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August 28, 2015
Marketing Yourself Through Breadcrumbs
 
Recently, I had a conversation with a young professional. I was working on his resume and realized that although he was only 25, he was very accomplished. He had a Master’s Degree and multiple certifications. He had leveraged massive growth and real estate acquisitions for his company while maintaining budgets of over a billion dollars.

I was also crafting his LinkedIn portfolio. I was shocked to know it was his first profile and that he had no other social networks, websites, or mentions on the web. However, he had done many successful things on behalf of his company. Notice — I said “behalf.”

He generated a whirlwind of income gain on behalf of that company and only earned a small entry-level salary. No one else knew he existed professionally, and he could not prove the numbers that his company is doing to the public. It was private equity.

In fact, the only way anyone would know his level of success is if they saw his resume directly.

I don’t know what shocked me more…the fact that he had no experience on social media, or the fact that he was, in my opinion, being taken advantage of due to his lack of professional work history and demand.

While he works in finance, this concept is transferrable to any profession.

Trail of Breadcrumbs
As a specialist in Social Branding and Public Relations, I stress the need to leave a trail of breadcrumbs to:
  1. Gain opportunities as a subject matter expert (SME)
  2. Move from entry-level positions into the positions that you really want, especially when you’re highly qualified
  3. Gain the highest salary possible, based on affiliations, previous clients, projects, and demonstrated excellence
What Is a “Trail of Breadcrumbs”?
While my company has found many successes over the years, believe it or not, it was my personal brand that brought me the most business. I have left such an impact on those who follow me around the Web that I’m frequently referred for short-term and long-term projects. As a matter of fact, after I finish this article, I’m on my way to meet a major client that was referred to me through two other people!

How did I leave an impact? To be honest, I’m usually too busy to control my own brand the way that I would like. My thought process is, “I have others ready to pay me to work on theirs.”

So, how can YOU get by on the bare minimum? Easily. This comes in two parts:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
“They” say SEO is dying, but this is far from the truth. SEO just isn’t as effective now because too many people have manipulated the system. However, SEO is still very effective and will bring rank to your business’s positioning.

There are elements to SEO that no one likes to talk about. Rarely do I see anyone talk about how tagging your name and company to the meta tags of client work not only helps you, but helps your clients. It helps them be found when keywords relating to you are sought out (if done properly), and it helps you continue to be ranked, creating a circular wheel of authority.

If you are under a non-disclosure agreement, this is one way to allude to your work with major brands. It is also a way to be found based on inquiries about brands that you have played a major role in shaping. If a consumer seeks to work with the graphic designer of this major label artist, and they see you are a graphic designer nearby, they’re going to find you. They’re going to look for your portfolio. They’ll see your quality and your pricing and hire you.

Content
This is where content become important. By including your professional biography on expert sites, lending consultation, blogging for a major platform, and/or creating videos on YouTube, you are leaving a breadcrumb trail for people to find you and for intrigue to be built.

Impress with Modesty
People see you are an expert in a particular field and have been highlighted for your work. They want to see more. They see your name affiliated with several projects, several clients. They see all the activities you have been involved in. They see the awards.

You’re not telling them what you do, they are seeing it for themselves. Sometimes, they are seeing it in action.

A Story
Scorpios are known for privacy. Although I have a personal Facebook account, I keep it vague, while simultaneously “updating” the world about me...the professional...the mom...the wife.

Because I am, in ways, a public figure, I have built a brand story and people have built trust in me. They see how hard I work; they love to see the results of my ambition. They become curious.

People see a face. They become “friends” with that face. They start to follow the storyline. They love your conversation. They actually want to see what you are doing next…and some of them want to hire you.

It’s all about brand awareness, loyalty, and tenure. It’s all about branding socially.

Best Practices for the Bare Minimum
Stay active on at least one major social platform, and you’ll keep people engaged. The perception you give them will affect how they’ll treat you. If you are their future star, they will treat you like a star.

Leaving a trail of breadcrumbs will actively build up your credentials, over time and naturally. You will have bidding wars for your employment, guaranteeing top dollar. Clients will seek you out for side projects, special assignments, highly paid contracts, and employment opportunities while you are already working for someone else!

As you implement this into your daily business routine, may the power of social branding be with you.

Comment below and tell me about your breadcrumb experiences.

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Jessica N. Abraham-Hogan is the owner of Shorty Produkshins and an Internet Marketing professional, specializing in Social Branding and Public Relations. She has been a part of multiple International projects in both Entertainment Business and Professional Services industries. She often works with major marketing firms and job search sites under NDA in lending valuable insight to clientele, whether it includes hands-on project development or the crafting of a roadmap for a brand's awareness strategy. Find her online here. @sp_brand_social @sp_brand_social
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