To win trust online and establishing promising trusting relationships on social media starts with not only the content you put out, but also the credibility of the person who puts out that content. There is a difference when similar content is put out by someone of less credibility as compared to another person, with accolades and credentials.
We all start with nothing.
Just imagine what I started with – I was a stay home mother for seven years, who then went on to start a business from home. The first business I had was a simple e-commerce platform selling children’s hair accessories. I had no degree, barely two years experience in corporate sector, and when I jumped on LinkedIn in January 2017 – no one on LinkedIn really knew me.
My first few days on LinkedIn.
No one knew me. I had a large following on Facebook before that because I shared a lot of stories of motherhood and my journey of starting a business from home. But I knew, LinkedIn’s crowd is another level. My friend had suggested me to start an account on LinkedIn since he’d realised I was writing more of business articles lately and LinkedIn would be a better crowd for me. I started the account on 5th January 2017, and was struggling to get my first 100 connections. I tried to find some familiar profile of people I might know, but that did not take me past 100. I wrote some postings, but barely anyone was reading it. Although I am passionate in entrepreneurship, it’s hard when no one would actually believe me.
Understanding what the audience really want.
I imagined myself as an audience, and what would attract me to someone on social media whom I would like to follow myself. The main reasons people seek is education, motivation and inspiration from people with credibility. So before I could do any of that, the missing ingredient is credibility. How do I get started with earning credentials and testimony, when I was just a stay home mother starting a business?
I worked out relatively quickly, that it’s not possible for me to earn credibility by telling others how great I am but to have other people say that of me.
I needed to build credentials and testimony from people of high calibre, reputation and I am not sure who would start off giving me any. In this case, the target people I need would impress would be events organiser (business conferences), university professors, media (newspaper or magazines) and other successful entrepreneurs etc. It would be weird if I suddenly knock on their doors for compliments so I figured out this trick.
Build your own assets to win opportunities that earns you credentials.
I know I am made up of so much more, I had experiences and knowledge that could educate and inspire others. I was always improving, reading, and studying about business and I would love to share with more people – and hope the right people would appreciate my content. Because I am genuinely interested to speak on stages in universities and conferences, or connect with other successful entrepreneurs – the only way is to make them attracted to me.
I started organising my own events.
Invested some money and time in planning and running events, I gathered mothers back in 2013 to share and speak about starting a business from home. It was easier to gather a close network and I paid photographers to capture the images as assets, that contributed to my personal branding. I had my title changed to include “Speaker” so other people know I am open for speaking opportunities. The fact that those assets – images and videos of me speaking – naturally open doors for speaking gigs to come through.
And suddenly, I had invitations to speak from events as little as 30 up to 500 seatings of people at one time. For many times, I had the chance to be flown over to other countries to speak and during each time, I gave my best. This year, 2018 I have spoken at over 40 events in more than 6 countries including India and Hong Kong. These events, continued to add on to my assets and not only that, I had been featured on newspaper articles and interviews following the media coverage. And now with credentials from the universities and conference organisers, my credibility rises.
Getting the invitations is great, but it’s more important to perform.
I take these opportunities seriously, and I made sure I mastered the skills of presentation, speaking, improving content and stage presence. It’s important for me to contribute value as a sign of gratitude for being invited in the first place – and I’ve given no less than 110%. Quite commonly, I was able to win the audience and impressed the organiser that eventually, I get recommended to speak at more events through word of mouth. By which, I’ve never say NO to such opportunities and always made time to be present, and to earn more credentials.
Use that chance to leave an impact.
While I earn credibility in that manner, it matters to me that my physical presence must leave an impact. I’ve travelled and invested time to be there, so it has to also bring benefits back to me – I always end up with good feelings no doubt about that, but best of all, I left with new businesses and clients. I built relationships with the organisers especially the universities, and continue to give value in other ways even way after the event is over. The assets that adds on, continue to build my personal branding online and the credibility allows me to connect with many more people who’ve now developed trust in what I do, or say.
Don’t wait on opportunities, create them.
If I had decided to wait for the chance for someone to invite me, I probably will never get that chance. But being smart and putting in effort to start doing what I love, is showcasing to others what I am capable of – so they will be more inclined to open similar opportunities for me within their network. If you write for a living, then contribute a written content every day so people can see that skill and build trust enough to hire you to write for them. If you love training others, then start investing time to share 3 minutes video every week on social media sharing some business tips – that is how people know your depth of knowledge to consider hiring you as a trainer.
In life, you cannot always just ask for what you want.
Opportunities are created when you are ready to take them up, so instead of ask, show what you are capable of.