Online credibility is essential for any business that hopes to be successful. When the Internet first got its virtual wings, the business landscape was a virtual Wild West of companies trying to figure out how to get the most visibility. A lot of that came from keyword stuffing and other black-hat SEO tactics (because at the time, most of us simply didn’t know better).
Today, however, things have changed drastically. Google and other search engines realized the need for a streamlined process of building reputation and rankings online. It was quickly noticed that people weren’t getting credible search results most of the time and the search engines didn’t want to tarnish their reputations by providing bad resources, so rules were made. Fortunately, even with those rules, it’s still pretty simple to build credibility online for solo firms and entrepreneurs.
If you’re a solo business, you’re the face of everything. Therefore, instead of auditing the business, your first step will be to audit yourself, so to speak. Analyze your skills, weaknesses and strengths, and any opportunities that you have for growth. This will give you a chance to clean up any minor issues and ensure that when people find your business, it automatically feels reputable and trustworthy.
Make sure that all of your online interactions, content, and profiles are authentic, genuine, and authoritative (in the sense that you’re speaking from a place of authority or expertise). Check:
Make sure, too, that your personal social media accounts and online presence are reputable and genuine because people will connect the dots whether you want them to or not. And if your personal presence isn’t credible, they might not even think about considering your business.
One of the best ways to build reputation points with today’s consumers is to have strong, active social media profiles. You may not use all of them, but you should check them all out to determine which ones will be most effective for your business. In addition to sharing content of your own and letting people know about your business, you should also engage by commenting on other posts, sharing other people’s posts, and encouraging people to reach out to you for a real, personal conversation.
Choose the best social media platforms, then create a content calendar that you can follow to ensure that you don’t slack on posting. Repurpose content, share blogs or industry news, and get creative on how you engage. Everyone knows that you’ve got a product or service to sell—but who are you and why should they care about that?
Social media is your platform to make all of that known simply by utilizing it effectively.
A blog is a great way to build your credibility online. It gives you a place where you can share information about all kinds of topics related to your industry. You can post actual information about your firm and its services, of course, but make sure that your blog isn’t just another advertisement. Search for relevant topics or questions people have about your business to get ideas. You can even perform keyword research to help you see which keywords are most popular and fuel your blog planning.
Not much of a writer, or perhaps you just don’t have a lot of time to blog in addition to running your firm? Consider outsourcing to a freelance blogger or a content writing service that can do it for you. The cost is usually nominal and the return on your investment will be immeasurably worth it.
Networking with other professionals is a great way to build your own credibility online. You can say that you’re reputable and worth doing business with, but when someone else backs that up, it means a lot more to your prospects. You can find so many ways to network online without even having to attend events or deal with awkward social interactions, in case you’re worried about that, too.
Webinars, workshops, online industry forums, and social networks are great ways to connect with others in your industry. You can even use backlinks and guest blogging as networking tools, which will again further establish your credibility. Google likes to see these things when it’s ranking websites, so it’s a bonus in more ways than one.
If your firm has accomplished things or won awards for any of its services, this is another great way to build your reputation. Show them off on your website, share milestones and mentions on social media, and make it known that you are worthy of people’s business because of how good you are at what you do.
Make sure that you have physical proof of these accomplishments because again, people aren’t always just going to take your word for it. Make reviews prominent on your website, too, and feature other highlights of your firm so that people can see all that you’ve done.
These tips will help you build a strong online reputation, no matter what industry your solo firm might be in. Starting and building a business takes a lot of work, but there are also a lot of resources out there to help you along the way. If you’re looking for support with the influx of new leads you’ll have as your reputation grows, you’re in the right place.
The virtual receptionists at Smith.ai have all the expertise you need to provide a 24/7 answering service so you never miss a single call, along with support for lead intake and appointment scheduling. That way, you can focus on your business and take care of your clients. To learn more, schedule a consultation or reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.