Women entrepreneurs, are you hiding? 5 Keys to Increase Your Online Visibility

Women entrepreneurs, are you hiding?
5 Keys to Increase Your Online Visibility

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Even if you’re a leader in “real life”, becoming more visible as a leader online can seem challenging at best, intimidating at worst.

In “real life”, every time you present your ideas, you’re in front of your audience. Visibility is a given. People can see you at your best as a leader, when you teach, guide, and advise.

But what happens when you take your leadership out of “real life” and put it online?

Finding your place as a leader in the online business world is a little like establishing yourself in an entirely new industry.

For a while it will seem like you’re a leader without a following.

You’ll probably feel shy or self-conscious about participating in a community forum on Facebook, Twitter, or a popular blog.

Yet, jumping in and being visible is exactly what it takes to begin making a difference with your ideas, and use your gifts to help others around the world.

The online business world is all about storytelling and relationships. The good news is that socially intelligent women leaders are uniquely suited for establishing and growing relationships – and for telling awesome stories.

5 ways to increase your online visibility. 

1. Find an online forum that serves your target market (one that you love).

Even though it’s virtual, think of it as a gathering place for the community. Note: You want to be a part of the community that you serve. For example, if you work with women entrepreneurs, check out Gina DeVee’s Divine Living Radio Show Facebook Group.

2. Tell a good story. 

Introduce yourself by telling a story about why you joined the forum. In your introduction, don’t sell anything. Don’t offer any free stuff. Just let yourself be seen by the people in the forum.

Note: It helps to tag a couple of your forum buddies in the body of your post so that they can make additional introductions and lend their support to your introduction.

How do you find buddies in the forum?

3. Get to know the other people in the forum.

People buy from those they know, like, and trust. The goal is to develop relationships.

  • Don’t sell anything or offer free stuff. Not yet. That’s so 2009.
  • Comment on other people’s posts in a way that adds to the conversation. Don’t just blurt out what you think – until they get to know you, anyway! That’s tantamount to walking into a conversation at a party and interrupting the flow of conversation with a non sequitur – something totally off topic.
  • Imagine that person is standing right in front of you. Ask smart questions. Be warm and friendly. Compliment her cute shoes.

4. Don’t give unsolicited advice. Ever. (i.e., don’t be bossy or tell people what to do). 

Here’s the thing. When you’re new to a group and you’re eager to establish yourself as an expert, giving advice can seem like the easiest, fastest way to accomplish your goal.

Look, I have a PhD in Psychology. I’m a former psychotherapist, and I almost never give advice. Why? Because the women I work with are smart and experienced. And they’ve probably tried everything I would have suggested anyway.

Think of this this way: do you like getting advice from people you barely know?

Probably not. In fact, you probably either ignore it OR if you’re feeling sassy, you might even do the opposite. If you don’t like unsolicited advice, chances are, your target market won’t like it either.

Do this instead:

Ask a question that extends the conversation. (For example, “I’m curious about what’s worked for you in the past.”)

If you MUST give advice, ask the person if she’d like to know what you think. Only give your advice when you’re asked.

5. Be consistent.

The online world is all about establishing connections and long-term relationships. Show up to the forum several times per week. Comment regularly. Post regularly. Be interested in other people’s ideas and projects. Ask good questions.

Of course, I’d love to hear from you. In the comments below, tell us:

  • What’s one thing that you’ve done that’s effectively established yourself as a leader in an online forum?
  • How do you handle unsolicited advice?
  • What’s been your greatest challenge in establishing yourself as a leader in your field?

As always, thank you for adding your voice to the conversation. We love seeing you here!

xoxo

33 Comments

  1. Brilliant Robyn McKay! I see so many coaching business providing some info and then most of it is “fluff”. Your blog is a clear do and don’t advice that I find very valuable. Love, Evelina

    • Robyn McKay

      Evelina, she{ology} is definitely fluff-free! What advice stood out for you on the blog?
      Looking forward to seeing you here often. Thanks for adding your voice to the conversation.
      xo
      Robyn

  2. Elise

    Robyn,
    Thank you for providing clear, concrete and entertaining examples of how to increase online visibility. I especially appreciate your comparison of “walking into a conversation at a party”… That really creates a new perspective for me. This was a great and valuable little read! Love it! Thank you!

