Today, more than at any time in history, building credibility for yourself and your business means sharing your knowledge. Sharing is the backbone of social media, and the beauty of it is that while you are generously providing help and information to others, you are also building your own authority and getting your name and talents in front of an increasing number of people. What’s the best way to do it? By using all the tools at your disposal. Here are some of the most useful.
The simplest and most effective first step in building your online presence as an authority is blogging. There are various schools of thought on the frequency required, but in my mind, unless you’re writing exclusively about tech, you can safely get away with weekly, biweekly or even monthly posts. Make your goal reasonable and attainable so that blogging doesn’t become a chore. It’s better to put up quality content with less frequency than to force yourself into a schedule that delivers subpar pieces. The posts don’t need to be long, just useful. Remember, you are buiding a presence here; that doesn’t mean you have to be a daily destination.
Facebook Fan Page
A fan page is another outlet for your blog, allows you to easily create polls and discussion topics to show off what you know, and gives you another online destination–one that can be made key-word rich and increase your searchability.
Twitter is a great way to send off short bursts of expertise to show what you know. Retweeting is a shortcut way to link to someone else’s knowledge or breaking news and underscore your own interests. Twitter is a great way to push to your own content on your blog, site and fan page.
LinkedIn offers a lot of easy ways to be an expert. You can post messages, just like on Twitter, pushing back to your blog or site or just sharing an idea or piece of information. You can answer questions from people in your business area and also get positive attention by asking good questions. There is one on LinkedIn now that asks “Are referrals the best way to win new business?” We could all chime in on that one. The person who asked the question drew a lot of answers to his question and a lot of new eyes to his web site, since he attached his url and a call to action to read his newsletter there. You can access the question/answer part of LinkedIn via the “more” tab in the top navigation.
Social Bookmarking Sites
Commenting on others’ blog posts (and including your url in your signature) is another good way to show off what you know. So spend some time on social bookmarking sites like Digg, Stumbleupon, Reddit, Delicious and Sphinn. Every time you leave your name in a comment, it’s also another opportunity to get picked up by a search engine. Stumbleupon is especially useful. You can submit your site and get it considered for rotation. When Stumbleupon users click to see sites in your category and yours comes up, you can get in front of thousands of eyes who might not otherwise find you.
Google and Yahoo Buzz
Both of these venues give you additional visibility, but Google Buzz has better reach. You can redirect tweets, blog posts, comments and your picks from Google Reader as well, so you can create a significant trail behind you while reading and watching videos, which you would normally do anyway.
Don’t be overwhelmed!
It is easy to read a list of all the ways there are to share what you know and feel hopeless about using it all. Experiment with the possibilities here and see what you like. When you find some that you naturally return to again and again, focus on those. In addition to your own blog, top picks should include three of the blockbusters of social media–Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Now draft a general media plan that lists, say, the top four, five or six locations you’d like to interact with over time and your frequency there. Have fun and be patient. Building authority doesn’t happen overnight, so take it easy and enjoy the process!