There are so many people out there in the world, and even millions upon millions of websites out there. Each person is knowledgeable in their own field. Whether it be novice or an expert, when you begin a site, you should not be telling people you are an expert in your field.
In fact, I discourage it even as you gain followers, traffic, and overall, influence.
Why should you not say that you are an expert?
- Someone else might come along and know more than you. It might a possible battle of egos in the making. Unfortunately, it does happen and you really have to be diplomatic and open minded in handling such an encounter.
- You readers might be turned off from even trying to read your content as soon as they see “expert” or “guru.” You come off as cocky and people really connect better with those who are humble.
Let your followers call you an expert or a guru. They are the ones that are nearly your makers or breakers when you build your site and overall brand online. If you are telling people that you are an expert, they might take your word for it, but when you have so many more saying it rather than you, then they believe it for real.
So, for those who are new to blogging and social media practices, here are some tips to build that relationship with your followers as well as encourage them to leave recommendations.
- Provide a way in your contact form to allow your guest to submit a testimonial about their experience on your site, or about your products or services.
- If you have readers who follow you on LinkedIn, send them a recommendation request in regards to your site or services.
- Reserve a section in your site for testimonials, whether you use a plugin, or manually enter each testimonial. Allow a place to link their site back as a way of saying thank you for leaving a testimonial.
- If someone recommends you on other social network sites, link to those places and bring the comment back to your testimonial page.
- If you have readers who prefer to remain anonymous, put a survey together and allow them to submit it to you knowing it will not be publicly shared.
As a last thought, never pay for testimonials or recommendations and NEVER beg. They normally seem obvious and it cheapens the experience for your readers, even if you are the only one that knows you paid for a testimonial. Even if it is for $5. It is not worth it, and you should be building your authority and brand honestly.
And begging, you do not want to be desperate. If you are doing a good job, in time people will speak. You can definitely ask for feedback, but never beg.
How do you let someone know they are an expert? What other sites are great for building authority and gaining recommendations from your followers. What are your thoughts on this?
Mandy Swift says
hi Nile, that is a great a great idea – ‘provide a way in your contact form to allow your guest to submit a testimonial’. I’d never thought of that!
And I sooo agree, people who call themselves ‘guru’s’ are my biggest turn-off!
Great post 🙂
Definitely. I was thinking about that when I was putting together a form and since I am integrating MailChimp subscribe into my contact forms (I use gravity forms), I will be making sure to add that field, AND even have a page for testimonials in my upcoming unveil of my portfolio.
I got tired of it because those who were calling themselves gurus, especially in blogging had 1 or 2 years experience. I have been blogging for about a decade now. My only advice to some of them was to take away that title and approach people with what experience they have and make sure to have proof that their methods actually work.
Amie Marse says
Or the recent epidemic of “social media gurus” with 200 followers? lol Or even those with thousands upon thousands of spam followers. Oi vey
This is a great post – it’s tough but you have to make a point to ask for referrals. One thing my company uses is a client feedback form. When an order is filled, we ask the client’s feedback on a variety of items. Then we leave a space for referrals – we find it is a little less pressure since it is coupled with other feedback. You don’t want to be in the position where the client feels forced to say something nice.
You do have to ask. A lot of people are afraid of asking for a recommendation, even for their blog. Did you know you could recommend and rate a person’s site on Alexa?
Trevor Barrett says
Oh Dear!!! I seem to have broken your rule Niles.
Never mind, I just wish I had read this article before I set up my site. Anyway, I would certainly not call myself a “guru”.
It happens. However, it is no worries… your website is NOT set in stone. 🙂
nice post , but can u let me inform what are quality post on blogs ?
You are right, I have noticed many social media experts and gurus out there with less followers than I have. I ask the same question, how come they do not have hundreds if not thousands of followers? I am a novice in this field and am eager to learn and contract someone who really know what they are doing. Thanks so much for your valuable information and tips.
You’d be surprised. A lot of people use automated systems for their followers, which is not organic following. I am not exactly putting automated following systems down, but the abuse of them… I would bag on in a heartbeat.
Follower counts are not exactly important. I covered that in an article almost 2 years ago. It is your true reach that counts – the amount of people you are really connecting, engaging with, and influencing.
marquita herald says
Really interesting post. I cringe every time I read an article with tips on how to “quickly” become an expert, or worse yet, how to fake it till they make it. Truthfully I’m not comfortable with either term – expert or guru. By the way, I also like the tips about including the opportunity to submit a testimonial – will definitely follow up on that one. Thanks!
Slow and steady are the definite way to do things. It allows for you to develop consistency that your followers will see, be influenced to share with others, and for them to practice. Like you, I do avoid the get success quickly with a site, or anything in life.
Paul Reimers says
It’s interesting that there are really two sides to branding, what someone calls themselves and the reputation/ following that comes as the result of what they do.
It’s true, someone can say that they are “The blank of blank” but without a following to support it, there will be little impact to that statement.
That has quickly become one of my pet peeves over the last year or so. Seeing all the “Social Media Expert’s” or “SEO Guru’s” online selling their services. As someone who is no stranger to both there are times when I’d like to hire someone more knowledgeable than myself to drive my site further than I can take it myself.
