Let’s start by answering a very simple question:
As a small businessperson, entrepreneur, or Internet marketer, why would you want to position yourself as an expert?
The answer is very simple. Everybody trusts an expert. And, as every salesperson will tell you, individuals want to do business with people they know, like, and trust.
It doesn’t matter whether you are a doctor, lawyer, accountant, auto mechanic, business owner, or consultant. Being seen as an expert in your niche will help your business and your career.
I have found that the best way to brand yourself as an expert is by using a 10-step strategy that leverages Social Media. This includes LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and blogs.
The prerequisite to using this technique, of course, is to first become an expert in your field. This can be done through education (by getting a degree or getting certified), through experience, or by doing research.
Having a degree or certification is the most powerful approbation you can present to the world. (Just think of how many doctors sell health advice in books and newsletters.) But your personal experience and any studying you’ve done on your own is also effective in positioning you as an expert — sometimes more so. Have you gone through bankruptcy? You’re an expert in that field. Have you dedicated your off hours to learning search engine optimization? You’re an expert.
However you “become” an expert, it gives you with the necessary proof to position yourself as such to your potential customers. And once you have this proof, the fun begins. Because the quickest and easiest way to build your reputation is by using the power of the Internet and social networking. Connections can be made instantly and thousands of people can be reached at one time.
Here’s the 10-step process:
Step 1. Determine how you are going to brand yourself or your company. How do you want people to see or perceive you?
Step 2. Create a profile that will match your brand. It can include your degrees or certifications, your experience, your knowledge, and any material you’ve written or created.
Step 3. Create accounts at all of the major sites where you can brand yourself — LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, SelfGrowth, and Squidoo. Then post consistent information on each of these sites with proof of your expertise.
Step 4. Get your knowledge out there by participating online. Many social media websites — including LinkedIn and Facebook — provide a place for you to answer questions posted by other users. All you need to do is review the questions, post a detailed, informed, and succinct answer, and include a way for people to contact you.
Step 5. Get published on the Internet. The easiest and fastest way to get published is by creating a blog. There are many free tools out there for blogging, including WordPress and Blogger. The more quality information you publish in your area of expertise, the more you are perceived as an expert.
Step 6. To increase the impact of your social media presence, interlink between the social media sites and have them all crosslink to your website or blog. For example, have LinkedIn link to your blog, have Facebook link to your blog, and have your blog link back to LinkedIn and Facebook.
Step 7. Develop a strategy for enhancing your credibility with simple, informational videos highlighting your area of expertise. They can be as short as 3-4 minutes. Record them with a flip camera or a video cam on your computer and upload them to YouTube.
Step 8. Leverage the power of these sites for search engine optimization. If you follow the steps above, you’ll find that your name will come up high in the search engines. Google loves social media websites.
Step 9. Be active on these sites. You need to become part of the community. Social media websites are not just places to post information and broadcast your ideas. They are designed to be interactive. The more you interact, the more people will get to know, like, and trust you — and respect you as an expert.
Step 10. Finally, become a voice of your industry. You can do this by researching relevant news stories and reporting on them to your followers. You will soon be recognized as a source of great information in your area of expertise.
As you go through each of the above steps, your reputation as an expert will grow exponentially, especially in your particular niche. And as I said at the beginning of this article, that will lead to trust… which will lead to more business for you.[Ed. Note: David Riklan is the president and founder of Self Improvement Online, Inc., a leading provider of personal growth information. His company, founded in 1998, operates one of the top self-improvement websites, www.selfgrowth.com, getting over 1 million visitors a month.
David is the creator of Social Media University (available now to ETR readers only for a drastically reduced price) and has a personal network of over 100,000 people through Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.]
If There’s One Thing Truly Successful People Know… it’s that “dreaming” about success won’t get you anywhere. You must take action. That’s first. Next, you need somebody who’s been there before to guide you. Success mentor Bob Cox has built multimillion-dollar businesses, advised billionaires, and helped people around the world achieve their dreams. Why not let him help you?
Dear ETR: “Do I need two different websites and two different approaches to marketing?”
“In the last two months, I have found a product and created a website. I am selling a course that teaches people how to pay off a 30-year mortgage in less than 10 years. In addition, there is an opportunity for people who buy the course to become affiliates and sell it (like I’m doing).
“Here is the problem: I feel I am marketing to two different types of people with the same product. A person would buy the course for a personal finance reason (to learn how to pay down his mortgage). But there is also a business opportunity reason to buy it — because you can’t become an affiliate unless you buy it first. I think I need two different websites catering to two different types of buyers: the personal finance guy and the business opportunity guy. I don’t think I should push both aspects of the sale in one website. If I mention the affiliate program to a personal finance buyer, they may think it is some sort of multilevel marketing scam and be scared away.
“What do you think? Do I need two different websites? And should I have two different approaches to marketing, or can my website be set up in a way that caters to both types of buyers at the same time? I have purposely played down the affiliate sign-up in my current website.”
Key West, FL
Michael Masterson’s Answer: Your instinct is good. Generally speaking, your marketing will be stronger if you sell one product at a time.
These are, as you say, two different markets. And each requires its own unique approach.
One thing, though. It’s unlikely you will do much business by setting up a couple of websites. The challenge in marketing is always this: How can I acquire a customer cost-effectively?
A website is cheap to operate, even cheap to establish if you use the right programs and do most of the work yourself. But it won’t give you much in the way of sales unless you are driving a hell of a lot of traffic to it. Internet marketing gurus who focus on search engine optimization sometimes forget to tell you that SEO marketing is often inefficient — especially if you don’t have a developed backend product line — and therefore inappropriate for start-up ventures.
If any of this is confusing to you, you need to deepen your knowledge of Internet marketing before you invest any time and money in your idea. You can do so at ETR’s 5 Days in July Internet Business Building conference. (This event is not yet being offered, but you can get more information and sign up for updates here.)
You might also be interested in the following articles we’ve published in ETR on the subject of getting more traffic to your site:
- The SONAR Content Distribution Method of Getting More Traffic and More Sales by Wendy Montes de Oca
- 3 Places You Should Use Keywords but Probably Don’t by Alexis Siemon
- How to Find Customers in a Web 2.0 World by Wendy Montes de Oca
One final thing: Your product should be good and unique. If it is merely a report that explains the benefit of paying down a mortgage faster by, say, making 26 payments a year… then it is not, in my opinion, a strong enough product to rest your hopes on.
“This article by Dr. Srikumar Rao was written just for me! Thank you for doing that and making me aware of my chatter.
“Though I have been switching my chatter’s focus for years, turning it around to positive (‘But he did work late, came straight home, then walked the dogs for me so I could take a long hot shower. I guess he loves me after all!’), it is always good to be reminded that I am on the right track.”
How Did Bob Bly Essentially Pay Just $75 for his 2008 Toyota Prius?
He didn’t get some sweetheart deal from a friend. And this is not about some government program.
Bob worked a few hours on his first-ever information product for his Internet business. He spent $75 on some professional help to “pretty it up.” And then he threw it online… and didn’t do much to it other than check sales reports.
His initial investment turned into $30,673 — and he bought his car. Bob has done this dozens of times… spending just a few hours a day on his “side business.” And in the process, he has become a millionaire. Find out how…