    • Robyn McKay

      Hi Elise, thanks for joining the conversation. What’s been your greatest challenge re: developing as a leader in an online community?
      Looking forward to continuing to hear your voice in this forum.
      xo
      RMc

  3. Patricia

    Imagining the person is in front of you is so key when connecting online! Thanks for highlighting that. It is easily overlooked and sadly, often online forums become a pitching feast rather than an avenue to connect and to get to know each other. Love the look of your new site too! So fab!

    • Robyn McKay

      Patricia, love that you caught that! Pitch feasts are so 2009. What’s in is storytelling, connection, and genuine communication.

      Looking forward to hearing more from you re: your experiences with visibility online!

      xox
      RMc

  4. Robyn, these are amazing ideas. The two things that have really helped my to establish my online presence are

    1 – sharing my journey honestly & authentically, not pretending I’m somewhere other than where I am.

    2 – vlogs – connecting with someone by looking into their eyes is very powerful. By using vlogs, people feel like they know me better, can hear my voice and really connect. My site visits and e-mail list has grown over the last 6 months since starting to run my vlogs. They aren’t super professional quality, but they reflect my voice, image and my message honestly and clearly.

    Thanks for asking,
    xo
    Elena

    • Robyn McKay

      Elena, thanks for adding your ideas to the conversation. You offer a really good point: being authentic about where you are *is* so important – without, of course, over-disclosing! (another rookie mistake, right?!)

      I do love your V-Blog series for your upcoming class. For others who would like an example of how Elena uses video – and great information on self-care, check out her video series right here: http://tinyurl.com/mq7cucb

    • Mary Knebel

      Hi Elena!

      I really appreciate what you said about your vlogs, i.e. how they’re not super professional, but they reflect your authenticity and who you really are. I think a lot of people (myself included) think that everything has to be perfect before they begin putting themselves out there, but at the end of the day all people really want is to get to know YOU! I can’t wait til I start doing my own vlogs for all to see the real me 😉

      • Robyn McKay

        And Mary, we can’t wait for your v-logs too! With your Twitter platform, I’m sure that you’ll be a huge success that will translate into $$ for your business.

  5. Mary Knebel

    Hi Robyn!

    I’m actually very new to FB world, because I had HUGE fears of being seen for who I really am. But I got pretty big on Twitter a few years ago and was able to establish myself as a leader by posting often (and I mean, OFTEN!). I also worked hard at getting to know my followers and establishing relationships with them.

    My biggest challenge right now on FB is allowing people to see who I really am, since a lot of my friends on FB are people from high school, from the working world, etc. who don’t necessarily know anything at all about the spiritual, entrepreneurial side of me! 😉

    • Robyn McKay

      Mary, thanks for joining the conversation. TOTALLY get where you’re coming from re: visibility with friends and family vs. an online community – in fact I remember watching you a few years ago on Twitter. Looking forward to your future contributions to she{ology}’s blog. xo RMc

  6. I love Robyn’s work. She is a powerful visionary. I recently had photos taken in Paris and she already found amazing ways to use them to help me up level my brand. Thank you Robyn, you are amazing!!

    • Robyn McKay

      Paula – your brand is blossoming. Looking forward to hearing more from you at she{ology} and in the online community. xo
      RMc

  7. Dr. Robyn,

    What an amazing article with such profound insight. What I most appreciate about what you’ve shared is the underline influence and importance of being present. Often times we, as coaches, get so caught up in trying to sale our service, we forget to just be. As a former psychotherapist as well, I so understand and appreciate the power of connecting by just being truly with my clients.

    Loving what you’re doing and the presence you offer to all of us is inspiring!

    • Robyn McKay

      Anita, thank you. You’re right: with their ability to connect and be present, counselors and psychotherapists are uniquely positioned in the virtual world. Let’s use our abilities to build communities around the world.
      Looking forward to your continued insights and perspective at she{ology} and elsewhere.
      xoRMc

  8. Hi Robyn,

    This article is great and I especially like the reminder not to give unsolicited advice… it does just seem the logical thing to do and yet I would hate that too, so thank you for reminding us to see it from the other side.

    Julie.

    • Robyn McKay

      Hi lovely Julie, I’m really enjoying getting to know you and watching your brand evolve. You’re spot-on…advice giving is over rated. Just because Dr. Phil does it, like all the time, doesn’t make it an effective device for transformation. At best, unsolicited advice is ignored. At worst, there’s a risk that our clients and colleagues will totally shut down from our good intentions. Better to ask powerful questions, no?
      xoRMcxo

  9. Fabulous article. Thank you.

    Great tips and authentic suggestions.

