When you start out with a new business, naturally you have high hopes for it. Who doesn’t want to become and authority within their industry? You know that it’s possible, but knowing how to go about it can be another matter entirely.
For most industries, there’s cut throat competition. The online world is buzzing, and whatever you’re doing, someone else is probably doing it too. So how do you elevate yourself to the lofty position of authority you crave? Even when people think they have an idea of how to become an authority, it often fails.
The point of building authority is to build trust in your business. Without trust, you don’t have much of a business anyway. It simply makes sense to aim for the top.
Here are a few pointers that should give you best chance of making your brand an authority:
Make yourself fully available on social media
One of the first things your customers will want to know is that you’re ready and waiting to interact with them. Your online presence should be prolific; your social media channels regularly active and your products and services easy to locate.
This applies in particular to Facebook. No entrepreneur should ever dream of setting out without a Facebook page for the business – it’s one of the first things your customers will seek out.
Know your target audience
You should first be fully aware of who your target audience is. This way, when you start to pay for advertising (and pay you must) you’ll be reaching the right people. Facebook has an effective advertising platform – when you know what you’re doing. Not everything must be paid for, however:
Create and interact with groups
You can create groups of your own that are relevant to your target audience, and post in other groups that share related content. The latter should be done in a strategic and ‘non-spammy’ way, of course; neither should it violate the terms of the groups. Group members consistently receive notifications, which doesn’t happen much via pages unless you pay.
Make sure you join in other discussions within the groups to get your face and knowledge noticed. Technically you’re doing admins a favour by responding on their behalf… provided your information isn’t controversial.
However you’re spreading your own content, make sure it is done consistently. The content must be highly relevant for your target audience, and delivered in an engaging way. Once that engagement comes your way, you have to be there to respond. This is how people begin to trust you.
Get your face known
The moment you put a face to a name, people start to feel that they know you. It’s a subconscious thing, but it does build trust. A photo won’t really cut it; video is the way. Nobody is saying it’s easy, and it might take practice before you feel confident.
Regardless, it’s entirely necessary. It’s all about the video these days, and if you’re not doing it, your customers will be engaging with someone who will. The good news is that once you have a following for your videos, people will be much more inclined to read your content.
If you’re not a natural public speaker, make a script or at least a few bullet points you can refer to. Use your current content as a guide if you don’t have too many fresh ideas. Don’t put notes on your desk as you’ll need to keep glancing down – that’s incredibly obvious to viewers. Place it on your screen if possible – that way you’ll appear to be looking at the camera and you should get to avoid watching your own (distracting) face.
Once you feel more confident, going live is even better. People love to engage in real time, and it speaks of a whole new level of confidence. From a marketing point of view, it’s a win-win. You don’t even need to pay for it.
Guest post on relevant websites
Today it’s all about being a guest. If you can get yourself invited into a current authority’s domain somehow, you’ll automatically be trusted by their audiences. Outreaching bloggers and website owners and getting your content onto their channels will dramatically expand your reach.
How will you find these sites? Search ‘write for us’ plus your industry, and see what comes up. Lots of people welcome guest posts; after all it keeps their site content fresh with minimal effort. Obviously you’re going to have some competition, so make sure you have some high quality content available to demonstrate your worth. Before long, you should be receiving invitations.
Don’t forget to aim for podcasts and YouTube collaborations too. If you can get publicly interviewed, all the better.
A few more pointers
Other things to keep in mind are that it pays to be confident. You never want to come across as desperate; so no chasing, no spamming and no bartering. If you know your value, others will too.
What’s more, you should develop a unique and memorable communication style… one that helps people to recognise you. Coming across as confident, honest, straight-talking and highly informative is crucial.
Lastly, do what you say you’re going to do – in a timely manner. Exceed people’s expectations and you’re already one step ahead. Make sure you don’t do it too cheaply, either. If you value your time, products and services, so will everyone else. The same works in reverse.
That’s about it. Embrace these tactics, apply some consistency and discipline, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming the authority in your field.