How To Establish Yourself As An Authority Figure Online

how to establish yourself as an authority figure online

It’s called “pre-framing”. It’s a little term I picked up from the likes of top marketers like Frank Kern and Tim Ferriss that determines how your audience sees you, before they even know you.

Mastering this little concept is what allows people to be viewed as “experts” or “authority figures” whether they really are or not.

Creating this pre-framed impression in your audience’s minds to see you as an expert or as someone who has a celebrity status, can be the difference between $500 a month and $100,000 per month.

Even better than that, if you create that impression in people’s minds, you don’t even have to be a good salesperson. Which, most of us aren’t born salesman anyway, so that definitely helps.

An example of this effect is how Jennifer Aniston sells makeup or how LeBron James sells sports gear. People see them as celebrities that are authorities in their specific industries.

They see Jennifer Aniston as a beautiful celebrity and no matter what makeup she promotes, will sell because of her impression and status on others.

LeBron’s effect is no different. If he endorses basketball shoes, as a celebrity and one of the top basketball players in the world, you can bet they are going to sell, just because people see him use them.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to be famous to make a good living from your business online. You just need to look and act the part.

 

 

How To Establish Yourself As An Authority Figure Online

 

1. Certifications

digital marketer certified content marketing specialist

You don’t need a 4 year college degree in your field to look like a certified professional. In fact, there are a lot of online certifications you can get to boost your credibility in your niche.

And the best part, a lot of them are pretty affordable and can be done from the comfort of your own home.

Once you complete them and pass the final exam, you can get a digital certificate with your name on it and your new certified title to use on your website, Linkedin profile, etc. to make yourself look good.

Let’s say, you want to start an internet marketing site. Here are a few sources that offer online certification programs for internet marketing:

  • Google
  • Bing
  • Digital Marketer
  • Hootsuite
  • Hubspot

For a more specific list of the exact certifications to get for boosting your internet marketing credibility (as well as knowledge), read more here.

 

2. Awards (Forbes top social account, NYT bestseller)

Another great way to get credibility and be seen as an authority figure in your niche is to earn industry awards.

For instance, Jeff Bullas is a Forbes Top 10 Social Media Influencer and he his Twitter account is in the Huffington Top 100 Business Twitter Accounts list. He makes sure you know this too because it helps him earn more trust in his industry.

jeff bullas branding awards

You see him listing these awards on his Twitter account, website, Linkedin profile, etc. Another person who has done well in earning awards to boost recognition is Tim Ferriss.

He is a 3 time New York Times bestselling author for his books: The 4-Hour Workweek, The 4-Hour Chef, and The 4-Hour Body.

In interviews and books I’ve read, he knew that impact on his brand that being a bestselling author would have and he figured exactly how many book copies he would need to sell to be able to earn that title.

Now, everyone knows who he is and he can just enjoy his life helping startups, speaking, doing TV shows, doing podcasts, and whatever else he wants all from earning the bestselling author title that very few get.

My point is for you to go out and do some research on what awards you can win in your industry. Then, talk to people that have earned them or just figure out a good estimate of what it would take to win them.

If you win some of these awards, make sure everyone knows about them and use them in your bios, website, social media accounts, etc. People will immediately see you as an expert.

 

3. Speak at Universities (Tim Ferriss method)

tim ferriss speaking

Another branding technique I learned from Tim Ferriss from reading one of his books is to hold small speaking engagements at universities.

It just sounds good on your resume when you do this, but you don’t have to mention how many people actually showed up or whether you actually were a good speaker (pretty sneaky, huh?).

What Tim Ferriss did when he was trying to promote his first book was put flyers up about a free speaking engagement at a fairly well-known university, find any possible area on campus he could get permission to use for a couple of hours and then speak to whoever showed up.

This way he could get even more publicity from radio stations, websites, news, etc. by telling them he has spoken at whatever university it was and use that for branding.

If people don’t know anything about you, it is hard to convince them to take you seriously when promoting a book, product, etc.

You don’t have to be a perfect speaker. Just make your title sound better by adding “speaker at ____ University” to it and people may start taking you more seriously.

 

4. Speak on stage and take professional pictures

Social media is taking over the world. There are over 1.5 billion people on Facebook alone and countless accounts on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, Linkedin, etc.

One of the biggest first impressions people will have of you will come from your profile picture on these social sites.

Now, you can get a professional picture taken and use that to make yourself look like more of a professional, but there is something else you could do that would look even better…

You can get a picture of yourself speaking on stage. Think of Tony Robbins, Frank Kern or other speakers’ profiles on, say, Facebook for instance. They’ve had images of them speaking on stage on their profiles.

professional profile image frank kern

This makes you look professional instantly when people first see your profile because most people don’t speak on stage unless they actually know a lot about their niche.

