7 Ways To Prove You’re The Expert’s Expert

June 17, 2010

ExpertiseSo you know that your knowledge is second to none and that you’re the maven of [insert subject here]. But how do you communicate this to those new to your efforts, especially within the limited personal contact of the digital realm?

Although it’s true that working relationships built up in person have a natural trust associated with them, the social web offers more and more opportunities to develop such relationships on the basis of demonstrated knowledge. Additionally, your reach is much extended beyond your own region, making productive, beneficial  connections with the perfect associates more accessible than ever.

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All very well, but the original question was: how?

In this post we look at seven steps you can take to begin building  an online repository of your expertise, helping out others who can benefit from your knowledge, and connecting with those elusive contacts that may not have been available to you outside of social media.

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  • Write varied and unique content on your own website via a blog. Include practical advice for your readers and, once you have a good block of popular content, create a ‘Best Of’ section of your blog and link to it now and again from other platforms and blog posts. Check out our advice on creating alluring content to get started.
  • Search and answer relevant questions on LinkedIn, Answers.com, Yahoo! Answers, and any other site where people gather to search for the expert knowledge you have to impart. Niche sites for your specialist area may be more appropriate, if you find too many responses on the larger sites.
  • Speak or provide informed opinion at a relevant event. Twitter is full of individuals arranging ‘tweet-ups’, as well as dedicated sites like MeetUp offering specific categories, making it easy to find the right level and subject for your area of expertise. By finding these via social media, you can also connect with attendees before and after the event, whether you’ve met them in person or not.
  • Host a webinar via a site like Webex or GoToMeeting. Many offer a free trial so you can find your feet and select the site you prefer. This gives you a chance to offer some free advice to those with an interest in your field, gathering a community around your expert opinion and storing it online as a reference point for anyone that is unable to attend. A webinar can also be marketed more like an event, making it easier to spread on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.
  • Create a podcast or video guide. Recording is now simple enough that good quality output can be made from a PC or digital camera. As the spoken word and visual elements of these media offer a more human connection to your content, they bridge some of the distance we discussed early and can appear more authoritative. This simple guide from Best Internet Marketing can get you started in podcasting.
  • Request referrals and testimonials from those who have had the most positive experiences working with you. You can be recommended as an individual on LinkedIn, ask for a review on business listings like Google Maps or Yelp!, or simply post their enthusiastic comments on a specific section of your website for prospective customers to read.
  • Offer free consultations to show what you can do for a specific individual or business, without committing them to anything. The no cost aspect is a great way to attract new interest in your services, while the one-on-one nature helps to focus in on the exact needs of those you’re working with and communicate more clearly what you can help them achieve.

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How are you using the social web to demonstrate your expertise?

What difficulties have you found in standing out in a crowded environment such as LinkedIn Answers?

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Cartoon coutesy of Geek & Poke

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Jump Start Your Online Presence For Success In 2010

January 11, 2010

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As a New Year begins, many will review the work of the previous twelve months and search for ways to enhance their performance  during the months to come.

For those with professions closely connected to the web, a productive and cost-effective measure will be to develop a strong presence across social networks.

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With a seemingly inexhaustible supply of online platforms to utilize, however, this activity could prove far more difficult to begin than one might expect. In an effort to set you off on the right foot, we offer the following suggestions for jump starting your online presence in 2010:

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  • START A BLOG

blogger-logoBlogs provide an outstanding and relatively simple platform from which to promote your activities. Whether used as an extension to your existing website or as a main site in its own right, a blog allows you to deliver information on products and services, share your expertise in your field, build a community interested in your updates, and keep in touch with customers and fans.

As an added bonus, your increased online output and links to your name and services will assist in your climbing the search engine rankings, making it easier for those with an interest to find you online. All of this from a platform that is generally free and no more difficult to use than a standard word processor.

TRY THESE: Blogger / WordPress

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  • BROADCAST YOURSELF ON YOUTUBE

YouTube_logoOften overlooked as a part of the social media community by businesses and artists alike, YouTube has the potential to access an extremely large audience, many of whom will have a keen interest in your activities. With over 300 million people watching worldwide – and 98.8 million of those in the US alone – it’s a community that should be right up there with Facebook as one you seek to engage.

Part of the hesitation is perhaps down to the relative difficulty in creating content for your own YouTube channel, as video is obviously more time and equipment intensive than simply writing a blog entry or posting to Facebook. With the proliferation of camera phones, webcams, and inexpensive digital camcorders, though, creating video content that is both entertaining and broadcasts your message is easier now than ever before. There are also plenty of enterprising young companies and individuals out there to assist your inner Spielberg, so reaching out to your network should be all that’s required to have you on the digital airwaves in no time at all.

TRY THESE: YouTube / About.com: How to get started on YouTube / Small Business Trends

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  • FIRE UP YOUR FACEBOOK PROFILE

Facebook_logoAs you may have observed, Facebook is no longer the exclusive outpost of college students finding another outlet for their procrastination. With over 300 million users now registered worldwide and the fastest growing demographic in 2009 being those aged 35-54 (broad, but telling nonetheless), the most well known social network of them all is another platform on which you are sure to find an important audience.  With its fairly rigid structure for company and artist profiles, however, it can be a challenge to make your page stand out and encourage return visits.

It can be a chore to locate the various tools that will make your page *pop* but it will be worth the effort when your audience lingers, then returns regularly, because your content and features stand out to them. Standard elements such as adding videos, photos, and links to your own sites are a great starting point, after which you should investigate adding applications to include interactive features like polls, games, and many more that keeps your audience engaged with your community.

TRY THESE: All Facebook Tips / Mashable’s 30+ Apps for Facebook Business

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  • DEVELOP YOUR PERSONAL BRAND

linkedin-logoWith the rise of social media, the dividing  line between business and personal activities has become increasingly blurred. Individuals have become their own businesses – or at least their personalities are inextricably linked to their organization(s) – and companies presenting themselves on networks like Twitter and Facebook are required to inject a more personable side to their interactions. All of which makes it an outstanding time to build your own personal brand.

Accessing more professional platforms such as LinkedIn provides outstanding opportunities to connect with other professionals both in and out of your chosen industry. Joining groups, participating in industry discussions, updating others on your current projects, and attending real-world member meet ups will all help to expand your business network and learn from those with knowledge you require. At the same time, you can do the same for those you connect with and build a reputation for expertise in your particular field. And, of course, you never know when that casual discussion online will turn into a critical connection that you couldn’t progress without. Dig your well before you’re thirsty, as someone wise once stated.

TRY THESE: LinkedIn / Personal Branding Blog

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Picking up on some (or all, if ambitious!) of these starting points will lead to a great many opportunities to expand both online networks and reputation, if taken up with enthusiasm and an open mind to the possibilities of each.

It is important to maintain an ongoing presence on any online platform, of course, keeping content fresh and discussion active to encourage return visits and converting your audience to a fan or client. If you have questions on any of these suggestions or success stories of your own, we would love to hear them in the comments or via e-mail.

Have you taken steps to develop your online presence so far this year? If so, what have you done?

What areas of your social networking and online media management should you prioritize for the coming year?