Websites, online forums and social media are changing how people identify the individuals they consider to be experts in their field. In a time when anyone can blog, Tweet or post on any topic they want, it’s possible for just about anyone to emerge as the supposed ‘expert’ on just about anything — at least that is the perception for many.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines an expert as someone “having, involving, or displaying special skill or knowledge derived from training or experience.” Nowhere in this definition does it say that blogging, Tweeting or posting makes you the expert. But you might not be able to tell this based on what you read in certain forums.
Cassie Boom laments in an article in PR Daily: “The Internet is killing the ‘expert.’ Anyone with an Internet connection can declare themselves an expert.”
So when you are the real expert — someone who is trained and experienced in your chosen field — how do you overcome this? You have to provide more than just information:
- Encourage your customers to show you information they find on websites and social media sites. You can dissect the information with them, which will demonstrate how you are the true expert. Embrace your customer and his knowledge. Whether good or bad, you create more of a relationship to discuss a topic rather than dismiss it.
- Emphasize your service, e.g. having a live person who can talk about information and why it’s good or bad.
- Offer personal attention. Respond individually to customer inquiries over the phone, or in your blog comments section. Devoting time to individual customers shows that you are engaged and up-to-date with new developments and trends in the industry.
- Customize ideas to fit their needs instead of taking the cookie-cutter Internet approach. Don’t assume that your online audience is homogenous. Customize your ideas to fit the needs of different customer segments. More targeted advice shows that you have a specific group’s interests in mind.
Learn more about how to retain and gain customers through Interline Creative Group’s “Staying in Front of Your Customers” free webinar series. Visit www.interlinegroup.com/events for a schedule and to reserve your space.