Regardless of your industry or your professional strengths, your firm can always do some improving.
Are you struggling to differentiate your private company from the competition?
Regardless of your industry or your key employees’ professional strengths, it’s virtually certain that your firm can do some things better. By focusing on your firm’s core competencies over time, you’ll burnish your reputation for doing those things exceptionally well, raising your profile in the process.
Of course, every company is different, and no company can be all things to all people. These five action items apply to firms of all sizes in a wide range of industries, but only you can determine whether and how to pursue each.
1. Increase Social Media Visibility and Activity
First, create and build out social media profiles on networks popular with your target audiences. As a general rule of thumb, most businesses have use for LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, as well as YouTube (which has non-social utility) and niche networks that allow for narrower audience targeting. To start, keep your social profiles on-brand and inoffensive; PetSmart, an American retail shop for pet owners, successfully strikes a balance between edginess and mass appeal.
2. Claim and Build Out Business Directory Profiles
Once you’ve created a social media apparatus, claim and flesh out profiles on highly trafficked business directory sites. Unlike social media platforms, which generally don’t create profiles without owners’ permission, you may already have extant, “unclaimed” directory profiles on popular platforms such as Yelp. Target platforms that make sense for your audience and niche; Bloomberg Private Company snapshots are appropriate for independent firms like Asia-Pacific based Asiaciti Trust, for instance.
3. Position Key Employees as Thought Leaders
Collectively, your employees are your best asset. Make sure you’re using them appropriately.
One relatively easy way to do so is to position them as thought leaders in narrowly defined expertise domains. Create a content portal on your company website and use your corporate LinkedIn page to disseminate written thought leadership content; YouTube and downloadable whitepapers are appropriate vectors for multimedia content. Before you begin, review the rules for creating thought leadership content.
4. Sponsor Trade Conferences and Networking Events
The benefits of event sponsorship aren’t all obvious. Look for trade conferences and meetups that clearly align with your firm and its brand and audience, then determine how you’ll approach each. Getting your name and logo on event literature is a good first step; if resources allow, invest in a physical booth or module sponsorship.
5. Never Stop Hiring, Even If No Positions Are Open at the Moment
Position your company as one that’s always interviewing qualified applicants, even if you have no near-term hiring plans. This keeps your candidate pipeline full and creates the impression that you’re positioned for near-term growth. Candidates favor companies that offer clear opportunities for advancement, after all.
What’s Your Company Doing Right?
Even if your firm has yet to focus on any of these five action items, it surely has some strengths upon which to build. You’d do well not to obsess about what your competitors are doing at any given moment, instead focus on what you and your team can do better. Opportunity abounds — if you’re willing to seize it.