We prefer to do business with people and organisations we trust. We want to be confident that the services or products we are investing in will be suitable for our needs, delivered when promised and that contract and payment arrangements will be honoured.
For smaller or newer companies, it can be difficult to build credibility, while for more established and larger players, reputation management can sometimes be a challenge.
Credibility is about trust. And to build trust, you need to be clear about who you are and what you stand for so you can represent your organisation consistently.
So, before you dive into the list of credibility boosting tips below, take some time to define your vision, mission and values. Then, make sure that everything you and your business do is aligned with them. If you’re not certain who or what you are, you can guarantee your customers (or potential customers) will view you with scepticism and suspicion.
Some of the values you might like to think about embedding across your business, like being honest, sincere, professional, reliable and easy to reach, are also the basics for developing your credibility.
You may also find it useful to look at the trust matrix developed by Peter Scholtes, author of The Leader’s Handbook. His trust matrix is based on two factors: aptitude (how capable you are at delivering what you promised when you promised it) and benevolence (demonstrating that you have your customers’ best interests at heart by perhaps going above and beyond and showing that you care).
Once you are clear on your positioning, here are 13 ways to build trust in your brand.
- Ask for customer recommendations, reviews and testimonials and post them on your website, LinkedIn and other social media platforms.
- Don’t forget to ensure your website and social media accounts are updated regularly – tumbleweed Twitter profiles can dent your integrity. Instead, actively engage with your followers and post both curated and original content that will be useful for them.
- Publish case studies highlighting particularly successful projects. Make sure you include links to any partners in the project as well as to your clients, so you can benefit from ‘trust by association’.
- Share your knowledge and expertise by commenting in online forums and LinkedIn groups. Answer questions and provide solutions. Be helpful rather than salesey.
- Volunteer in groups or on committees that are relevant to your expertise. As well as enabling you to demonstrate your knowledge and skillset, your fellow committee/group members might then recommend you and your business to their professional networks.
- Offer to speak and share your expertise at a relevant event. This could be a local networking event, training course or even a national conference or seminar.
- Blog regularly and use the content to answer your customers’ questions or concerns, share useful information that will help your customers in their day to day life and to tell stories about your heritage, personality and expertise. If you want more ideas for blog content, check out our post: 52 content ideas for your business blog.
- As well as regularly writing for your own blog, offer to guest post on other relevant blogs. Ask other recognised experts and influencers to contribute to your blog, vlog or website.
- Offer to write articles for industry publications. Contact journalists that cover news and features in your business area and let them know you are happy to be contacted if they need an expert viewpoint or contributor.
- Write a book. Although this is a big undertaking, writing and publishing a book gives you the opportunity to add substance to your ideas and adds legitimacy to what you do.
- Invest in continued professional development (CPD). Share reflections on what you have learnt and, if you receive a certificate, qualification or award, promote your achievements.
- Avoid errors in your written content. Hire a proofreader if you need to. If your website, blog or social media updates are badly written with typos and grammatical errors, your customers will start to doubt the quality of your products or services.
- Don’t fake it. Make sure you know what you are talking about or you risk losing all your credibility.