We have talked a lot about emotions, and the impact emotions have on our engagement with people online, especially through social media platforms. Today, with many people still practicing shelter-in-place behaviors and working from home, socializing from home, and enrolling their children in distance learning programs, our primary way of connecting with people is through digital platforms. And as vital as these social connections are, as leaders, coaches, and entrepreneurs, we must assess our own communication behaviors to ensure we are acting and communicating in a way that showcases our best selves. Today, we focus on credibility.
What Is Credibility?
Credibility is the quality of being trusted and believed. As business owners, speakers, leaders, and entrepreneurs, we want to be credible. We want people to trust us. More importantly, we want people to trust what we share, what we believe in, and what we recommend. In the digital sales world, this sense of trustworthiness must extend beyond the products and services we sell.
Credibility Stems From Our Digital Character
Our character as speakers is being honorable, honest, and have integrity. It means that we are reliable and responsible. In our age of digital connection, our online character designs our credibility. What does this really mean?
It means that what we post, what we share, how we comment, and what pictures we choose to highlight will impact how trustworthy we seem. And frankly, it is a slippery slope. The adage of selling is that people will buy from you if they perceive you to be like them, they like you, and they trust you. If people see you promoting ideologies, beliefs, or half-truths online, they may stop believing in you, your advice, and your products.
Do Your Research
When my clients ask me what the solution to this is, I answer simply, “Do your research before you engage.” There is a ton of misleading information shared on social media. And because we connect with so much of it so intimately, we feel like it is important we share it, perhaps to be part of a solution. However, when we share false information, a half-truth, misleading, misguided, or blatantly wrong information, we are not only breaking our trust with our followers and potential customers but also perpetuating a problem.
Before your share, comment, or tag a post, make sure you do your research to ensure it is factual. And, more importantly, that it is worth sharing. It is food for thought to recognize that something might be true sometimes, but it also might cost us, clients. Not all battles are worth fighting online.
Tips for Research
A follow-up question I get is, “well, how do I know what is true?” And to be accurate, today, taking the time to really understand what is “true” is a feat. Here are my recommendations:
- Use a simple fact-checking tool
- There are tools, such as Snopes, that will give you a simple “true or false” report. Another good one is Find the Source and Check Other Sources
- Find the source
- Follow links that bring you to the original story OR use a search engine to find information about where the story originated. Then you can determine whether you want to trust the source or not.
- Verify the source
- Find out if the source is reliable:
- Does the source exist? About Us sections and social media profiles are easy to fake – so, dig in and see what other people have to say about the source.
- Are they who they say they are? It is simple to pretend to be someone you are not online. So, dig in to see if what is said is being said by them.
- Is the source trustworthy? Find out if they have a process for learning if something is accurate information or not. There should be some form of record-keeping. Also, look to see if they are experts or authorities on the topic. An authority in one field does not make someone an authority in all areas.
- Find out if the source is reliable:
- Cross-check with other sources
- Make sure you take the time to see if other places are reporting the same thing that you are finding AND that these spaces are trustworthy.
Good Information Can Be Hard to Consume
The simple summary is that it is difficult to find good information to consume through social media. It is a lot of work to find information that you can confidently support, knowing it is credible, and it will not negatively impact your character. However, if you are choosing to perpetuate information online, take the time to ensure what you are sharing is reliable information that can be proven and lacks bias that makes us look less credible.
Focus on Being A Producer of Information
This all circles back to the idea that as leaders, coaches, and entrepreneurs, we need to be good producers of information. Stay in your lane. Focus on what you are really good at. Ensure that you are sharing your in-depth knowledge and insight on your area of expertise. This does not mean that you cannot be passionate or informed about other topics. It does suggest you take the time to promote the information you produce and steer clear of information that you are not fully confident.
The rule of thumb, we must act as a credible funnels of information. We must not promote information that we want to believe. But, we highlight information that supports our character and our credibility.
Work With the Wordwell Group
If you are unsure about your online presence, or if you are struggling to really understand what information you should be sharing online to elevate your brand and your presence, it is time to schedule an appointment with the Wordwell Group. We can help you refine your message, raise your presence and, ensure your brand is supported with your strong character and credibility. Schedule your appointment by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org or by scheduling online here.