Part 5 finally arrives. Sorry for the delay but client’s have to take preference over the blog. Plus I’ve recently switched to a Mac and much of my time has been spent migrating to the new computer.
In part 4, Expand Your Reach on LinkedIn we covered building through direct connections and groups. Today we talk about Building Credibility on LinkedIn.
When I lived in New Orleans a good friend of mine had an uncle named Joe. Everyone in the neighborhood knew him and everybody loved him. I don’t know anybody who would trust him as far as doing what he said he would. Great guy, just not dependable.
For a business you want to be known and liked, but before the cash register start ringing you have to establish trust. Trust might be strong enough to over come someone not liking you, but with enough options, this combination is not likely to be viable.
On LinkedIn you start your account off with none of the three. As you start to connect on LinkedIn you’ll pop up on people’s radar. Your activity is displayed on people’s home page so with enough participation you’ll start to get known.
To take the next step the most effective way to do so is to share value. In a small network you may be able to establish this outside of LinkedIn. But for those people that only know you through LinkedIn, they’ll make their decision based on how they judge your interaction and the value of the information you share.
Trust only occurs as people positively evaluate your interactions and content over time. Trust can take a long time to build and disappear overnight. So how do you use LinkedIn to take the steps from Known to trusted? Here are some ways.
- You LinkedIn ProfileYour profile is often the first opportunity to introduce yourself to others. Some key pieces of the puzzle are do you have a professional or relevant photo, do you list and explain your current and former employment, do you have summary that talks about how you help others.Another great way to build trust through your profile is the applications. You can feed in your blog which allows others to gain a better perspective of you. Boxnet allows you to share white papers, brochures, and other informational pieces. Slideshare let’s you add a PowerPoint presentation. All of these take your profile from two dimensional to 3 dimensional.If your profile visitor leaves and still has questions about who you help or how you can help them your profile did not do it’s job. Done right and your prospects may contact you.
- What Others Say About YouRecommendations are one of the key ways to build credibility. When a client takes the time to tell other what a great job you did, your credibility rises. You don’t have to toot your own horn.You don’t have to push your product or service, you don’t have to say you’re great, you don’t have to sell. The recommendation is doing that for you. Multiply the effect by securing at least 10 client recommendations.Business partner and colleague recommendations provide value as well, just not to the degree that on from client does.One way to build your recommendations is to be proactive and request them. If you do this keep a few things in mind. Don’t request a recommendation from anyone that you don’t know. Don’t request a recommendation of your work from someone who isn’t client. Don’t request a recommendation if the work you did was not above and beyond expectations.
- How You Interact with OthersThere are several places you can interact with pother on LinkedIn…Answers, Discussion Posts, and News Article comments. On LinkedIn your name is associated with your comments. This isn’t a college football forum where people make disparaging remarks while hiding behind a user name. Here what you say is directly tied to your brand.Remember that everything you do on LinkedIn either adds to or subtracts from your brand. LinkedIn is a professional social network so I don’t think we need to discuss what not to do. I’ve caught myself typing up a response to a comment (more than once) and realized that this would not add to my brand, so I deleted my response.
- The Value of the information You ShareOne the the best places to share value on LinkedIn is Answers. Here you get to help others while demonstrating your expertise. You want to make sure that you provide a well thought out answer. I usually spend at least 5 minutes on a response to make sure that my answer is one that adds to my brand.If you ever look at the top experts for the week you’ll see that there are some people who choose to answer a lot of questions. The top person this week has answered 366 questions. What does this say about that person?I’m sure their impression is that they are building their credibility. I look at this and think that if someone has the time to answer 366 questions they’re either not providing significant value or they’re lacking work to have the time to answer over 70 questions per day.Discussion questions in groups are a great way to start conversations and engage fellow group members. Discussions can lead to new client’s, new connections, and new knowledge. They add significant value to the group.
News articles allow you to share information that you have written or that you discovered. Everyone benefits. Just make sure that the news you share in a group is relevant to the group purpose. You don’t even have to post an article to provide value. You can comment on an article and share your knowledge, thoughts, and opinions.
There are numerous ways to build credibility on LinkedIn. You simply need to identify which vehicles will help you build your credibility. As you do you’ll find that you’re beginning to build brand awareness(know), generating a favorable perception(like), and generating new business (Trust).
How have you used LinkedIn to build credibility?
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