Setting yourself up as an expert online isn’t rocket science, but I admit it takes some leg work. Running an online business might seem pretty intimidating if you’re unsure of your digital marketing strategy– or how you plan to get known online. It’s one thing to own a website, another thing to keep it updated, and an entirely different program to use your blog as a platform to display your expertise.
So, what’s stopping you from setting up yourself as an expert?
Is it fear of the unknown? Lack of information on how to go about doing it exactly? Fear that maybe you’re not actually an expert?
Let me calm your fears a bit- you don’t have to do much to be an expert. You just need to know yourself. Know your business. Know what you bring to the table. And most of all, be confident in your field and in your expertise.
If you’ve done any of the initial groundwork and the laid the foundation for your business it won’t be so difficult to know what your expertise is. This groundwork includes discovering your passions, setting up your online presence, developing your pricing model, discovering your customer avatar, and maintaining relationships with your tribe. You can find out more in my book.
The first step is to acknowledge that you are, indeed, an expert. Then you’ll be ready for the following steps.
1. Crank out awesome content!
Developing an online presence that matters means cranking out awesome content, and on a regular basis. I shared about batch scheduling a few months ago, and it’s one way I manage to keep content rolling at my three blogs.
You’ll need to do a bit of research and find out what your audience likes. You want to give them the kind of content they’re looking for, so keep their questions answered and keep them happy and looking for more from you.
There are more ways than one to deliver content (as you’ll see in my following points), but blogging is definitely a great way to start building your expertise online.
There are a few steps to creating a great blog post and it’s necessary to make sure you follow a decent format so that your audience knows what to expect when they read your blog. After a while, once you start getting pretty comfortable with blogging, you might even feel confident enough to reach out to sponsors for support and partnerships which can definitely further your brand a do a lot for your business!
2. Give your audience good visuals.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to maintain consistency with branding and to create visuals that flow well with your brand. I haven’t always done this and I’m guilty of brand conflict. What do I mean by this?
Well, typically it’s a good idea to have your social media profiles all match with your business brand being the same throughout. I haven’t always stayed on top of this in my own social media profiles and just so you know, it is confusing to viewers who come to my Twitter page and see an entirely different logo than the one they see on Facebook. So, I’ve gone through a cleaning spree this year to ensure that I get a lot of this brand mix-matching cleaned up.
Another important thing about visuals to note is that when you are blogging you have an important opportunity to capture an audience of image lovers- right there on Pinterest! So, including a Pinterest-friendly image with each post you write is going to be of paramount importance if you plan to incorporate Pinterest into your digital media strategy. By Pinterest-friendly, I just mean images that are the best size for Pinterest so that they are more likely to be re-pinned and give you that extra boost of traffic to your blog.
I can affirm that Pinterest works for traffic-building and good visuals make the difference.
Your images definitely connect your audience to your brand and help them to connect to you as an expert in your field.
3. Consider public speaking, podcasting, or both!
Public speaking in front of a live audience isn’t my thing, but it might be yours- in which case, you should start booking some speaking engagements! This is probably one of the best ways to establish your expertise. You’ll have an audience at your fingertips who want to hear from you and they are eager to hear your words. This makes you an expert.
Since I don’t currently do live speaking, I decided that my best ways to connect with an audience on a more personal level was through podcasting and vlogging. These two forms of public speaking behind a camera and a microphone have been my way of connecting to moms and entrepreneurs for the past 10 years and it has worked for me. My kids were young and I couldn’t get out and travel so I made the decision to build my business from my laptop.
I LOVE podcasting and vlogging because it’s a significant way to connect to my audience, hear from them, and establish relationships with them (some of whom I enjoy phone chats with or get to see in real life).
4. Take advantage of social media.
I get it- social media takes time. But if you can, carve out a little time to batch schedule your social media posts, using nifty tools like Post Planner or Meet Edgar.
With Post Planner I’m able to plan out weeks in advance of Facebook posts and tweets. I use Tailwind for Pinterest sharing also and that has been major for me in driving traffic to my site from Pinterest.
The key is to find the social media platforms that work for you and work them. I don’t especially like Twitter much, so I don’t use Twitter often. I only use what I love and what works for me.
Using social media will help to draw your tribe and help you establish your expertise across many platforms.
