One of the challenges that many lawyers, accountants and consultants face is not just producing content, but understanding why producing, sharing and curating content is so important now for business development. Whether you understand it or not, it’s a fact that the content you share and how you show up online is key to building trust on social media. Here is why having an online presence is crucial for business development and how to build trust on social media to facilitate it.
You have to have an online presence
Buyers’ behaviours have changed over the years and the current situation with the Coronavirus is only going to push them more in this direction. What we mean by this is that the buying trend has been moving more towards online networking for a while now.
If you need a salient reminder of how much our buying behaviours have changed just pick up a recent copy of the Yellow Pages. It’s a shadow of the size that it once was. According to the company, more than 80 million people visit the website or use their app each month which attributes to the fact that they have more revenue coming from digital than from print.
As social media has given everyone unprecedented access to information, this has resulted in buyers going online to filter out unsuitable clients and contact potential clients for their services (albeit, later on in the buying process). According to the Hinge Research Institute, which surveyed over 1000 buyers of professional services, they found that buyers will use 3.2 methods when checking out potential suppliers:
- 81% will look at your website
- 63% will Google you
- 62% will ask friends and colleagues
- 60% will look you up on social media (predominantly LinkedIn)
- 56% will talk with a reference you have provided.
The May 2020 McKinsey Decision Makers’ Survey found that for the 1st time ever B2B companies researching for suppliers were trusting digital channels more than a referral or recommendation.
So what does this mean for professionals such as lawyers, accountants, and consultants? It means that 1) you need to have a strong online presence to be in the mix, and 2) to not be filtered out of the mix, you need to be building trust on social media by producing and sharing content that your potential clients are seeking out online.
In short, having a strong online reputation has never been so important for business development so you need to start investing just as much in this as you do your word-of-mouth reputation. (Find out How to create content which will continuously bring you in new business)
This extract from a video within the Progress To Partner membership site will show you how to use LinkedIn to get noticed.
What do potential buyers want to know?
Having an online presence doesn’t mean just being there online and having a LinkedIn profile or sending a few tweets out on Twitter. Building trust on social media takes time and to do it right, you need to know what your potential buyers need to know.
What’s difficult, especially with lawyers, accountants, and consultants, is that a lot of people don’t actually know that they need your services. If you imagine that your potential client base is an iceberg and the majority of potential clients (who don’t know they need you) are hidden underneath the water, this is the challenge that you’re facing. And that’s why building an online presence is so important. You need to be getting your message out into your potential client base BEFORE they may need your services. This means that you need to be getting out there, engaging with potential clients, and producing and/or sharing content that answers yes to the 3 fundamental questions that all buyers are asking:
- Can they help me?
- Can I trust them?
- Are they within budget?
Anyone can talk about their services and their prices, this is just a checklist for buyers who are scouting potential clients. This means that it is the “can I trust them?” that sets you apart from the rest. This is the missing piece in many online networker’s content, a piece that slots in when you produce and share valuable content consistently. This is what builds trust on social media.
The first two modules of The Go-To Expert course, within the Progress To Partner membership site, will take you through a process to identify the exact buying journey your ideal client goes through. And, therefore, what to share on social media to effortless attract them to you.
How to build trust via your content
- Be the person first and professional second: Too many people leave their personalities at the door when they go on social media. Remember to talk to people and take an interest in them and what they are doing.
- Give opportunities for people to talk to you: If all you do is broadcast content – whether you have written it or not – it makes it very difficult for people to chat with you. Always aim to thank people for endorsements and retweets.
- Produce content relevant to prospects who may not know yet that they need your services, but have a challenge or problem they need to solve. Building trust before someone contacts you is the best way of actually getting them to contact you. Although, don’t forget to occasionally mention what you actually do professionally! A great way to start writing about what your clients want is to monitor the response that you get to your comments and shares. Are there particular subjects and points of view that seem to resonate with your network? Are there comments that you have shared which you feel you could expand on in a post?
- Regularly show up and share: Consistency in the on-line world builds trust. Therefore, diarise regular tasks to go onto social media and produce your blog. A great way to show up is to use a content plan. Our Guide To Content Planning (email required) will take you through in a step-by-step process to put together a content plan.
- Answer the promise of your headline: There is nothing worse than clicking through to a blog to realise that there was no substance in the article. This is probably one of the most damaging things you can do to destroy trust with your network and readership.
- Be active and engage on LinkedIn: being active and engaging with professionals for at least 5 minutes can easily boost the visibility of your profile. Make sure to constructively engage with professionals and other business owners or provide insightful comments on existing posts daily and try to post at least once a week.
Start building trust on social media (and winning leads)
Being there on social media is not enough to build up a trustworthy online footprint; you need to be talking with people and sharing trust-building content regularly. The more you share and comment on content, the more you establish your expertise and thought-leadership credentials.
As we highlighted in this article, buyer’s behaviours have changed and are continuing to do so, so you need to start appearing in front of them in a way that adds value for them. Sharing valuable and relevant content with your network is one of the most accessible ways of doing this, so start doing that now. Use these 6 ways to start building trust on social media so that you can grow an online presence that will win you leads.