In today's digital world, building credibility is hugely important for brands. It impacts online business. It influences media coverage. And ultimately it plays a role in whether organizations thrive or slowly fade out of publics' view.

Many people break credibility into two larger categories: Expertise & Trustworthiness. I'd actually suggest there are more dimensions to credibility. But today I thought I'd focus on one of the cornerstone concepts: expertise.

Building Digital Expertise

Expertise In Social Media

Expertise can be defined as not only having knowledge to share, but being a thought-leader or innovative thinker within the industry. I see many organizations and brands sharing a lot of articles or information on social media. And this is great! It's a strong, base level attempt to display expertise. The problem, however, is that many companies never get beyond simply sharing out content. Today's culture doesn't just need content. We all have that readily available through Google. Organizations set themselves apart by identifying and focusing on the right kinds of information.

When sharing content, organization's gain much more credibility from adding a thought or comment about an articles value in the industry before sending out that post or tweet. Instead of just a headline sent out from an article, provide the reason why anyone should care. It's surprising how a quick skim of a feed on almost any social networking site will reveal more organizations just posting articles with headlines versus positioning themselves as a thought leader by giving the "what's the point" shout-out at the beginning.

This topic usually raises the question of how much content should a brand post themselves, that is original and drives back to a hub such as a website, versus sharing articles from others. And that's a great question. There is a lot of differing opinions on this. I typically suggest a 60/40 or 70/30 ratio. But it's not a hard and fast rule. It really depends on the unique culture of the brand, the audiences you're engaging and your social strategy. The guideline I try to explain is that you want to be known not only as a group who creates content, but a group who is enough of an expert to recognize other great content and industry leaders too. Don't be afraid to "share."

I've had some conversations where brands are afraid of pointing people to other sources and "losing" their audience. My suggestion is to be the kind of information source that become the first place everyone goes to within the industry. Then, it won't matter if someone jumps to another site to read an article. They'll be coming back to you for your insight and to see what is happening in the industry at large.

Key Points

1) Expertise is not about having all the content--it's about positioning and identifying the right kind of content.

2) People expect experts to know other experts and to be able to identify great ideas. Sharing the articles, posts and content from those within your industry should not be viewed as competition with your own content, but rather viewed as a way to highlight your expertise as a thought leader.

3) Do a quick review of your own social sites. When you share content do you 1) give a takeaway or "why does this matter" note with it? Rather than simply hitting "share" and letting the social buttons create your post, consider adding your two cents each time. 2) See how often you identify others who are also thought leaders within your social feeds. Be an expert by not only creating stellar content that is on the forefront of your industry, but also by being the person who knows everything else people are doing in your area of expertise.

AuthorCarolyn Kim