5. Leverage the power of search engine optimization.
Last, but not least, is the power of SEO. You don’t have to do it every time you write a blog post (although it’s optimal) but if you have strong search engine optimization habits you’ll land your blog in a better position of getting noticed in Google.
Remember your titles and header tags and to include pertinent keywords in each. Add your keywords in your blog post description and in your images as well. If you need a little help figuring this out, simply installing the Yoast SEO plugin can help you navigate through these steps.
You have an awesome piece of content- so why not ensure Google finds your blog post one of the relevant ones on the topic and rank your site high for it? Just doing a little extra prep work in advance and learning how to use your keywords effectively throughout your blog posts can be extra helpful and go a long way in helping you establish your expertise online.
That’s it guys! I loved sharing this podcast (and blog post) with you and hope that this episode helps you to see yourself as an expert in your field.
Leave comments below if you’d like to add to this conversation! I always like hearing from my listeners 🙂
Being a blogger means you need to find your tribe. What is a tribe? Your tribe is your network of followers: viewers, listeners, readers, that love you and what you offer. So yes, you have to know who your tribe is and get them on board with you! But, just how do you go about doing that?
Find your tribe through social networking. You’ll want to find like-minded peeps by checking in at social media groups and working those groups until you’ve gotten to know the people. I run two completely different niche blogs. So, in order to find my niche audiences I have to go where they are. For me, that results in a lot of time spent on Youtube, Facebook, and Instagram. I am also finding success with Pinterest and attempting to resurrect my Twitter. One of the best ways to find your tribe is to figure out where they are and go hang out with them. It’s only through socializing with your tribe that you’ll get to know them better and figure out what their needs are. This leads me to my next point:
Find your tribe by listening to them. [tweetthis]Find your tribe by listening to them.[/tweetthis]Your tribe wants to feel heard. If you spend your time where they congregate you’ll begin to hear their needs loudly and clearly. You’ll hear their complaints, their questions, their problems. You’ll figure out quickly what their needs are and get ready to serve them in a phenomenal way. You listen by congregating and connecting. Drop in and say hi to someone on Youtube and leave a comment on their video. See what folks are discussing on Instagram. What seems to be the greatest needs of your tribe as you listen to their questions on Facebook groups? Really listen to their problems and understand that you may very well have the solutions they’ve been waiting on.
Find your tribe by offering solutions.
What kinds of questions are others in your niche offering to their tribe similar to yours? Go read their blog posts to see some possible solutions based on theirs and gather some ideas for your own solutions. What can you offer to your own tribe that will solve their problems? This is what sets you apart from the others! When you have solutions to offer, you’ll begin attracting your best audience…and you will find your tribe!
Watch my list building video to understand why I believe it’s so important to get that list started if you haven’t already!
Why is it important to start your list building strategies?
You want to get your prospects coming back to your site over and over again. Repeat traffic is especially important in Google. Also, you’ll want to share your content with the same readers again and again who enjoy your offerings. If they’re on your list, you can let them know when you’ve come out with something new just for them.
Your list is your #1 asset. You can export and take this list with you to any mailing list provider, and this is your list. These are your followers, your interested subscribers. They absolutely want to hear from you because they signed up to do so. What if someone signs up just for your freebie and walks off? That’s okay, too. Count it as a loss worth the investment. You’ll have more people interested in your offerings than you will those who are just mooching off your freebies.
Lastly, in list building, you’ll want to be a solution. When building your list, remember the reason your prospects are signing up with their email. Not everyone is on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram. You can’t reach everyone through social media, but you can reach your true tribe of followers when you send them a personalized email. They signed up because they needed a solution to a problem. If you offer that solution, you will be a gem to them.
I hope these tips are helpful to you. I love bringing you tips that motivate and inspire you to keep on doing you, mompreneur!
I had the wonderful opportunity of interviewing Carol Dunlop, a social media strategist and web designer, on today’s podcast episode.
Who is Carol?
