Small and medium businesses often struggle when it comes to building their business and brand authority. The problem stems from the fact that there small businesses are usually the proverbial ‘small fish in a big pond’ – the larger, more established businesses, or the ‘big fish’ in other words, are the more authoritative ones.
This is precisely why small businesses struggle when it comes to standing-out in their niche, and hence fail to capture the market share. Because the truth is that there’s a lot of competition, and certain niches are extremely competitive, which makes it even tougher to build authority.
The fact is that all businesses start from somewhere, and usually start small. What usually follows, as far as building authority goes, by working your way up and slowly building your brand’s authority one step at a time, with the ultimate aim to position yourself as an authority brand.
Here are 5 solid tactics that should allow you to get an edge as far as becoming an authority brand in your niche goes:
1. Show your quality instead of just saying it.
Your business, your products and your services should speak for themselves. When a business starts off, it should always focus on delivering the best quality and the best value-for-money. This includes a wide array of things, such as treating your customers right and building trust, giving them the best quality in terms of the product, as well as the quality of the service, making it easy for your products and services to be available, listening and responding to customer feedback, and probably much more. The truth is that if your business practices are good, your brand will speak for itself. This will help establish your brand as an authority fir obvious reasons. First impressions are everything, and if you nail your first impression, it will automatically make things a whole lot easier for you.
2. Harness the power of social media.
Social mediums are excellent when it comes to building authority – you can get your message out to a large group of people through a single update on Facebook, for example. Start building your brand’s name and authority through social media. Leverage the power of social mediums such as Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn, among others, to communicate with your customers and clients, as well as build trust. Communicating effectively with your target audience is crucial, and what better way to do it than through social media. Start building pages for your brand on each social medium, and work on building a following on these pages. Make it a point to post updates on your pages on a regular basis, and respond to comments and feedback as well – be an active participant and encourage interaction. The truth is that social networking websites are powerful mediums, and if you’re not engaging your audience through these mediums, you’re missing out. Not only is starting a page for your brand on Facebook free, it also opens your brand up to potentially billions of people out there!
3. Build authority through content marketing.
One of the most effective ways that you can build your brand’s authority is through content curation or content marketing – providing your target audience with great content that is valuable to them. The key word here is ‘value’ – you need to deliver value in terms of the content you create. You need to create content that your existing and potential clients actually want to consume, content that will be of some value and usefulness to them. And when you start doing this on a regular and consistent basis, not only does it create a positive perception but it helps building authority as well. Pepsi Pulse and Intel IQ are a good examples here, both curating news from the industry with original content.
4. Have a Unique Selling Point.
Stand out from the crowd, if you want to fast-track the process of establishing your authority. Do something that the others aren’t. Offer something that no one else is offering, give something no one else does, do something that sets you apart. It could be anything – a product, a value-added service, a large selection, dedicated and round-the-clock customer support, cheap prices, free or discounted delivery, excellent value-for-money, discounts and rebates, the facility to order online, or something else. Associate something valuable and special with your brand, something that differentiates you from the rest of the pack, and is valuable to your target market as well in such a way that it makes them feel special. Think about how you can be different in your niche or industry by offering a USP. Give your potential and existing customers to come to you. This will allow you to gradually capture the market share and as you do that, you improve your authority as well.
5. Be consistent.
Consistency is key when it comes to building authority – have a look at any single authority brand in your niche (or even outside your niche), and assess why they’re there, and why they’re at the top. It’s because they delivered quality and value on a consistent basis. They became proven winners in their field and continued to deliver for a long amount of time which put them on top. Good sportsmen, for instance, are ‘good’ because they are consistent, and were at the top of their game for many years. Be consistent with delivering quality, AND at the same time, be consistent in terms of who you are, what your brand is and what it stands for. Everything that your brand does – every Facebook update, blog-post, email, phone call – is it’s direct representative, and contributes to your brand positioning itself as an authority.