8 Easy Ways to Create Credibility as an Entrepreneur
How can you get your foot in the door when no one knows what you're about or whether you're credible?
- People don't tend to trust strangers.
- Most likely, your potential customers already have options to choose from.
- And some of your competitors already have a massive following. They have been doing this for years!
So, what do you do when you're just starting out?
The good news is that all of those famous people and companies started right where you are today. So everything is doable.
Let's see how!
1. Start with Yourself First
Imagine you're in a clinic for a regular check-up, and two people walk into the waiting room and claim to be your doctor.
One's dressed as a scuba diver. The other is in a white coat; he's holding a stethoscope and your medical file. Obviously, you're going to take your chance with the person dressed as the doctor, aren't you?
The same premise applies to how you're perceived by others, both online and in person.
How can you say you're an expert on something if you don't look or sound the part? Your brand image and presentation speak before you have a chance to introduce yourself professionally.
So hold off on the networking and social media posts about how great you are for a while. Instead, let's start with your image and brand because, like it or not, we do judge a book by its cover.
Do a S.W.O.T Analysis on Yourself
A SWOT analysis is an overview of your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
It is usually done to evaluate a business at the starting point before any strategic changes are implemented. You want to do this both for your business and for yourself as a brand.
To do it, ask yourself the following questions and write down the answers:
|What are your most valuable strengths when it comes to your own credibility?
|Where do you fall short in your entrepreneurial brand?
|Have you already started to establish your business network, and is it growing?
|Are you lacking consistency in your work and online presence?
|What personal charms currently help you build credibility?
|Do you need tools and classes to improve your knowledge?
|Do you see yourself filling a gap in the market, and how can you build credibility in it?
|What does your competition in the industry look like, and who do you need to look out for?
|What programs, platforms, or brands can you work with to boost your credibility?
|What threatens to prevent you from building credibility (time, money, or experience)?
|Who can you connect with to learn from or improve your credibility?
|What personal flaws prevent you from building credibility?
With this SWOT analysis, you can get an objective view of your credibility and branding by looking at yourself from a business perspective.
Once you're done, it should give you a clear understanding of where your current credibility as an entrepreneur stands. This, in turn, will help you find more direction on where and how you want to go.
Update Your Online Images
Most people would love to know what you look like and what you stand for, and when it comes to credibility, putting a face to a name is very important.
If you haven't updated your social media or online profile images in a long time, then it's time to change!
That picture you took in 2015 needs to go.
If you can't afford a professional photoshoot for new headshots, no worries. Put on a nice outfit, find a place with some good lighting and a nice background, and say cheese. Feel free to add filters to your photos.
Use this image on your social media profiles, online bios, speaking engagements — anything that requires your face.
Make sure you're consistently using the same one to three images, preferably made in the same style, so people can easily identify you without even having to read your name. This ultimately helps drive recognition.
With more recognition, each of your brand- and credibility-building efforts will become more effective.
Be Genuine & Authentic
Some people say, "Fake it till you make it."
But today, people value authenticity and trust more than anything else.
"Faking it" may bring you short-term results and appear to be a nice strategy… until you realize you're losing trust, and your more authentic competitors are getting tons of free recommendations while you need to pay for each and every lead.
So, authenticity pays off.
To build it:
- Show up every day as who you naturally are, whether you're introverted or extroverted. Ultimately, be yourself and don't try to put on a fake personality.
- Avoid get-famous-quick schemes. Instead, you want to take your time with the help of hard work and consistency to slowly but surely build authentic relationships.
- Speak your opinions honestly in a professional and healthy way. Being authentic means being honest about who you are and what you believe in.
There may be billions of people in the world, but there's no one as unique as you, even down to a biological standpoint.
Being authentic allows you to put the stamp of your personal style on everything you do.
In fact, it's one of the key ingredients to building credibility as an entrepreneur.
2. Boost Your Online Presence
Without a strong influence in your industry, it's much more difficult to build your credibility online. This doesn't mean you need to be scheduling TikTok dances to go viral, though it's not always a bad idea.
Rather, you need to have your online staples in place to ensure your potential clients can easily find, learn about, and contact you.
Here are some online and social spaces you should develop to build your credibility as an entrepreneur.
Be Active on Social Media
Social media has played a major role in helping us connect with others, including the clients, influencers, and brands we admire.
It's also become a staple in helping entrepreneurs build a strong presence in their industries, as well as a good foundation of credibility.
Here are some tips that will make your social media experience much easier.
Create a content calendar
This is a document that contains the schedule of your upcoming posts, as well as raw ideas for the future. Maintaining it will help you save a lot of time, collect nice ideas that come up here and there in a single place, and avoid those writer's block moments when you need to post something, but all the ideas have scattered.
Only join the top social media platforms
Create content you feel comfortable doing
This is also a part of authenticity. Stick to your area of expertise and speak only about what you know for sure and what you like. People feel when somebody speaks with a true passion and inspiration, and they appreciate it. This will also help you build trust and credibility.
