When you have a small business, minutes matter. You have to stay focused, which is very hard to do in this chaotic business world in which many of us operate. In the past, many companies operated and sold either locally or, at most, regionally. Now, we are global. So how can you differentiate your brand, in addition to your products and services? Become the Expert!
I was reading Ivana Taylor’s article regarding influence (You 14 Step Roadmap to becoming an Influencer ) on openforum.com and it got me thinking…what can small businesses do to make themselves brand experts?
Here are some ideas that I gleaned from Ivana with my additions (of course).
- Put in the time—You truly do need to be an expert to claim that status (don’t be a poser!)…Ivana recommends 10,000 hours…that means that you have to be working full time in an industry for at least five years to claim expert status…totally doable! Remember though, focus is key… I am not just a market research and marketing expert…I am an expert in B2B insurance market research and B2B insurance marketing (as well as other things…wink).
- Strategically Embrace Social media—there are a lot of things you can do through social media that will boost your expert status, but you can’t afford to waste time. Here are my quick hit favorites:
- LinkedIn—join 50 groups…it’s fast and easy; and, actively post articles and ask questions in the groups from which you think you will get the most “expert status” bump.
- Blog—Don’t do what I do…keep your blogs short and sweet…and do what I do…keep them on topic. When you blog, use key words you want to own/be associated with your name/brand…like marketing, commercial insurance, Net Promoter Score. If you have more time…I suggest you also place comments on other people’s blogs—it helps with Google juice! Another idea would be to guest blog, but few of us have enough time to write our own blogs let alone blog for other people. I would try to get them to repost one of the blogs you have already written.
- Create a YouTube video—if you have a video camera and an internet connection, you are pretty much set. Make the video really short (1 to 3 minutes, tops) and very informative and instructional. Oh, and make it fun. Post these videos on your website…more Google juice!
- Publish…Your Data—if you collect and analyze data and can publish it…do so! Nothing better than providing the world with useful information. And, after you have published your data…write a press release about it. It doesn’t cost that much to get your press releases run through the newswires.
- In-person Networking—yes, you need to get out there and meet people face to face, not just online. To do this, I recommend joining associations and attending their conferences (to the extent it makes sense). Service clubs like Rotary are great as well, but don’t just focus on local things and events.
- Speak/Join Panels/Webinars—most of us would rather jump off a bridge than speak publically; but, there are few better ways to build up your expert status than having documented proof that people are willing to pay for your advice.
There are a heck of a lot more ways to get your brand elevated to expert status, but these were my favorites. And, as you have probably noticed, most of them are absolutely free (except for your time).
What are you doing to elevate your brand status to expert?