Being online isn’t novel anymore, or differentiating. Actually, not having an internet presence is differentiating – in a bad way. Without an online presence you are in a small and unenviable minority, and merely having a webpage is not enough. Creating an image is an ongoing process that occurs every time someone looks at your homepage, reads the content of your site, or receives an email from you. As the impersonal nature of the internet causes some meaning to be lost in translation, it is especially important to be conscious of messages you are conveying without intention.
The tiniest mistakes – misspellings and incorrect grammar in emails, blog posts, or marketing materials – can raise a red flag about your professionalism. And provided that everything is structurally proficient, you are then faced with the task of marketing yourself properly, of providing the clearest description of who you are and what you do so as to attract the right people to your site and hopefully into your office.
Your website should be professionally made, aesthetically pleasing, and easily understood and navigable. Your site is your outer appearance to the online community, and people quickly make judgments about your personal and professional competencies upon visiting your homepage for the first time. As in person, a first impression takes only a few seconds.
Engaging with online networks is a vital part of any marketing organization, and marketing is a vital part of any business. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook are all ways to supplement your personal or business webpage. They reach different demographics and provide very different forums that lend to different kinds of communication. Facebook is most likely not very relevant to M&A and so does not deserve as much time as the two others. LinkedIn however, provides a propitious arena for connecting with potential partners, employees, and clients; and Twitter is a wonderful forum to aggregate your daily news and disseminate your own ideas back into the collective consciousness. While both networks are wildly popular and offer a degree of depth, an avenue to forge relevant relationships around similar interests – groups on LinkedIn and hashtags on Twitter – they are both relatively broad compared to networks that serve a specific niche. The network we’re building at Axial revolves around private market M&A; and actively buying, selling, and investing in companies is an essential part of our members’ professional lives.
65-90% of executives, depending on industry, go online first to research major business decisions and potential partners. Your first interaction with a potential business partner will likely be your online footprint. Avoid a misstep by clearly communicating who you are and what you’re looking for.