Repurpose your content to save time
There's no need to create tons of unique content every week. Instead, you can put a new spin on what you have created before and give it new life. This is called repurposing content. For example, if you created an article, you can grab quotes and infographics and turn them into social media posts or a video. Also, you can repeat the most relevant posts on social media from time to time.
Focus on engagement
Don't just throw information out there. Start conversations and build connections with people so they can learn to trust you more. To go even further, do a monthly analysis of what has worked best, and focus on those topics and types of content in the future.
Social media is quite simple to start with, especially if you follow these time-saving tips. But it's not the only place to be present online.
Bonus tip: Use branded links for the footers of your social posts. A branded link shortener is a URL shortener that incorporates your domain name. This way, you're maximizing your brand awareness efforts, while still incorporating a link.
Create a Credible Website
Here's the catch: you can do business without a website.
But why do that if you can build your own website from anywhere even without coding skills? You can use a website builder like Hostinger, which provides easy-to-use and intuitive drag-and-drop tools to help you establish your website quickly.
Unlike social media, it's your own slice of digital space.
Think of social media as your stand in a shopping mall and a website as your office. Both have their own pros and cons, but in general, a stand is intended to catch some customers on-the-go, while an office is what creates credibility.
Social media is quick to bring results, but it is fickle.
One day, you can log in to find out you've been hacked and your account has been stolen. Even besides that, the popularity of social media platforms is unstable.
And even when you're sliding along the crest of the wave, they will hardly share a significant amount of their visitors with you without the necessity of paying for promotions or doing quite a lot of legwork.
To summarize, on social media, you don't actually possess your data. Whereas your website traffic is yours, and you can manage it in different ways.
You can deeply analyze where your visitors come from and how they interact with your website.
You can not only sell your products or services on its pages but also subscribe visitors to your mailing list for further conversion, speak with them via an online chat add-on, follow them with remarketing ads on other platforms, and implement other numerous sales and marketing approaches. Another neat thing is that you can actually get feedback from your visitors using a method like Net Promoter Score, which can help you improve weak spots and build loyalty.
The above doesn't mean you should refuse to use social media and focus solely on maintaining a website, but rather that it's worthwhile to use both, with their unique features and benefits.
3. Start a Blog
Adding to our previous point, it's also important to create a blog and share your thoughts, works, ideas, and tips.
Maintaining a blog allows you to display yourself as a real expert in your niche.
The importance of a blog can't be overestimated. And despite how it may look like quite a complex mission, here are some tips to start with:
- Choose topics with a high potential to convert.
For example, "how to find the best dental clinic in Manchester" is more geared toward conversions for a clinic than "most popular dental services" because it displays the actual interest to purchase services.
- Check out these topics' search potential and the difficulty of a keyword.
- Write two to four articles per month.
Start small, don't overload yourself with writing, and just do it regularly with comfortable intervals — or delegate the task entirely. Check how the articles work, experiment with improvements, and then scale.
- Pay attention to conversion rates.
Articles may be not too converting as they are, because they are, well, not advertising pages. But they build your credibility. To make the most of them, experiment with calls to action, banners, and other converting elements on your articles' pages.
- Repurpose articles.
Each blog article takes quite a lot of effort to create. So, use it to the fullest! Take its parts for social media and email posts, repurpose its narrative for a video or a presentation, etc. In this way, each article will turn into a dozen pieces of content.
In this way, you will cover several purposes at once: building your credibility, improving your website's SEO, and boosting your social media and other channels with fresh content.
4. Create Content that Builds Credibility
It may seem tricky at first sight, but here are the main rules to follow:
- Learn what your potential clients are interested in.
You may ask your current clients, search on Google, or read on forums and social media. Gather all those topics and questions into a list.
- Use your proficiency to answer the questions.
Be authentic, be true, and be professional. Tell them your real advice as if someone was asking you personally — this is the core that creates credibility.
- Don't worry about the form too much.
Of course, nice-looking and well-written content converts better. But no content doesn't convert at all. Just do the best you can and improve gradually. Even if your style is far from perfect, the valuable core idea will make people read it and trust your expertise.
- Create content consistently.
Whether it's once a day or once a week, let people rely on that they'll find something new from you within a predictable time period.
Truthful, authentic, and professional advice in content is the key to establishing your credibility online.
5. Share Your Content with Email Marketing
People like to argue about whether email marketing is still alive anymore.
Our answer is short:
If it helps you convert leads into customers, it's worth doing.
Yes, before social networking interfered with the marketing world and chopped off a piece of the pie, email marketing was, if not a king, then a minister, for sure. But even though it has become less effective than it used to be ten years ago, it is still a powerful tool that cannot be ignored.
The best way you can approach internet marketing from the very beginning is by repurposing your blog content into shorter emails, advice selections, and article digests, and then mixing them in with your advertising emails.
