thing. They could be the next connection into a partner or customer.
These are the basics. As you grow, so will your digital footprint, and as one of my friends @katrinaklier likes to say, “if it’s online, it’s marketing material, whether it’s a person or a product.”
So get out there. Build your footprint and start participating in the social conversation.