Don’t Be an Industry Knock Off: 5 Ways to Sell Yourself as an Expert

Anyone can call themselves an expert on the Web these days, and it seems as though a lot more people are doing it.

You know something’s up when John Smith’s Twitter profile description tells you that he’s a “world class social media expert,” but he’s following 2,001 people and only has 14 people following him back. World class expert indeed!

It’s easy enough to tell people that you’re an expert in something. But can you PROVE it?

Image via flickr by: Mai le

1. ON YOUR WEBSITE: Start collecting testimonials.

Nobody really cares that you can say you served X amount of happy customers in the past X amount of years. We usually want to see real proof that you actually did it.

When I see a good testimonial on a website from a real customer or client, my trust in that person or business automatically goes up.

Just think about it. Do you feel more inclined to buy a product after reading a bunch of five-star reviews about it on Amazon? Of course you do!

By simply asking for a short paragraph from past clients or customers regarding their experience doing business with you, you can basically get their words to sell your expertise for you.

2. ON SOCIAL SITES (OR ANYWHERE): Offer something of value. And do it for free.

We’ve all heard the glorified “give something away for free” marketing rule before. And that’s probably because it works.

Have you ever gone grocery shopping, gotten distracted by the free sample lady with the tower of bite-sized brownies and then ended up at the cash register with eight boxes of brownies?

Yes? No? Well, I have.

People are often reluctant to dive right into the deep end with you, so it may take some coaxing before you’re BFFs with your customers. Offering something as simple as a free sample, a free estimate, a free consultation, or a free white paper might be enough to convince people that you really do know what you’re doing.

Word spreads fast on sites like Facebook and Twitter. There’s actually a nifty little tool out there called Pay with a Tweet that gets people to tweet or “like” something of yours so they can get to the freebie on the other side. Neat, right?

If people like what they get from your freebie, you have a good chance of gaining their trust.

3. ON GOOGLE: Search for yourself.

Image via Flickr by: MoneyBlogNewz

You can promise your readers and customers that your service is made of awesome sauce, but if related search terms for your name or brand turn up raging reviews of disappointment from unhappy people, then you’re probably going to have a hard time explaining yourself and maintaining a good reputation.

There are people who have had their entire careers ruined by thinking that their “private” Internet activity would never be discovered by people who matter. What an unpleasant surprise.

Try to get good reviews, articles, guest posts, or whatever else ranking on Google for your related search terms. When people go hunting for more information about your business, those Google rankings could really make it or break it for you.

4. ON QUORA: Get in on the topics and show them what you’re made of.

Image via Flickr by: louisvolant

Most everyone is aware of Q&A sites like Yahoo Answers, Answers.com and LinkedIn Groups. But for those reaching out to an audience made up of media savvy professionals, Quora is the place to be.

One of the coolest things about Quora is that you can set up different bio descriptions for each topic that you follow. So, if you’re an expert in more than one topic, this feature can come in handy.

Quora also displays the number of people viewing a particular question. And more specifically, it shows the actual users following each question. This allows you the opportunity to connect further within the community.

Quora presents the perfect opportunity to showcase your knowledge. However, members tend to provide extremely in-depth and detailed answers. So, make sure you bring your A-Game if you expect to garner the necessary votes to reach the top of the topic page.

5. ON YOUTUBE: Put yourself on video, or create informative tutorials.

Image via flickr by: BigTallGuy

You can praise the power of blogging and article writing for all its worth, but you have to admit that nothing quite compares to a great video.

Over the past couple of days, I’ve been seeing non-stop buzz about a local band from my neck of the woods that got over 8 million views on YouTube after covering an Australian singer’s song. And this local band only uploaded their video on January 5th.

So, maybe you won’t be getting 8 million views in five days on YouTube, but you can definitely get noticed for your expertise within the YouTube community.

Adding appropriate tags to your videos can help you get discovered by people who are searching for specific keywords, and creating video responses to other videos that are similar to your topics of expertise can also get you great exposure.

So, you’re an expert at something. How do YOU prove it?

Testimonials, juicy freebies, Google proof, Quora discussions, and informative videos are all my personal favorites for proving expertise. Anything you’d like to add? Sound off in the comments!

About the author

Elise Moreau