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Reputation Management: 3 Tips for Establishing Credibility as a Startup

Larry Alton

Contributor at StartupNation
Larry is an independent business consultant specializing in tech, social media trends, business and entrepreneurship.

As a startup, you’re probably still gaining momentum in your industry and may not have the visibility your larger competitors have. They’ve been around longer, so it makes sense that they have a larger social media following and a bigger subscriber base. However, that doesn’t automatically mean that they have a superior product. It just means that they’ve had time to create a following and build a reputation.

If you want to compete with others in your industry that have been around longer, but you don’t want to wait years to gain significant traction, here are some efficient strategies you can implement today to help your startup establish credibility quickly.

  1. Add an attention-grabbing welcome video to your website

Trust is best established through interaction. On the internet, that can be accomplished with a welcome video.

We’ve all seen welcome videos where people say things like, “Hey guys, welcome to my website, thanks for stopping by. Here, you’ll find…” and at this point you either fall asleep or leave. This is not a welcome video, it’s a lullaby.

You want to capture your visitor’s attention, and in order to do that, you’ll need to do more than just reiterate the content of your website.

The video should welcome visitors to your brand, not just your webpage. It should tell them what they can expect to gain from your products and services, and how they will directly impact their life. Even before you get that message across, you have to capture their attention. With attention being a limited resource, you have five seconds to do so.

Imagination Media offers a brilliant guide for capturing someone’s attention in those first five seconds, and how to structure the content of your video to keep their attention. This guide includes tips like speeding up your video load time (40 percent of people leave when a video doesn’t load in the first ten seconds), and how to tell a good story.

When you use video, you’re automatically creating rapport between you and your potential customers. Although the interaction isn’t in person, your visitors will feel like they know you, and their trust will be easier to earn.



  1. Use plugins to display user reviews on your website

Reviews establish credibility, and should be visible to your website visitors. They need to come from reliable sources, like Yelp, to be believed.

You’ve probably visited a website that displayed a multitude of user reviews with gold stars that didn’t link back to a source. Where did those reviews come from? They were probably hard-coded into the website design, and there’s no way to discover their authenticity. For all you know, the company may have fabricated all of them.

Don’t do this to your visitors, especially when you’re a relatively new business. It doesn’t matter if you really did receive a review from the Queen of England, if users can’t trace it back to a reliable source, it will appear fake.

That’s why review websites like Yelp have created plugins and widgets for you to display your business information and ratings on your website, so people know they’re legitimate. For example, the Yelp Widget Pro allows you to add your business listing with reviews to your WordPress website.

  1. Publish user experiences and product review videos

Also known as testimonials, user experiences and product reviews are an essential part of building your reputation.

Your customers know you’re the creator, and of course you love your product. But when others love it, too, it helps eradicate any lingering doubt. The more you can demonstrate that your product is being used by others, the more likely people will be to try it.

Product review videos can serve as both a testimonial and a product demo. This is because people are likely to discuss their experiences while discussing how the product works. If they found something surprisingly useful, they’ll share it. If they found something that wasn’t as easy as they expected, they’ll share that, too.

Video product demos also allow people to see subtleties that words alone can’t convey. For example, this video review of the GhostBed shows you exactly how the mattress responds when you push down on it, and even allows you to see what it looks like when sitting close to the edge.



Catch up with your competitors using social proof

Social proof is, in general, the perception that “everyone’s doing it” so it must be the right thing to do. As humans, we are highly social creatures and have a tendency to want to fit in with our peers and do the right thing. So we’re more likely to perceive the right thing as what others are already doing. When people see others using your product, they’re more likely to try it.

The best way to catch up to someone with an existing reputation is to build your own. To build a great reputation, you must put your existing reputation, no matter how small, where your visitors can see it, and watch it grow on its own.

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