Using Social Media to Build Credibility

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It seems as though almost everyone has a presence on the web these days. With the ability to post content virtually anywhere, how can you distinguish your voice as one worth listening to? Building credibility is key to making the most of your social networks, and is the difference between talking at your audience, and talking to them. Here are 5 things to keep in mind every time you broadcast something on the web.

  1. Make sure you have a complete profile.
    In order to start building relationships with people, you first need to let them know a little bit about yourself or your company. Nobody wants to go to your Twitter page and see a little egg where your picture should be, so upload a friendly picture of yourself, or one of your company logo. Don’t forget to write a thoughtful blurb about who you are! The “about me” section of any social networking profile is the hidden gem that connects you with potential followers. Having a blog about the best restaurants in town is one thing; including in your biography that you’re a chef takes it to a higher level.
  2. Be active about sharing with your network.
    No need to be shy! Remember: it’s social media – people are coming together to exchange information with one another. If you find an interesting article as you’re reading the morning news, post it on your Facebook wall or add the link to one of your social bookmarking profiles (like Digg). Sharing via Twitter? Include a relevant hashtag in your tweet to share your find with relevant audiences. If the link is about typography, including “#design” in your update will make it visible to everyone paying special attention to that tag.
  3. Create and participate in discussions.
    Have a question about the best mobile app? Whether people prefer paperbacks or e-readers? Pose the question to your network! Social media provides instantaneous feedback, and is a powerful tool for gaining insight about who’s listening to you. Before you put something out there in the hopes that people will respond favorably, you can tailor your actions to the responses you get beforehand. Asking a question isn’t the only way to get the conversation going; post thoughtful responses on other links and posts that have been shared in your network.
  4. Be consistent.
    If you want to build your credibility in a certain subject, your updates shouldn’t be all over the map. If you’re a lawyer who wants to become a go-to source for legal news, share relevant updates, stories, and links with your networks. Make sure you show a little personality! Doing so will make you more likeable and approachable. If you live in New York City and there’s a cool street fair by your office this weekend, feel free to mention it – just don’t let your page become littered with pictures of what you ate for lunch, or else you’ll lose your authority.
  5. Don’t forget about your competition.
    Connect with other businesses, brands, and figures in your industry and in your area. If another insurance agency is in your city, follow them on Twitter, and keep up with their Facebook page. See what bookmarks they’re Digging. If they post a great link or write a great article, re-share it. Don’t be afraid that re-posting something from another company or figure is going to drive your followers away; the opposite is true. People who notice you’re a related, credible source to someone they’re following will actually be more likely to follow you. After all, the whole point of social networking is to network – strengthening yours with related resources will keep you current on trends and perspectives in your industry.


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