Before the pandemic even hit, we were already en route to a world where almost everything can be done online. At the rate that science and technology are developing, it is quite inevitable. The pandemic only sped up what most people were already expecting.
As the world has abruptly transitioned to the digital realm, how can businesses and brands ensure their credibility where physical presence and contact are quite limited?
Why Credibility Matters Online
Credibility is one of the things you cannot put a price on. It is one of the traits that sets a brand apart from the rest of the competition and makes it attractive to people, whether they are part of the target market or not. In the brick-and-mortar world, one of the things that will add credibility to a brand is high visibility. This means optimal exposure in events and trade shows and enlarging one’s network. It also means taking advantage of the media mileage that advertising offers.
However, things are slightly different in the digital realm. One must learn to establish online credibility, especially since almost everyone was forced to go online when the pandemic started.
Let’s say your company is a distributor of COVID test kits. How can you convince your target market that you have the most accurate COVID test kits available if they can only see your product online and have no way of telling whether you’re a legitimate distributor or not?
Unlike in the physical world, it is a lot harder to build a brand’s online credibility behind the keyboards. With all the online scams going on today — which got worse because of the massive pandemic-induced migration to the digital realm — brand credibility online will help any business survive COVID.
5 Ways to Build and Establish Online Brand Credibility
With the proliferation of online scamming, how can a business set itself apart and project a clean image with integrity and credibility?
1. Provide relevant content that your audience will find valuable
Building credibility online means you have to establish a reputation as a go-to resource or a subject matter expert. This does not, however, mean that you need to know more than everyone else. It just means that you have the ability to educate those around you about things that pertain to your products, business, and industry.
This can be done by consistently producing quality online content relevant to your target market’s needs. The content isn’t necessarily about your product, but you can show people how your business can help them with their needs and concerns.
2. Build trust through transparency
One of the main challenges of operating in an online environment is how to show your sincerity in your desire to improve people’s lives through your business. Keep in mind that when you go online, you are more prone to wider criticism and feedback about certain issues regarding your brand. You should respond to these with both humility and open-mindedness. People nowadays tend to trust businesses more willing to engage them and address whatever issue is brought to light.
3. Establish easy access for customers and greater connection with them
Speaking of engaging with your audience, this is another benefit of establishing a strong online presence. Physical locations, as effective as they are, are minimal when it comes to audience reach. In most cases, their main sphere of influence remains within a specific geographical radius.
Going online gives brands the ability to reach out to a wider audience. An SME based in Wisconsin can now conduct business with folks from different time zones. People from all over the world now have direct access to your business and products when you decide to go online.
4. Keep things fun and engaging
Who says you can’t mix business with pleasure? There are plenty of great opportunities that allow businesses to connect with their audience and target market in a lighthearted and amusing manner.
Several businesses publish both meaningful and humorous content on different social media platforms to constantly engage people. It won’t hurt your brand if you skip on the product placements and go with entertaining content from time to time. In fact, it might even boost your online presence if you go down that route.
Unleash your creativity. There are lots of great opportunities here.
5. Express social responsibility and concern
Lastly, if you want to prove to your audience that you are trustworthy, show them that you are genuinely concerned about what goes on around you. This lets them see that you’re not just in it for the money. It tells them that you sincerely want to make a difference and help improve the living conditions of the people in your community.
Brands with a strong reputation for being socially responsible are more attractive to people because they know that they’re not just about making a profit but also about giving back to the community.
Building brand credibility establishes you as a trustworthy business and signifies that you are a subject matter expert in your line of business. You may not necessarily know everything, but you can help educate your target market about the many things related to your business and industry. In the end, you can give what people are looking for in a brand — value and relevance.