First, a few notable Crowdsourced sound-bites from Part 1, along with age and work demographics.

  • “A LinkedIn profile that reflected the right kind of credentials and experience would be enough support for me with a personal reference from someone I trusted.” - Boomer, Sales and Management Expert
  • “Expertise is judged more these days on how a person can be found within their industry on the Web.” - Boomer, Insurance executive
  • “The proper use of the social media tools will surely help.” - Boomer, insurance direct marketing exec
  • ” – it’s all about making it easy for folks to find out what you have that’s helpful for them!” - Boomer, Brand Anthropologist
  • “Whether looking for a job, researching opportunities, or other general information gathering, Social is really vital to have in our tool kit.” - Boomer, insurance direct marketing exec
  • “Chris will call Doug because she values Joe’s opinion and no matter what else her Google search shows up the referral is still more powerful.” - Boomer, Marketing & Innovation Expert
  • “If a Google search turns up more (mentions on the company website, published articles, mentions in published articles), that can be a real plus. A really good blog is a plus…” - Boomer, insurance direct marketing exec
  • “Doug gets a better profile and some credibility as described in the story. But he can now be recruited away by another firm. …The question is how do you find the best balance?” - Gen-X, insurance marketing expert
  • “We’ve moved from monologue to dialogue, as low-engagement traditional marketing and sales is overtaken interactive social engagement.” – Boomer, insurance direct marketing exec
  • “Social media can help solve work problems / answer questions by reaching out to larger audiences. Having a larger network can give you valuable insight into what others in the industry are thinking, keep trends top of mind and can assist in new project, service ideas.” - Gen-X, insurance marketing expert
  • “Yet, the image we present online can have a big impact on how we’re preceived professionally.” - Boomer, marketing and management exec

And a nice capper…

  • “The world as we know it is changing. No longer can F100 companies rely on the ole boys network to get things done. People aren’t that loyal anymore, nor do employees stick that long. A social media presence is required. Twitter, LinkedIn, Blogs and even Facebook are necessary in today’s world – they should be current and monitored. 5 years from now the players may be different but the concept won’t be. Doug needs to get on board quick or his luck is going to run out.” - Gen-X, insurance agency exec

Interesting … very interesting. This would make for a great panel discussion at a conference.

Part 2

Contrast the Part 1 “Nowhere Man” story with the flip side. The dinner-conversation-referral-Google-search scenario immediately returns a full page of content about “Doug Smith” “E&Y”. Topping the list is Doug’s cutting-edge Blog – a powerful, well-designed and executed micro-site filled with compliant, keyword-rich content that dates back several years; a virtual fountain of information. Of course the content stops short of giving away any ‘secret sauce’, but it has links to a few of Doug’s recent video presentations at conferences, podcast case studies with other “supply chain financial management” veterans, several white papers he’s authored, recent Comments by readers on an interesting twist on “global supply chain financial management”, and direct links to his Twitter feed and mature Linkedin profile, both of which include reinforcing content. Google also shows that Doug is also featured on several other industry Web sites as an RE – joint vidcasts, guest blog posts, etc.

Let’s play out this scenario: Chris clicks through from Doug’s blog to Doug’s twitter feed (this link is actually a Twitter Search on my Profile to make it easy for those without a Twitter profile to get a sneak peak). Chris, again, the E&Y prospect, immediately Follows Doug and adds him to her “supply chain financial management” List. She scans a few of his recent posts, sees that he’s in Kenya on a project, follows a couple of the links to some powerful “supply chain financial management” content Doug found and shared today and yesterday, and then clicks through to Doug’s Linkedin profile (again, my public profile as an example for those unfamiliar).

“OK… Let’s see what we can see… 500+ Connections – solid. 15 Recommendations – hey, there’s Joe from dinner! OK… There’s those tweets again… and a couple headlines from his blog… Hmmm, before E&Y, he was with McKinsey. Wow, we have some people in common… and some shared Groups. Yep, looks like Doug is in Kenya right now. (Look forward to asking him about that.)