Carol Dunlop is a published author, web designer, graphic specialist, entrepreneur, expert blogger and social media strategist who mastered the tools of visual communication and design long before computers and the Internet became viable resources for small businesses. Drawing on over 20 years of experience working with nearly every web technology and design software, including good ‘ole pen and paper, she is able to take a simple thumbnail sketch or jumbled client notes and develop it into the creative project her client envisions. While taking a break from the web industry madness, she became her own best client for web design, development and marketing. She returned with a renewed sense of purpose and now shares her insider’s knowledge with small business owners who want to make their website a successful and profitable part of their business. Carol can frequently be seen, heard and read about in one of her numerous media appearances be it TV, radio, magazines or newspapers.
Our podcast conversation
One of her favorite quotes is by J.K. Rowling.
It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might has well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.
How she got started in business:
She began her journey of entrepreneurship as a Mary Kay consultant.
Working with businesses with “champagne” ideas but with no budget, she decided to move on and feed her passions through a new venture which fed into CSI.
What exactly is a social media hub?
The social media hub is essentially your website. You need a centralized place to send prospects to your great content- which is home base.
What type of website is best for an entrepreneur (free, paid, static, or blog)?
Carol recommends self-hosted Wordpress. Free is not always the best because you can’t make money with your free WordPress blog. If you’re really serious, you should set up your company site using WordPress.
So be sure to figure out your goals and how you’re going to make money with your blog.
What are the best social media platforms for businesses to use?
Carol recommends that you have your business on Facebook. With over 1.2 billion people she believes you should not neglect this platform.
She also suggests that we use Twitter. She has met many of her prospects on this platform.
Thirdly, she highly suggests that as a business, you should be on Linkedin.
Pay attention to the culture of each, get used to certain platforms, then branch out into others.
Is email marketing dying out?
No, it’s not dead- and Carol says that if you build a loyal list it doesn’t matter if you have a smaller list. Engagement is key. Definitely email marketing is still alive and kicking!
What is the best kind of information to share?
You should share the information your audience wants to know about. Use surveys, ask them questions, and find out what they need.
As an information provider you become the source for your subscribers.
How do we find the time to post at our blogs?
You don’t find time- you make it. You’ll need time to research, write about, and post what your audience wants. Carve out time and use tools such as Hootesuite to help you schedule your social media postings.
Carol’s business challenges
One of her challenges is finding the time to work within her business while helping her clients plus balancing the time to keep up her own site content. It’s a juggling act but she is able to keep her vision going and help the visions of her clients’ businesses as well.
Favorite aspects of her business and what inspires her to move forward in business
She enjoys designing! She loves what she does, and she also loves getting paid! Helping her clients be their best also helps her to be the best she can be.
How she balances her business and her personal life
Diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011 while her husband also suffered a stroke the same year, she developed a resolve that she would not make any more excuses. She and her husband spend time together in the morning at the gym, she works, and when he returns from work they hang out together after dinner. Carol has developed a simple approach to life while living it to the fullest.
**Carol is offering a free social media marketing analysis
I had the pleasure of interviewing Jimmie Lanley and speaking with her about social media and her experiences as an entrepreneur and her appreciation of Google plus.
Who is Jimmie?
Jimmie Lanley co-owns a social media business, iHomeschool Network, that connects bloggers with each other in a supportive environment and connects bloggers to companies in mutually beneficial projects. She started 2014 with a radical decision for someone in the homeschool niche– abandoning her Facebook business page with over 10,000 likes. Instead, she and her network are investing where they see long-term results: weekly G+ Hangouts on Air, podcasting, Pinterest, and YouTube. You can connect with Jimmie on Google Plus or learn more about her professional services at jimmielanley.com.
What we talked about
We start off the show with an ice breaker. One of Jimmie’s favorite quotes is by Zig Ziglar.:
“There are no traffic jams on the extra mile.”
How Jimmie got started in online business. Jimmie is the mom of one teenage daughter. She got started in social media as a blogger which she believes has helped to consult with other businesses in social media.
Jimmie shares a few Google Plus nuts and bolts
Jimmie has over 44,000 followers on Google Plus! We talked about the different reasons Jimmie is attracted to this platform- including: privacy, idea-centeredness
What is Google authorship? Taking advantage of your introduction section on Google Plus+ is optimal.
We talked about some of the benefits of entrepreneurs using Google Plus.
The shelf life of Google Plus postings compared to other social media platforms.
What are Google Plus circles?
How can Google Plus help a business with online networking?
