Successful Entrepreneurs Know That Connected Consumers Demand Social Proof
Social proof, or “street cred” is more important than many think for personal power, influence and success in any kind of business, regardless of whether yours is the brick and mortar kind, real estate investment, or some kind of a service or product that you offer via the Internet.
When nurturing leads, meeting potential new clients or developing business relationships, your street credibility often precedes you; you’ve probably heard people say, “oh yeah, I Googled him/ her/ them…” Now more than ever people turn to the Internet to find out about a company or a person someone before doing business with them.
Studies show that 92% of consumers say that they trust recommendations from people they know and others above any kind of marketing or advertising. To get the competitive advantage you need, you need to have web presence and social proof, because in the absence of personal experience with you or your brand, people will naturally turn to others to get the lowdown they need to move forward with you in business.
There are a number of ways to build social proof:
- Start with the basics. Create a professional web presence by building an online CV (think yourname.com on a simple WordPress site that allows for an about page, a blog and perhaps a portfolio of your accomplishments). In addition to that, build your social media pages that will allow people to follow, interact with and get to know you.
- Actually provide a good service or product, be honorable in the way you do business, and provide good customer service.
- Connect with experts in your field. There are a number of ways both offline and online to connect with experts in your field and create relationships. Attending conferences and seminars is a great place to network and give you a genuine opportunity to get to know others on a personal level. If there is an authority in your field who already has plenty of “street cred”, associating yourself with that expert will help build your own credibility; follow his or her blog and comment or perhaps even ask to guest post. In turn, you can also invite the expert in question to guest post on yours.
- Ask for endorsements. Satisfied customers or clients, as well as business colleagues, can write testimonials or endorsements for you and your business; these can go a very long way to convincing people that you are the right person to do business with. LinkedIn has a great program that allows your connections to endorse you for various skill sets, as well as to write brief, personal endorsements that you can place on your profile. Video testimonials are powerful too and these should reside on your YouTube channel as well as your website, your Facebook page and be used in press releases. Finally, satisfied customers or those who follow you, or like your services and products, can post reviews on review sites such as yelp, Google Reviews or Amazon, as well as niche review sites.
- Show off. Quantifiable results allow you some bragging rights so brag a little. Its good to show and tell about what you’ve accomplished in life and in business.
- Show appreciation. When someone re-tweets or shares one of your posts, be sure to say thanks. Personally acknowledge those who comment on your blog or social media posts.
Take a proactive, well rounded, and versatile approach to building a name for yourself along with the credibility you need; when you do that in addition to providing excellence, success cant help but follow.