“No problem – my issue isn’t urgent. I’ll leave him a voice mail and let him know I see he’s in Kenya, but want to talk when he gets back…. ‘Doug Smith, this is Chris Mann from XYZ. I had dinner with Joe Jones from ABC Company tonight at the QRS Conference. Joe referred to you as the “supply chain financial management” guru. Got a challenge I’d like to run by you. I see you are in Kenya on a project. Please call me at your earliest opportunity. 212-515-1212 Or email Chris.Mann@XYZ.com and we’ll schedule a phone call. Thanks so much. Looking forward to meeting you. Joe spoke highly of you…’”

And this all took Chris about 10-15 minutes depending on how fast she scans and assimilates data.

Little different scenario this time around. Do you see the VERY tactical and practical utilities of that kind of mature online presence? Do you agree with that scenario as I’ve described it? Does that story help connect some dots for you? What would you add? Like it?

How else does a mature online presence as a Recognized Expert help?

Let’s consider a perhaps less-than-obvious situation. How does BRE help you achieve your career goals? What are the long-term implications? Let’s paint a picture of the future and how BRE may be a significant factor in how well you will prosper.

Career Goals

Let’s tweak the dinner conversation slightly. Let’s say Chris Mann is not an E&Y prospect but instead the conference organizer looking for someone to speak at the NEXT conference in six months. How would the same situation play out given the same two sides of the coin? On the one side, Chris the conference organizer finds tons of corroborating content to Joe’s suggestion that she consider Doug as a potential speaker. How strategic would a speaking gig at the next industry conference be, in front of a host of clients and prospects? And perhaps there might be some media outlets in the audience that want to interview Doug for a vidcast on the topic, perhaps an industry blog ‘ecosystem’ looking to add an author? Who knows where all that could lead, but one thing’s for sure: “It’s all good!” But on the other side, if there is no online reputation reinforcing the RE status, it all goes nowhere in a hurry.

Upper Management Change

Or how about this scenario. Consider that Doug’s boss at E&Y retires. Doug doesn’t really want to ‘move up’, and the new guy is a friend of someone on the Board, a young ex-prof from Wharton, someone with a lot of head-knowledge, looks good on paper, wrote a couple books on “supply chain financial management theory”, but in reality is thin on street savvy -  a good choice for the Wall Street reputation, but a poor choice from a client perspective. “But you can help him get up to speed. He’s a good guy, knows a lot of movers and shakers, and together, you’ll both kick butt…” the vice-chair says with a slap on the back.

Well, this could go at least two ways, right? WITHOUT a solid RE reputation, after a couple inevitable missteps by the new guy, Doug could say, “Screw it. I’m throwing my hat in the ring over at __competitor__.” WITHOUT the RE profile, won’t Doug will be a bit hamstrung and eventually either set the new guy up for failure or get chewed up himself, lose his fire, and ultimately derail and fade out? True?

Either way, the company loses a bright (albeit hidden) light, has potential reputation management issues, morale issues, client satisfaction issues, etc. etc. etc.  – not a good scenario for anyone – except the competition of course. But WITH a solid RE profile, the new guy will of necessity have to work with Doug, won’t he? You can’t argue with a guy that has a thought-leading blog, perhaps even a blog that’s its OWN industry ecosystem with tons of engaged readers, 1000+ Linkedin Connections, 25 Recommendations, 1000s of Twitter Followers, etc.. The vice-Chair will say to the NEW GUY, “Step aside, man, and just enable, help DOUG do his thing, bring more prospects to the table, bring ideas, that kind of thing.” Doesn’t everyone WIN in that scenario???

What are your thoughts? Does this make sense? Where are the holes? Is this an accurate depiction of why Becoming a Recognized Expert can be so useful not only in the short term but in the long-term, not only for the professional but for the company?

  • Is retention important?
  • Is thought-leadership important?
  • Is online industry reputation important?
  • Is content generation important?

If so, Part 3 will discuss the practical and tactical steps to facilitate going from “Nowhere Man” to Recognized Expert.

Please share your take. Please don’t lurk – engage. Thanks in advance.

The cat wants in to my office. Not gunna do it! Sorry.