Thought leadership is quickly becoming the new currency in the information age. The old adage “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” has never been more relevant, and technology has made this both a blessing and a curse. Social media has broken the barrier between the company and the consumer, creating a new level of expectation for interacting with your audience. Online information moves fast, and suddenly everybody is an expert. You must build credibility with your audience or risk being lost in the sea of online data.
Here are some great ways to develop an authentic presence in your industry and build credibility with your audience:
Building credibility with your audience starts with understanding your audience. In order to make informed decisions on what to say and what type info to share, you need to know whom you are talking to and what is most important to them. It also helps to know how your audience is viewing your information. The type of content to share on LinkedIn is different than what is shared on Twitter, so knowing where your audience is connecting with your company is helpful for making decisions. Targeting the correct content to the correct audience is fundamental for building credibility.
Relevant & timely news
Posting relevant and timely industry news is an easy way to build a core following. People are busy, and increasingly are skimming news articles instead of reading the full details. It’s also exhausting to visit multiple sites to stay up to speed on the news. Save you audience’s time by organizing all of the best news sources on your website and social media accounts. You need to read these articles to stay current with your industry anyway, why not share what you’ve learned. However, the stories need to be carefully selected for your audience. The last thing you want is for your connections to wonder why you send the article to them. Provide an easy way to stay current on industry pulse points, and your audience will become loyal fans and your business will grow.
Book reviews & summaries
Another great way to build credibility with your audience is writing reviews and summaries of popular industry-related books and reports. This helps your audience in two ways. Reading a summary of a book’s key points is valuable to your audience for saving their time, but also because you can explain the information in context to your industry and provide your opinions along the way. Connecting the dots from a general book to practical applications in your industry based on your experience adds value for your audience, and makes the information easier to grasp. The same principal is true for industry research data. It’s easy to get caught up in the numbers and statistics, and your ability to distill the information and make it relevant is incredibly valuable to your audience.
Provide backstage access
A key strategy for building credibility with your audience is providing information they can’t get anywhere else. This includes leveraging your presence at important industry events, as well as private interviews with influential leaders in your industry. Giving this ‘backstage access’ is valuable because so many companies are cutting their budgets on training and event attendance. This especially affects small firms that simply can’t afford to pay thousands of dollars in event registration fees. Sharing access to coveted private events and influential leaders is one of the most valuable services you can provide your audience.
Personify your leadership team
Finally, a strong way to build credibility with your audience is to provide direct access to your leadership team. Be accessible for questions and openly share opinions and insights. Host special events where your audience can experience a one-to-one interaction. Give your audience a virtual seat at the table for important announcements. More than ever, the faces of the company give cues to the marketplace about your firm’s culture, relevance and trustworthiness. Help build the correct picture of your team in their minds. Helping your audience see the human side of your company will go a long way in building credibility.
As you can see, there are tons of options to build credibility with your audience. It’s important to understand your target consumer, know their likes and dislikes, and know where you’re able to reach them both in person and online. Become a fixture at the places where your customers already frequent will build your credibility in no time.
How do you connect with your audience?