By Alexia Leachman, Personal Branding Coach, Blossoming Brands

With so many ways of taking part online, we need to be careful that we don’t immerse ourselves so much, that our offline world suffers and we get accused of being addicted to screens of all sizes. People are divorcing these days, citing the other half as being an iPhone – don’t let that be you! There is only so much time in the day and a balance has to be reached. So it’s worth taking the time to decide where you want to be participating.

If you’ve decided that online is important to you and that you’ve identified where you want to focus your efforts, you need to work out how best you can get involved. You might discover that blogging is the most appropriate solution for you, but as someone who hates writing anything longer than a tweet, this idea fills you with dread. So, blogging will not be right for you. Instead why not be a supremo commenter? Get inspired by others people’s blogs and be generous with your feedback and opinions. You need to find a way of engaging that works with your natural strengths and modus operandi. There is nothing worse for your digital presence than a blog with 3 articles on it, the last of which was written around the turn of the millennium. Once you decide to jump in, you’re in, so if you want to find your feet, it might be worth playing around anonymously for a while. Remember, that what happens on the web, stays on the web.

You might find that online is just not where it’s happening, and that instead you need to be meeting people in the flesh and sticking to real world activities. It’s unlikely, but worth finding out before you spend precious time and effort. In all likelihood, it’s probable that whatever your strategy, you will need to blend online and offline activities. For example, if you’re an entrepreneur who wants to raise your profile ahead of your next pitch for more investment, then it will be equally important to have some presence in the traditional press and maybe build a name for yourself on the speaker circuit. Don’t limit your thinking to the online space. While connections may be created in the online world, they are nurtured and developed in the real world.

When you’ve decided how you’re going to engage, then get stuck in. It might tempting to hesitate and lurk around a while at the edges, observing and listening, but no-one will know you’re there and then it just becomes a waste of time. For people to know you’re there, you need to be putting yourself out there and engaging with them. Don’t worry if it feels a bit alien. You’ll soon get used to it and before you know it, you’ll wonder what all the fuss was about.

Good luck!

Alexia Leachman is a Personal Brand Coach and Head Trash Liberator at Blossoming Brands. She helps entrepreneurs find their mojo by helping them to tell their story, raise their profile, build their digital presence and manage their reputation. You can find out more at www.blossomingbrands.com and www.headtrash.co.uk And you can follow her on Twitter at @AlexiaL and @BBrands

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