Although it might be a longer term approach than straight forward marketing, actively working on managing and raise your public profile has very tangible long term benefits. Being seen as a confident, acknowledged expert in your field is the most powerful agent for attracting new clients, and beautifully reassuring for old ones, who can congratulate themselves on finding you first.
It also complements and magnifies any work put into advertising and marketing; after all, you are using visibility to bring credibility, something every accountancy firm needs to grow.
The thought of critically looking at your public profile and analysing what you can do to raise it may be a little scary, as many of us feel uncomfortable when we are personally under the spotlight. But the trick is to do it this in a way that feels comfortable to you, highlights your own strengths and skills, and is in keeping with the firm’s values at the same time.
When working with professionals who would like more public recognition, the first thing I do is to encourage you look at how much you actually do know, and assessing where the gaps might be. It’s vital that you yourself feel like an expert in your chosen niche, before you go out there and raise your profile as one. Otherwise, you may feel too uncomfortable and it just doesn’t work. This isn’t about pretending to be something you are not; it is about being acknowledged for what you are.
I mentioned niches, and that’s important. Whilst the practice may cover a multitude of areas, it is better if individuals are seen as to be expert in a niche. Everyone feels more comfortable with an expert; and you can’t be an expert at everything.
When it comes to working on your profile, it is important to realise where your comfort zone lies. I know we are always being told to push past our comfort zones, but it’s my belief that if you work in a way that is comfortable for you, you are more likely to actually do it than fighting against resistance of learning a whole new way of communication.
So, if you enjoy writing, I would advocate a strategy to raise profile by offering articles to industry or target market publications. If you really can’t stand putting pen to paper, and feel much more comfortable telling a story or have a skill for explaining difficult concepts, then use speaking as a way to elevate your expert profile.
Again, it may be that you feel most comfortable within social media, and you can use that to share and demonstrate your knowledge. Demonstrating your knowledge is the bit to remember here as it is a very finely balance activity. Too much lecturing and information and you won’t connect. Too much social chat and you undermine your expert status.