Jimmie also shares some tips on conducting and attending Google hangouts.
Jimmie shares about her business
One of Jimmie’s business challenges: work is seasonal for Jimmie’s business in a type of ‘feast or famine’ way. She also spoke about the discouraging aspect of having to convince companies of their need for her services. Through this challenge, she found that inbound marketing and content marketing has been much more helpful to her in bringing clients to her business who are already convinced that they need her services.
Jimmie’s favorite aspect of your business: she enjoys working one on one with clients. She also enjoys managing Google Plus pages for clients.
Jimmie’s inspiration that motivates and keeps her going with business is bottom line: making money. 🙂 She also has figured out a system to take care of herself and make time for her family and friends.
Words of encouragement/advice for solopreneurs: Get outside of your comfort zone, and just go for it!
Recently I wrote a post about overcoming business fears (especially for women and mompreneurs), and I felt that a great piggy back on this topic would be to explore some helpful tips on getting past the “I hate social media” mentality.
I don’t particularly love all aspects of social media, but I’ve found certain “hot spots” that have become my main hub and that I really enjoy using. At the moment, Google+ and Pinterest are two of my favorites.
When it comes to social media, here are just a few tips that may help you to navigate through all the preconceived notions that might turn you away from it.
Be willing to get out there.
If I had a dime for everytime I heard someone say: “But there’s too much to learn-and it’s a crazy madhouse out there in blogosphere world”, I’d be a rich lady.
The whole point is, if you don’t get out there and wade into the ocean of social media, you’ll never experience the fullness that being a business online can be. In other words, social media, despite its complexities, can be used to really give your business the boost it needs.
But you have to first be willing to first take off the skeptic lenses and try viewing social media from a different angle.
Getting out there doesn’t mean sink or swim. You don’t have to let social media overtake your life. Use tools like Buffer or Hootsuite to simplify tweeting and posting to your social media channels. Nobody expects you to be plugged in at your computer all day. You also don’t have to worry about your message getting drowned out with all the noise. When you’re first getting your feet with with social media your concern shouldn’t be how many others are already out there, but instead, to ease your way into the conversations and make room for your own message.
Getting out there means you reach far more potential customers with your message. The whole point of using social media for business is to make your message more visible and prominent to your ideal customer. You can’t make a message visible when you’re not involved and when you don’t have an account opened with Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn, or Twitter, for example. Which leads me to my next point…
Be everywhere, but focus on a few places.
When I help clients gain visibility on the web, I personally encourage them to set up accounts in various places, grabbing up your company name and making sure you have ownership of your brand in places like Twitter or Facebook.
Even if you don’t plan to use many of these social outlets, at least be there. Have a presence everywhere, but only focus on being at a few places.
What I mean by that is- go ahead and set up your Facebook, even if you don’t utilitize it much. But if you enjoy using Pinterest, spend most of your time there.
So- have an account with your brand name present all over the web, but focus your energy on a few hot spots that make your time worthwhile.
Importance of using social media in business
Now that we’ve talked about getting past the initial fears of jumping in…how about we focus on some of the importance of using social media in business.
Raising awareness for your brand. You’ll soon find your digital footprint all over the world wide web once you begin utilizing social media- and that is exactly what you want. Of course, being sure to monitor the awareness to keep in touch with what your customers are saying is equally as important. But having those initial videos, podcasts, blog posts, tweets, and pins- when done correctly- are going to help your business tremendously.
Starting conversations related to your brand. This ties in quite well to my previous point, but you can really drill down and focus on the idea of starting conversations. After all, that’s what social media is about anyway. When you find a relevant conversation, hop in and join the discussion. When you’re not aware of one currently, then start your own and invite others to join in your conversation. This ultimately sets you up for success as your conversations lend toward establishing your expertise and gives your company the extra boost of awareness. It lets others know you have something valuable to share and that you can help solve their problems.
Participate in networking. As in the previous two points, you can see that virtual networking plays a major role in social media. Converse with your potential clients and customers, but also converse with those in your industry. Once you’ve chosen the social media platforms you’re most comfortable with, it’s all about starting up and joining in on conversations, and beginning to network with grace!
Has this been helpful?
What are your thoughts on social media and how it affects your business? Do you enjoy using social media or would you rather do without?