Credibility is like virginity. Once you lose it, you can never get it back. ~unknown
Many solo professionals spend time meeting other like-minded folks on social networking sites all over the Internet. You have many sites to choose from including Yahoo and Google groups, Ryze, Facebook, MySpace, and dozens of other places to meet and network online. Some business owners visit the social networking sites as a way to socialize. For many working alone in your home can sometimes get lonely. But if you’re one of the many internet marketers who relies on the social networks to meet new prospects, you need to pay attention to the messages you send.
Your credibility is what will attract new clients, customers, and prospects. So you have to work hard to establish, communicate and maintain your credibility. That can be challenging when you cannot meet people face to face. If all you have are the messages you post, what are the best ways you come across as credible? Here are a few suggestions:
1. Add your full title to your automatic signature. Most social networking forums allow you to add a signature with a link to your website. My signature always includes my full name, with the letters after my name, and what I call myself, in addition to the one-line blurb before the link to my site. It looks like this: “Felicia J. Slattery, M.A., M.Ad.Ed., Communication Consultant, Speaker & Coach.” You don’t need to talk about your credentials in my posts, which could look like bragging. Yet by simply adding a few letters after your name in your signature, you are quickly seen as an expert in your field. If you are certified, have an advanced degree, or have another designation you’ve earned, make sure it’s there after your name.
2. Make your messages count. You want to be sure you’re posting to threads and topics related to your business. Write with authority on your field of expertise and don’t be afraid to recommend useful resources, even if those resources aren’t yours. People will see you as a credible expert in ufabet.com your field and when they want to know more about what you do, they’ll often think of you — and contact you– first.
3. Don’t be so serious all the time. People do business with those they know, like, and trust. When people feel like they know you personally, your credibility with be enhanced, too. I’ve seen many marketers make the mistake of only talking about their businesses on social networking forums. For people to get to know you as a person, jump in on threads about family things or hobbies. The “social” part in online networking is important to remember. If you’re all business all the time, you won’t attract as many prospects as you could if people see you in a more personal light.
4. Be positive. Momma was right, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” If someone posts and asks for comments on her new website and you really don’t care for the colors or the layout doesn’t appeal to you, don’t comment at all. This person is looking for hits to her site and maybe a few “way to go’s.” If you happen to be an graphic designer or SEO expert and have some useful suggestions that will truly enhance the site, send a private message off-list. You lose credibility in a hurry when you are the one who posts negative or what could be interpreted as mean-spirited comments.
5. It’s OK to be controversial. You can start a controversial post or disagree with other’s opinions, as long as you do so professionally. By maintaining a positive and professional image, more people will be drawn to you. No one likes a complainer, but you don’t have to agree with everything. Controversial posts often get a lot of visits and comments, so it’s good to participate. Be clear about your position without putting someone else down. You will gain credibility with an articulate response and attract more prospects.
The last thing you want is to lose any chance at appearing credible on social forums when promoting your business. Once you lose it, like the quote above states, it’s gone forever. Effectively communicate your credibility and you’ll see some amazing results. By following these guidelines, you’ll get more business form your social networking by increasing your credibility.