“I don’t beg for publicity; I deserve to exploit the community because of everything I do.” Does this sound familiar to anyone? There is a clear distinction between cross promotion, self branding, and unscrupulous exploitation.
Society and businesses become more dependent of the online community every day. As a result the individuals of organizations also become more visible. This encompasses all aspects of life. You will have a much more personal side on Facebook. Then, there is the professional network and brand that you have built on LinkedIn. Of course you have your opportunity to provide commentary or promote events about your community in real time via Twitter. These social media outlets do not have to be mutually exclusive. In fact, they may actually be extremely beneficial if utilized properly.
Most small business owners are very active in their community and civic organizations. As a part of your community, you would naturally want to help promote the area you live in. You want to be proud of the residents and neighboring businesses. The success of the community translates to the success of your business.
With the power of social media, you can promote your community while branding yourself. There are those that will say that is inappropriate. “You should not cross promote while participating in your civic duties.” I have a question. “Why not?” You do not have to be a martyr. You should be proud of the fact that you are a positive contribution to your community. You should also be proud of the fact that you are part of a business in your community. So, there is no reason to hide in the dark.
Unfortunately, there is the possibility of this activity carrying a negative connotation. This stems from two types of individuals. You have the users. Those individuals that want to be visible and have their name attached to organizations for personal branding purposes only. They are there to exploit the community for their own personal gain, and that is it. You are not one of those individuals. Business leaders, chamber members, and civic organizations know who these individuals are. They are doing plenty to hurt their brand, and do not reflect on the work that you do. The other type is the eternal critic. The individual that never participates, but always has an opinion. Nothing is ever good enough, yet they never have a solution. This person is also recognized by prominent individuals in the community. Just like the afore mentioned individual, their actions do not reflect on your reputation or brand.
Provide awareness of what is going on in civic organizations; then participate to make your community a better place to live and work. Don’t be afraid to brand yourself. Let your neighborhood know who you are and what you do. Most people would much rather do business with someone they know and trust, than a nameless faceless corporation.
by Matt Carnaghi | @carnaghimd1