Five Ways to Build Credibility in Your Market Place.
In business as in war, it is our reputation that makes us formidable. However, a reputation must be build upon a foundation, I propose that at the root of our reputation is our credibility with a particular group or within a specified space. I would like to suggest five ways we can build or increase our credibility in the market space that we operate. I will dub these the five C’s of Credibility. They are:
C1 – Credibility through Community
“If I wanted to be known in a particular community, the first thing I would do is move there.” ~Devrhoid Davis. We want to build up social and professional credit with those people we are going to be working with. The greater majority of these people hang out in particular spots. They are members of certain different local and international organizations. They read certain magazines, they and are regular visitors to different professional websites. These are their communities. It is our business to find out what the different communities are and then to get involved. For instance, if I wish to increase my credibility as a Programmer, I would frequent ICT Conferences. I would attend other conferences on Developing Technologies, Frameworks and Programming Languages.
I would be a frequent visitor to websites such as codeacademy.com and w3schools.com. I would subscribe to CodingForEntrepreneurs, W3 Consortium among others. I would join my local Programming Community. I would also join international organizations such as the Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) and the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). I would read IEEE potentials and ACM Reports. I would do this knowing that my intention is to build rapport with the group and increase my network. We have an advantage by simply being in the community if only for the fact that people will recognise us as members.
C2 – Credibility through Connection
A subsequent strategy that follows on from our induction into the community is to connect with the influencers. I am a huge LinkedIn advocate. One of the main reasons I love this platform is the ease with which it allows me to access Influencers. It even tells me who the Influencers are. Almost anybody who has credibility in a field is on LinkedIn and is available to us with the click of a button. There are other ways to connect with Influencers, we can visit their websites, read their books or follow them on social media. We can also attend conferences or seminars where they will be giving talks. I will offer some more practical tips on connecting in the section on Credibility through Communication.
C3 – Credibility through Creation
Ever heard the saying “Your work will speak for you” well, there is quite a bit of truth to that. One sure way to increase our credibility is to build a portfolio of content related to the market in which we operate. Our portfolio might include pictures, articles, videos and projects focused on the different segments of the market. It may also include summaries or reviews of material created by other people. Ideally, these may be materials created by leaders in the market, people who already have credibility and authority in the market. While our portfolios contain works from well established people, we must produce ORIGINAL content to stake our claim.
In keeping with the Programmer example from earlier; we might write little projects for ourselves and post them on our website or on Git/BitBucket. We can complete projects from different text books and take part in coding competitions. We can write reviews of text books, or we might write our own text book. I believe this is one of the advantages of Programmers, if we can code something, we can probably write a book on how to do it and what to look out for. We can also make videos showing people how to solve different problems. Again, for Programmers, this is pretty easy, we can simply record our screen as we code. Imagine how much credibility points we score with a potential Employer when we can reference a blog post we created on how to solve a complex problem. Imagine how much our credibility rises when we reference a video we created on how to solve a common programming problem.
C4 – Credibility through Communication
There are leaders in every market. We are either familiar with them or with their work. Think however how few of us actually engage with them. A practical example to demonstrate this can be seen in YouTube videos. Below I inserted a picture with the world’s most successful investor, Mr. Warren Buffet, in an interview on CNN Money. Compare the number of views to the number of interactions in the form of Thumbs Up and Thumbs Down. Let’s take it a bit further and compare the amount of views to the amount of comments on the video. Being conservative, I had assumed that the ratios would look something like 1,000,000 views to 100,000 thumb reactions, to 10,000 comments. As you will see, the ratios are actually much lower than that. This is not an isolated case.
This is an opportunity for us, by simply leaving a comment on a video we are setting ourselves apart from the populous. Also, our YouTube comments turn up in Google searches, so be sure to be constructive and professional. Communicating does not have to mean posting a comment, though I highly recommend that. It could be as simple as tweeting an article or sharing it on our LinkedIn profile. It could be sending a connecting thought or development in the industry to the leader you want to connect with. Books and articles written by industry leaders will sometimes bear personal emails or websites that they can be reached. I invite you to take that opportunity to communicate with the leaders you are interested in.
C5 – Credibility through Contribution
I spoke earlier about how we can build our credibility through creativity. Some of those points bear relevance here so brace for a bit of repetition. One of the ways we can build credibility within our target market is by contributing value and thoughts. This may take various forms, it could be that we make vlogs, write articles, make comments and get involved in volunteer-ism. We can also contribute by posting in forums and contributing to open source projects. It can also benefit us if we add our own personal project to the community. Our videos and comments form part of our contribution and add to our credibility. We may also consider sharing our portfolio to the community.
Everything rises and falls on reputation. It is our intention to be renowned in our field. We want for our competence and authority within our market place to be unquestionable. It is for this reason that we make building credibility in the market a priority. This article suggest five strategies we can employ to achieve that goal.
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