  10. Reading your post inspired me right into action, Robyn. This is as good as it gets. Love your down to Earth, heart center perspective and your generosity in sharing.

    • Robyn McKay

      Andreeeaa,
      Action is essential, no? And you’re welcome. I’m happy to be of service. Keep shining.

  11. I especially love tip #3 Robyn. It was on my vision board for this year, to build bonds and relationships online as my business is almost 100% online which makes for some quite solo-journeying a lot of the time. Creating mutual, honest, supportive relationships online with other women entrepreneurs who share the same vision for the future of how women entrepreneurs are forging a new way of living and working is an absolute essential on this path. We all need our group of girlfriends and cheerleaders, right!

    • Robyn McKay

      Caroline, you’re right. As we create a new way of doing business, our online connections and relationships are essential to our businesses, and to our personal wellbeing too. Girlfriends are awesome! And I’m glad to count you as one of mine! xo

  12. Robyn,
    Great suggestions. Personally, it’s such a pleasure to find like minded women who show up in a forum as they would show up at a nifty dinner party. Sure it’s business too, but one of the best things you can bring is your presence, great conversation, and intriguing questions that open up the flow of getting to know each other. That leads to such a river of friendship and resources. Real women, real impact.

    • Robyn McKay

      Janice, I always love hearing from you – your perspective is always spot-on. Real women, real impact indeed.
      Keep showing up. We love you over here at she{ology}! xox

  13. Hi Robyn,

    Thank you so much for this post. It’s very timely as this is something that I am knee-deep in at the moment. I recently left a cushy sales job and took the plunge to take my feng shui business fulltime after doing it on the side for the past 5 years. It was a scary decision, making myself more visible. Partly because ( on Facebook ) my schoolmates back home saw me as a high-flying lawyer and not a feng shui consultant which probably in their eyes ( or in mine?? ) is a step down. The other part of me is trying to self-sabotage and I’m working on this with a coach at the moment. Each time I hear the ego mind saying I’m not good enough, I take a deep breath and claim back that I am!!!

    I tell my clients above and beyond feng shui which helps us align with the energies outside of our bodies, we also need to make sure the internal energy is aligned as well. I realize now that I need support and am starting to ask for it. One baby step at a time. 🙂

    Again, thanks for sharing!

    • Robyn McKay

      Safrina, hi!
      from high-flying attorney to feng shui consultant – Visibility aside, that’s quite a shift, for sure. Be sure to apply for a free brand make-over session with me. We can address the psychology behind your visibility concerns, especially as it relates to your old classmates and FB friends. email me at robyn@robynmckay.com to apply. xoxo

  14. Krystal Murphy

    I really appreciate the advice about not being bossy, and slowly building relationships. I’m so excited that I may have a tendency to come off too headstrong!! Thank you Robyn!!

  15. Robyn, more than anything right now, I love the support of other women in the asme boat I am in, and also seeing women far ahead of me, demonstrating what is possible for me. I definitely hold back from giving unsolicited advice, though I’ll admit I love others’ feedback, so I am always open
    to hearing from others- whether I asked or not.

  16. Oooo Robyn, awesome points. I am so with you on the telling of a good story.

    Can I add to that? A well-told story is one of the most powerful tools you have. Why? Because it makes people FEEL. So when you’re introducing yourself, posting, or commenting, do it i in a way that makes people feel.

    Ask yourself, how can I make an emotional connection, and how will it benefit them?

    Because ultimately it’s not about you. It’s about the value you provide to others. Period. End of story. (ha, story. How’d that make you feel?) xoxo

  17. Hi Robyn!

    Love this post!! Thank you for sharing this.

    I can easily say that when I’ve been truly in my essence and sharing my story and communicating with others, feeling powerful and in a high vibration, I can see the difference in my leadership and the way in which people will respond rather when I’m just “pitching”. I do notice too that when I share more personal stuff…I get more of a response and that is my biggest challenge as well is putting myself out there. I tend to write and hide behind the scenes but easily feel vulnerable which is what people want to see right? The funny thing is I know this. Little by little it get’s better. I’m going to start paying more attention to this for sure after reading your blog post. Thank you!! xo
    What’s been your greatest challenge in establishing yourself as a leader in your field?

    • Not sure how that question got repeated at the bottom of my post but my response ended in (xo)… lol.. just fyi!! 🙂

  18. Carol Mathias

    Great post and responses. I am working on being more teachable, and this blog and comments had so many great lessons for me. Thanks everyone!

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