Companies of all sizes face the challenge of appearing to be credible and trustworthy to potential clients. Small and micro-companies often feel they are at a disadvantage when competing with larger competitors. However, there a several easy ways to build credibility into your brand experience. In today’s post, we’ll discuss 7 of them.
When you set out to share your message and brand with the world, you may think having a large advertising budget and big marketing departments is needed. This is simply not true. For many small brands, creating a consistent feeling and communication style can build instant credibility, developing a deeper level of trust for your brand.
Recommendations are a powerful way to expand your network and put you and your brand in a positive light. Ask your exisitng customers and network to introduce you to others in their network that could be a good fit. This launches you into a conversation, positions you in a positive light, and uses social proof to build credibility.
As you continue to grow your network, start out by recommending and connecting others that could benefit. After you have made a few solid recommendations and connections, then ask for a referral or recommendation. Focus on building your relationships and delivering value to them and they will be much more likely to then recommend others to you.
2. Customer Testimonials
Customer testimonials are a bit trickier to pull off. Testimonials are brief statements of public praise from existing customers which you prominently post on your website or sales page. They act somewhat like a recommendation, but have lost some luster as there are too many “fake” or “anonymous” testimonials out there.
They are still important and effective to gather, though. Think of questions that potential customers or clients might ask before hiring you or your firm. Then, request quotes that answer those questions.
Stay away from anonymous testimonials as they can reduce your credibility.
3. Customer Success Stories
Customers and clients connect with stories. That is why we use stories to captivate our audiences and keep them engaged throughout the experience that we provide. Customer success stories are a way to experience the end result of your work by understanding where the client started and how working with you transformed their world into the success it is today.
Move beyond the features and benefits of what your brand did for the client and take your reader on a journey!
4. Consistent Social Media Presence
These days brands are on a stack of social media channels, yet are not managing them effectively. This hurts your brand’s credibility and trust. Just as you want recommendations and testimonials, social media is another form of social proof. If a potential client found you on Twitter, then went to your Facebook page and realized it is not up to date, you’ve lost credibility.
My recommendation is to choose 2-3 social media channels that your brand wants to have a true presence on. That means that each day, the brand is actively engaged with its audience, interacting, posting, and commenting. This builds credibility and trust with your audience, who are more likely to check out your website.
5. Easily Navigable Website
Getting potential customers to your website is already a challenge. Once they are there, you certainly don’t want to lose them due to a hard to navigate site. Cut out the clutter and make the navigation at the top explicitly clear.
Your brand’s message should be clear and should match that of your social media platforms. In other words, if I visit your Twitter profile page and then come to your website, I should feel that the two are integrated together. This is done through colors, design, products, names, logos, tag lines, etc. These elements tie the two platforms together, giving your brand more credibility.
6. Useful Content Relevant to the Customer
Content marketing is one of the best ways to prove your brand’s credibility while delivering value for free to your targeted readers. However, it has to be the right content for your target market. All brands should have a blog or publication. People want to understand a brand’s position on key topics that relate. The blog is a way to shine a light on the employees who represent the brand. People want to connect with other people that share the same values. The brand becomes the conduit.
Brands that communicate their knowledge and deliver value build a connection with their audience over time. And that leads to credibility. Brands that have been blogging for 5 to 10 years consistently have a wealth of knowledge that they can deliver to their clients and potential customers. This is a long-term strategy. But one that is very beneficial.
How you package and offer your content also matters. Your brand may blog on a consistent basis. And your brand may also offer key ebooks or videos as downloads. This adds credibility as you are offering multiple tiers of information. Never pushy, but available.
7. All Communications Align with Values and Principles of the Brand
This is a common problem I see when evaluating and working with brands. The previous 6 ways to build credibility do not matter if all of the communications do not directly and clearly align with your brand’s values and guiding principles. If you are producing materials that are misaligned from your brand’s values, you are only further reducing your brand’s credibility.
You must understand who you are as a brand, your brand’s puprose, and it’s values first. Then, and only then, will the steps above add credibility to your brand.
Also published on Medium.