People don’t like doing business with a company, they like doing business with a person.
Unsurprising, then, how many business owners and entrepreneurs have leveraged social media to promote their expertise, personality, and authority to establish themselves as not just “some person,” but authorities in their subject.
What is authority marketing? How does one become an authority and why would one want to be one?
A few years ago, we ran a survey asking what was most important when choosing an attorney. The top three, in order, are:
These factors, we found, extend to other industries verbatim.
Buyers want to do know if you can meet their needs. The problem being that in today’s world anyone can claim anything, it’s just as important as ever to back your claims up with evidence of authority.
When I first delved into economics I wanted to join the conversation. I wanted to share and test my beliefs against those of actual economists. To even have a chance of taking a second of their time, I had to prove I was someone worth talking to.
How did I do that? I published.
I put myself and my ideas out there, then I promoted them and made sure to get them in front of my target audience.
Different topics, different subjects, all have their own unique terrain and approaches, but the bottom line remains that inspiring trust in others that you can add value to their lives comes down to proving it.
The internet has changed the way we can promote ourselves and our knowledge. Before, when we communicated via print or television, the barriers to entry were more difficult and expensive. Today, the opportunity to establish yourself as an authority is open to essentially everyone.
There are also more outlets to publish on nowadays and more media by which you can communicate, including:
- Publish a book.
As Joshua Fechter, author and founder of book writing software Squibler, says, “Patients, clients, and customers often rely solely on dentists and lawyers for knowledge. Often writing a book about your expertise in the subject matter is a way to encourage them to listen. The more knowledgeable they are and the more secure they feel in that knowledge, the more likely they are to spend money.”
- Write for industry publications.
Most major organizations and vendors have blogs, magazines, or other ways through which they outreach to their own clientele. Leverage these opportunities. For dentists, it may include writing for Glidewell or working with a technology vendor to be a case study.|
- Write for local newspapers and other materials that reach local audiences.
These are excellent not just to express yourself, but also to establish yourself a local figure.
- Produce videos!
Publish on Facebook, YouTube, and elsewhere, and use these videos to build brand awareness. Videos are more likely to be watched than articles are to be read. Furthermore, given that most communication is non-verbal, video gives you the opportunity to reveal who you are and the value you bring in a much broader sense than prose.
No matter what channel or medium you choose, always be yourself and don’t hold back your beliefs or opinions.
If everyone thought the same way, the world would be a very boring and uninspiring place.
What you know and the way that you see it is fun and interesting only because it comes from you, someone who has their own priors and perspectives.
Many business owners are afraid of undermining their sales by saying the wrong thing. And it’s true that there are certain things you shouldn’t say. But, we all [should] know what those things are and opinions on topics in which you are an expert in are very rarely one of those things.
Are you an immigration attorney who is pro-immigrant? That’s okay, write about it. Are you an immigration attorney who wants more border security? That’s okay, write about it. You’re a dentist with a unique take on how to secure a dental implant when the bone is narrow? Write about it.
You Are Your Brand
A brand is always a reflection of the people who run the business. For small businesses, this can be doubly true because often enough the business owner is either the product or the only one who can represent it.
Building a brand is crucial. But that growth has to be driven. It requires being proactive and aggressive.
The point being?
Director of Marketing at Now Media Group, with a background in quantitative economics and analytics. Formerly at [Tony] Robbins Research International.