With so much dishonesty and mistrust happening in the online business market, buyers are desperately looking for service providers they can trust. Establishing yourself as an authority on your field – the ‘go to person’ in all professional matters – helps people decide they want to do business with you.
But how do you become that ‘established expert’ potential clients are immediately drawn to? It doesn’t happen over night, but if you stick to these following steps you may be able to position yourself as an authority in a course of a year.
Setting the Stage
Before you create your image as the go-to authority in your niche, you need to define what exactly that niche is. Think of this part of the process as being similar to deciding what keywords use on your website. For example, the world may already be full of established experts in gardening, but what about experts in gardening edible herbs?
Naturally, you don’t want to choose a niche that is too broad (competition will be tough). But – you also don’t want to choose a niche that is too narrow (you’ll be struggling to make ends meet). Spend some time doing research to find where the opportunities are. You can differentiate your expertise in a number of ways: your geographic location, the time frame in which you deliver, your unique employees etc. Don’t be afraid to go against the grain – it’s sometimes the best way to show your prospects that you’re different, bold and principled.
A Blog Fit for a King
Your website’s blog section is the perfect venue for showing potential and existing clients how smart, creative or experienced you are.
For example, if you’re a plumber, you can post easy tips on DIY plumbing, blog about most common plumbing issues and how to identify them or show photos of the latest beautiful faucets designs for bathrooms.
Make sure that your writing demonstrates that you know what’s new and hot and don’t be afraid to expose common stings and scams in your industry – people will love you for it. So long as you keep your voice authentic, people will be happy to revisit your blog for more. Even if you’re not much of a writer, there are still ways you could your audience interested. You can post your own commentary on other people’s views or even publish periodical roundups of the most interesting content written by others!
The Social Authority
Your social media marketing channels are also essential tools for establishing expertise online. Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are used by, well, nearly everybody, to interact with brands and show your appreciation for great products and services. These are great places for exposing your business to a huge audience and growing a following of dedicated fans. Primarily, what these channels will help you do is drive traffic back to your blog – all you need to do is plant the right content baits. This means writing an interesting, teasing or funny one-liner, relating to a blog post you wrote, and adding the link.
But there are even more things you can do online. Experts and professionals are usually very generous on social media, giving away advice for free and creating an atmosphere where audiences want to turn to them and no one else. This is exactly what you should do too. Any simple question can grow into an immediate lead or a later reference. Thankfully there are social networks that are made specifically for the purpose of getting questions answered and chiming in on relevant discussions. Twitter, LinkedIn Groups, Quora and any number of forums are especially great for this tactic.
Interacting with other authorities on the big social networks can put you on their radars as well, assuming you engage with them in discussion that is actually thoughtful or helpful. Twitter can be especially great for these interactions, since it’s possible for any user to publicly reach out to any other. Use this type of social marketing to build genuinely valuable relationships, and you’ll soon be able to open new doors for yourself. Classic opportunities that can come out of these interactions are co-hosting webinars with successful brands and writing guest posts for blogs with audiences much larger than yours.
Remember: When you use social media to position yourself as a giver and a valuable contact, the opportunities will come to you.
Tagged with: Freelancers . Small Business . Social Media