In this way, you will:
|Bring your email subscribers real value
|Add onto your professional credibility
|Prevent many people from unsubscribing
|Increase your conversion rates and get more customers
6. Network with People & Brands in Your Niche
Networking with people and brands is another extremely powerful way to build your credibility as an entrepreneur online.
Don't worry; if you're not a "people person," you can choose the most comfortable methods out of all the ones available. For example, you may not speak at events, but you can attend them and chat with interesting people.
Attend Events, Webinars, or Workshops
Credibility and people go hand in hand, and whether you're an extrovert or introvert, as an entrepreneur you'll still need to connect with other people since growing your business requires their trust.
Attending online events of different types will help you:
- Connect with people within your niche
- Build connections with hosts
- Learn from industry leaders to stay informed and up-to-date
- Widen your own expertise
When you attend an online event, always try to do two or more of the following:
|Connect with its speakers and attendees via social media or LinkedIn
|Ask questions to learn something new or confirm an answer to a burning question
|Get involved in demonstrations or group activities, if there are any
|Connect with the event coordinator to build a connection with them, as well
Once you've made a connection, try to grow it further by meeting for a quick coffee or sending a follow-up email.
Don't leave any event without at least several nice, new connections you feel may turn into something more in the future.
Speak at Events
This is the next level. Here, you'll also connect with attendees and hosts, improve your professional knowledge, and build connections.
But, at the same time, a speaker is perceived as a leader, by default.
If you follow the same core rules — being professional, authentic, and relevant — you will increase your credibility much faster as a speaker than as an attendee.
You can also proceed with creating your own events, as long as you have formed your own audience of listeners and readers.
Networking is another great application for social media, since it's a place you should be, well, social!
However, don't be annoying.
Imagine you're at a party, and a stranger walks up and starts talking to you like they've known you for years. It would be an awkward situation. Instead, wouldn't you prefer they introduce themselves first, then slowly build a connection with you so you can decide whether or not you'd like to get to know them?
The same should apply to all of your online connections. Don't just message people or share your business without first introducing yourself and getting to know them.
Start by consistently engaging with people by liking, sharing, or commenting on their posts to slowly build rapport.
This method is better for business connections and partnerships.
Email outreach is one of the oldest and still most effective ways to connect with people. Unlike social media, which can be a one-too-many platform, email is a one-to-one channel. It's a more personal way of connecting without all the distractions.
If you need some help learning about email outreach or sharpening your skills, check out some of the top outreach tactics from email expert Drew Page.
Once you've made some connections with other entrepreneurs, the next step is to find a way to collaborate or co-promote to help each of you meet your goals.
You can do this by planning a summit or workshop, creating content, or even helping each other with business ideas.
If you want to take project collaboration even further, you can start preparing a strategy to:
- Share and post guest post articles on blogs and popular websites
- Create video content for a brand, i.e., product reviews
- Participating in other people's online content, like podcasts and interviews
7. Engage with Online Communities
Community management is where you provide advice or answers on popular online forums like Quora, Reddit, Slack, or Facebook groups.
It's different from just spamming a community with your ads and links to your website, which will most likely end with you being banned.
By engaging with online communities, you'll find places where your potential customers discuss problems relevant to your product or service. You can help them with your sincere advice, which lets you:
|Connect with your audience
|Gently promote yourself
If you're new to community management, you can start following topics in your industry.
From there, slowly become an active participant on these topics by posting thought-provoking questions and valuable answers.
8. Showcase Achievements
There's no shame in showing off your awards or achievements when it comes to being an entrepreneur.
After all, you've earned it.
Plus, it's one of the fastest ways to gain credibility and notoriety. Around 93% of customers will read reviews of businesses to determine their quality.
The same can be said about you.
So, instead of hiding your credentials and letting them gather dust, place them where they'll be seen.
Take a moment to add your article features, awards, and even customer testimonials to your website, social media bio, and online content so people can easily find them.
Let's Wrap It Up
Building credibility doesn't happen overnight.
Like it or not, it takes years to build a solid foundation.
That said, it can be easy to get discouraged along the way, especially if you'll be doing this for a long time. This is one of the reasons why not all entrepreneurs can boast distinguished credibility or grow in their projects and businesses.
On the other hand, if you follow these tips consistently, noticeable results will come in time. The longer you proceed, the stronger your credibility will be, and the less your competitors' reputations will be able to compete with yours.
How do entrepreneurs build credibility?
One of the fastest ways to build credibility as an entrepreneur is to be active in online spaces. These can be events, social media, webinars, or even live content.
How do startups establish credibility?
By building community and providing content and solutions to their ideal target audience. It also helps start-ups to liaison with thought leaders who can build trust for their service or product.
Why is credibility important in business?
Credibility is important because this is what customers will use to trust a business in order for them to make a purchase or continual loyalty.