When people search for a product or service online, they all look for the expert in the field and the best professional support to tackle their specific problem. Whether you are a plumber or a web designer, your potential customers are most likely going to search for you online. For this reason, it is highly important to have a strong web presence and establish your expertise in your niche market across multiple online platforms. The greater your spread, the more likely you are to catch the eye of potential consumers. We’ve come up with a few tips to help business owners establish their online expertise -and by doing so are helping to establish our own!
1. Use a blog to establish expertise
Everyone expects to find free information online these days. Create a blog that actually provides useful tips or interesting articles for your potential consumers and specific audiences. For example, if you are an electrician, try posting useful how-to tips and tutorials for common household electrical issues. If you are an SEO firm, share tips on how businesses can improve SEO on their own. These potential customers will appreciate the knowledge and might even share your name as a resource to friends or colleagues who need help. Then, when they have a larger project – say installing new electrical outlets in their home or a complete overhaul of their website– they will come to you because they trust your expertise.
2. Communicate, engage, and answer questions
One way to build your online following and expertise is by being readily available to answer customer questions and provide solutions, particularly in the public forum. We recommend using Facebook, Quora, Twitter, and LinkedIn as a starting point. Try to post in forums, join conversations, or answer questions at least twice a week. You’ll begin establishing your expertise among your competitors and potential customers which, again, will help keep you top of mind for purchasing decisions down the road
3. Use content to build relationships
We always recommend that our clients look for ways to build strategic partnerships within their business community. One great way to both build your strategic partnerships and establish online expertise is by offering to be a guest blogger for another company’s website. For example, as a PR firm, we will often guest blog for our associates at an SEO firm, or even another communications company. We get the added value of another platform and different audience to share our content, plus a third party endorsement of our expertise. The other company gets some great content for their own blog with fresh information and new perspectives which also help improve the educational value of their site. And we are each more likely to send client referrals to one another as our symbiotic relationship grows. Everyone wins.
These three ideas are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to building online expertise for yourself and your business. But they do provide a great starting point and are doable for any size and type of company. Best of luck out there and we look forward to seeing your expert advice next time we search online for “how to fix…”
Diana Crawford is a seasoned public relations consultant with more than 15 years of agency, consulting, and in-house experience. She joined Orapin in 2013 and manages account services and client communications strategy development. She has worked across a variety of sectors and has expertise with professional services, food/alcohol, health and wellness, lifestyle, sports, education, tech, and non-profit industries.