However after interviewing several of these SEO experts I’ve quickly realized that there are much fewer than you’d think online! 🙂
A lot of SEO experts have varying opinions and experiences. The biggest thing I find is their portfolio. When I am approached by people who say they can improve my SEO and they have no site above a PR5, I say work harder. It takes a lot of good content… well written content, and good design practices.
Joyce Edwards says
You point is well made about the attraction to become a “Guru”. I think that this has become so over played by some marketers that I stopped even looking a posts when people come off as an expert. So much better to get other’s opinion on whether or not this person is someone to follow then when people start to blow their own horns. I love your idea on testimonials. It is a great way to get so social proof and the reciprication factor is priceless
Great article! Wow are we swamped by “experts” online? In fact so much so I found coming online very daunting and yet I had a 15 year professional career in health and 10 years in entrepreneurship before that. However, I was a novice online and it took a long time to build my social media/blogging knowledge online to work out how to position myself as a health professional. I am just about there and in the process have gained a lot of social media skills, more than most so-called “experts”. Don’t you love it when you check out their sites and they have poor if any rankings – are you kidding me? I can see you know what you are doing – BRAVO!
It is hard and takes time. A lot of people forget that quick results should not be the game, it should be a sturdy foundation. I built mine over the last decade and this is the 5th domain change/ site name change. I even split my WordPress articles from here for 2 years only to bring them back.
Your knowledge will always prove true in the end. So keep working Clare… you are doing it and I know you will come out on with great authority in your niche that you become the ‘goto’ person.
Carla McNeil, Social Media Manager says
“If someone recommends you on other social network sites, link to those places and bring the comment back to your testimonial page.”
Excellent advice! I also strongly recommend that you turn your favorites on Twitter into your “tweetamonial” page.
Definitely. It might be a challenge for some who have been on …. say Twitter since nearly its beginning to find those, but it is do-able. 😀
Chloe Hodder - Life Alignment Coach says
I absolutely agree, leadership can not be begged for, borrowed or stolen! It can only be stepped into. I’ve written on this subject before, it’s a crucial one. So many people go out there yelling from the roof tops of their expertise, leadership etc. When you provide true value, others will proclaim for you.
Amazing blog Niles! I’m actually reading lots of articles on the internet with some advices telling how to be a “guru” in this world. Thanks for sharing! x
Tom Burt says
Totally agree. On the internet it is how we are PERCEIVED. Put up some good content, pictures, videos and people will THINK you are an expert even if you’re not. lol It works. People are funny….
Coach James | Mastermind to Personal Power says
I, too, agree.
Calling yourself a Guru sounds so hokie anyways…
Becoming an expert means that you have built up the credibility based on WHO you are not, who you say you are.
I’ve always like this example:
If you call yourself a leader, but no one is following, then your doing nothing but taking a walk.
You can’t pay for status, it must be earned.
Katie Woodard says
I agree with this. I think it is a good idea to stay humble at all times. People will respect your opinion a lot more than if you are a cocky “expert”
Thank you for sharing such wonderful informati0on with us.I am agreed that being cool to other make easy to understand you .
Jefferey T. Sooey says
Very well said Nile. Do your job and let other people decide how expert you are. Always make a way for open communication between you and your follower. Open your eyes to new ideas or recommendations from other people .
I feel really uncomfortable when clients or associates refer to me as a guru or expert… I’m not! To them I seem like it because I know a little more about online marketing than them, but compared to quite a big community, I’m definitely not an expert! The problem is, if we start saying ‘Oh no, I’m no expert’ people think we are just being modest as think we are even more of an expert!
A word that I am happy to use at the moment is specialist… that feels okay to me!
i agree too !
Matt Kinsella says
Some very good advice, there is always someone who knows more than you who will come along and embarrass you if you proclaim to be an expert.
Thanks for the article. I am far from an expert and would never say such. It would be great if others thaught I where but so far Im not on that list lol
With my site and new to blogging I’m still very much in the learning stage. I found your article helpfull and agree with it.
Gabriel Gutierrez says
Excellent advice and I absolutely agree thanks for the advice Nile..We should let other people decide who is the expert since they are the one who follow us.For us also not to look like bias with ourselves..
In all humility, we are all experts aren’t we? But sometimes you simply have to tell the undecided visitor that you are an authority (of course only if you can back that up with credentials).
Neil | Butterfield says
Brilliant post. The best way to become an expert is to let other people tell you that you are an expert. This takes time, dedication and patience. When you start getting traffic and comments on your blog, you are on your way to becoming an expert.
Donna Merrill says
Hey Nile, this is a blog after my own heart. After spending all the time we do constantly learning the online world, and applying it, also sharing it with others does make us an expert!
So many people get caught up in the “old ways” of that term. They think being an expert requires some letters after your name acquired from an institution. Fooey!
We, as marketers are on a constant learning curve, not to mention all the paid learning we have undergone. For someone that doesn’t know the information we each have acquired, we are an expert in their eyes because of all the knowledge we have attained.
BRAVO I love this message!
Thanks for your thoughts. I in fact use the word “expert” on my site but considering your opinion to remove the word now.