[su_dropcap style=”flat”]S[/su_dropcap]HOCKING, isn’t it, knowing your platform is all an act? But let me clarify. This observation is not in reference to your purpose in life, your position on the org chart or the mission statement of your organization. If you are a business owner, a freelance artist, a public speaker, an entrepreneur, if you are human – you have a platform. Your platform is your stage, it’s your audience, it’s your message, it’s how you are known – it’s your reputation.
Building a platform doesn’t just happen. Nobody wakes up one morning with a thought of garnering support from the masses and 24 hours later their platform materializes. The truth is, it takes months, perhaps years to build a tribe of followers who share your passion and want to be engaged participants in your inner circle. Your platform is the megaphone of your message or your business; it’s how you reach your tribe. Then, when the tribe is assembled and you’re confident that your platform is sound, you can kick back and coast. Not by a long shot! Remember: If you aren’t growing, you’re digressing. That’s not theory, it’s truth.
Platforms are never one and done – they are a dynamo geared to raise awareness, pique attention, and in truth, make sure you get noticed. Platforms need to be strategically planned, monitored, and developed. A platform patently speaks your message and is the projector for your products while connecting you to your tribe. Are you getting the idea? If you’re going to rock your world and promote your services – get noticed – you can’t do it without a platform.
There are a number of sources you can use to bridge the gap between initial perception that you need a platform and the transformation in building a platform extraordinaire. Don’t abandon this article without investigating the resources at the conclusion of this article.
To build a platform you need a tribe. To build a tribe you need followers. To gain followers they must be convinced that you have something they need. And are you ready for this? Their most basic question is, “Why should I follow you? Give me a reason.” I’ll let you in on a little secret. You don’t win people over by telling them why they should jump on your bandwagon, they want you to show them why they should read your stuff, buy your products, share your info, and promote your services. Why do people gravitate toward you; what is so magnetic that followers are attracted to you? It’s a force beyond your product line or services you provide. It’s all an ACT.
Remember when you first heard, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression?” When you show up online, your image is personified through the topics you share, the words you use, the attitude you portray, the character you manifest, and unless you’re careful, the baggage you carry. While you are physically obscured from view, your online presence is as conspicuous as a supermoon in perigee. Your platform is your first chance to make an impression, potential to be seen for the first time by hundreds of people. Don’t let it be your last. Show up and bring your best self.
Your platform is all an A.C.T. Does your online performance attract or repel?
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[su_dropcap]A[/su_dropcap]ttitude – Of course we’ve heard the cliché “Your attitude determines your altitude.” It might not be in quite the same way, but let’s face it, your attitude affects performance and that affects your platform. Your online audience may never meet you in person so be impeccable with your attitude, accurately representing the attitude that attracts not repels. Be creative, be kind, be cautious, be authentic, be who you say you are.
Adopt a positive outlook and approach subjects from that mindset. Practice gratitude. An attitude of thankfulness and appreciation transcends cyber barriers. Look at it this way. If you must exploit something, exploit gratefulness. How do you want to be remembered? Be that person.
Conveyed conflict can easily erupt into a surly, cantankerous attitude that spreads like disease among your followers. That’s not the reputation you want. Words are often misconstrued in the absence of verbal tone and eye contact, so choose unpretentious dialog that’s as straightforward as you can make it. The less subject to interpretation, the less chance for confusion.
What does your attitude say about you personally? That’s an indicator of how your business and online presence will be perceived too. “Change your attitude, change your life” applies to your online life too.
[su_dropcap]C[/su_dropcap]haracter – Your character is what you do when nobody is watching. Right? Your audience may never see you physically but they are watching to see how you handle questions, comments, incidents, praises, and controversies. Your platform is your influence for the message you believe in and you want others to believe in too. From your platform you persuade people to advocate for your message and through them get your message into the world. That’s the intent of platforms and it’s how they work.
People are searching for leaders who practice integrity, share experiences from a wealth of knowledge, and have a sincere desire to contribute to the development and professional growth of those who choose to follow them. People want purpose and are looking for leaders who demonstrate the values they can rally around and support. This could be your tribe and when they trust you, they will help you gain credibility. Your character is what you do – always.
[su_dropcap]T[/su_dropcap]iming – Platforms are fluid. This doesn’t mean fluid as in flimsy and without substance. Social media platforms are ultra-flexible and dynamic. The intent is to grow your platform in numbers and in social reach – and do it quickly. Every social media app and platform such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn displays the number of followers, friends, and connections you have. Numbers talk and they tell a story – at least to a certain degree. The race up the number chart is so infatuating you might be tempted to buy Twitter followers and Facebook ‘likes’. Just say no! It’s possible to circumvent the system and buy thousands of followers or likes for a small fee. Don’t do it! For more on why not, you will find your answer in books and articles written by the masters of social media. Or talk to my friend, Google. Type this in the search bar: why is it a bad idea to buy twitter followers – Like magic you will have more articles than you will ever care to read, in less than a half second. See? Timing! [/message][su_spacer]
Besides the race to grow your numbers platform, it’s important to fill your pipeline with content. This is perhaps more time intensive than gathering your fans, followers, and advocates. Your efforts will be almost Herculean, but it can be done. I must be done. Start writing, start curating, start posting from reliable sources.
Be cautious when curating from other sources. It’s imperative to give proper credit to the author and along with the article, share the source. Include the link to the full article with the author’s name. If there are multiple authors, they all must be recognized.
It’s likely that one of the first content streams will be your blog. Other writers may be willing to guest post to help fill gaps and boost readership through variety of content. Volunteer to write articles for online magazines as a guest contributor to give you more exposure. People will read more of what you publish if you write more of what they like. When you write on any subject, read it over then let it cool off for a few hours, then read it again. Yes, you want to get your work published and yes, it does feel like time is surging past, but quality is important. Once your piece is published you can’t turn back time and wish you’d used a different tone. You want to be known for content that is thought provoking, responsive, focused, mindful, interesting, knowledgeable, helpful, actionable, and valuable. That’s quite a laundry list of expectations, but don’t be a slacker. Your content contributes to your brand far beyond first impressions because it becomes lasting impressions.
Be diligent about creating and curating content to share. Aim for creative, interesting, worthwhile, timely, and then be consistent.
Communication is a continuous stream in which everything
is simultaneously a reaction and instigation, directed to
comment that leads to a reaction.”
–Germany Kent, Author, You Are What You Tweet
Your platform is all an ACT: Attitude, Character, Timing.
Good luck . . . Break a leg!