You don’t have to show how many people you are speaking in front of. Go find some stage at just about any auditorium and get some kind of wireless microphone to use.

Then have a professional or someone else take pictures of you speaking from different angles, edit them a little bit and make them your profile picture or background on social media.

It will instantly boost your credibility without you having to do too much. People will assume you are an expert when they see this.

 

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5. Social proof of things you’ve accomplished

Social proof is extremely valuable when it comes to earning trust and getting yourself seen as an authority figure. All you have to do is show some kind of results you’ve gotten that are related to your business.

If you are selling a course for business owners, show them examples of the kind of money you’ve made from the techniques you are going to teach them.

If it’s a marketing course, show people how many leads or how much traffic you’ve gotten from the strategies you are going to teach them.

You would be amazed how far simple screenshots of traffic, lead numbers, bank account statements, etc. can help boost your brand’s credibility.

Or, you could do what John Lee Dumas of Entrepreneur On Fire or Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income have done and display your monthly income reports for everyone to see.

social proof entrepreneuronfire

Whatever kind of social proof you use, just highlight the things you’ve done best at and be honest.

 

6. Have an assistant take calls / emails

This is another technique I learned from a successful internet marketer that works especially well if you take lots of calls. What you can do is have someone act as your assistant.

You can hire a virtual assistant to answer the phone, have your spouse do it, your sibling, your parent, your friend, etc. to schedule an appointment to talk to you instead of you taking all the calls.

Most successful people can’t be easily reached directly because otherwise it would just be annoying to receive thousands of calls everyday when you have a big following.

This is why they get assistants, customer support, and other staff members to take care of tasks like this. If you do this, people will automatically think you are some big shot expert and will value your business more.

You could even do this with email as well, but it would probably be less convincing than a phone call being answered by an “assistant”.

 

7. Authority-looking blog

professional website entrepreneur

Not only do YOU have to look good to help your brand be taken seriously, but your main website does too. You never see successful people or businesses with crappy websites, do you?

The best way to figure out how to make your website look professional is to go through and find the top sites in your industry, so you can model after them.

Take some notes on what these top authority websites have in common and what makes them look professional. Then, all you have to do is model that the best you can.

If you want to have some type of business site for example, you might check out Entrepreneur, Business Insider, Forbes, etc. to see what makes them look so appealing.

 

8. Collaborations with other big shots in the industry

It’s amazing how many people have gotten their name out there just by co-producing a product with a big-name expert. I like to look at the music industry for this example.

Royce da 5’9″ is a rapper the most people might not know if he didn’t collaborate with Eminem on a few songs. It helped him take his music career to a whole new level as a rapper.

eminem royce da 5'9"collaberation

Think about rock concerts. A lot of smaller time bands might not get recognition until they open for a famous band. It works similarly in the business world as well.

If you have a great product that you’ve come up with, but don’t think you have quite enough publicity to make it as successful as you want, you can reach out to bigger names in the industry to collaborate with you by just putting their name on the product with yours and then give them a cut of the profits.

This allows you to use whatever publicity you’ve built up on your own, combined with the big following the authority figure you partnered with already has. It only takes one expert to say “yes”.

If you deliver a high-quality product, you will develop a much larger fan-base of your own and will be able to release you own successful products without the help of others.

 

For more on building up a celebrity status as an authority figure in your industry, read my post: How To Brand Yourself As An Expert In Your Field In 10 Steps

Combine that the strategies in that article with this one to get the ultimate arsenal of branding tactics.

 

Conclusion

Establishing yourself as an authority figure really isn’t too complicated. Just think of what earns your trust when you buy something from a brand and try to implement the same things for your own.

I’m not saying necessarily that you have to fake it till you make it to succeed as a business owner online. In fact, a lot of people might have some of the highest quality products or services money can buy, but still have trouble getting customers.

This is because people don’t give you their trust easily and you have to really earn it and create the assumption in their eyes that you know what you are talking about. Once you do that, the sales take care of themselves.

What do think is the most creative technique for establishing your brand authority?

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I’m an entrepreneur, fitness freak, artist, car enthusiast, sports fan and self improvement addict. My goal is to help people be their best and create incredible businesses that change the world.
About The Author

Justin Bryant

I'm an entrepreneur, fitness freak, artist, car enthusiast, sports fan and self improvement addict. My goal is to help people be their best and create incredible businesses that change the world.

2 Comments

  • Timothy Alexander

    Reply Reply August 13, 2015

    All great ideas… basically, fake it till you make it. Unfortunately, there are many “online experts” doing this that have no substance to backup their image.

    • Justin Bryant

      Reply Reply August 13, 2015

      That is true. A lot people straight up lie about things they’ve done in the past or even go as far as tricking people into buying low-quality products. I definitely don’t recommend doing that because it kills your brand. There are many ways to boost your brand trust without lying or doing anything shady.

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