I attended a Blab with Roy Montero the other day and this was the topic; Value vs. Credibility. Initially I scratched my head and thought. “Isn’t it the same thing?” But after a couple of minutes of intent listening the light bulb went off, I got it! There is a huge difference between the two. Let’s define them:

Value is what you offer that is useful or advantageous to the recipient.

Credibility is the reputation of someone who is an honest, authentic subject matter expert that delivers value to their audience.

In most cases, we all offer value, but not to everyone.

First Question: Can you add value and not be credible?

I will argue yes – one can absolutely add advice, insights, education even if you are not a subject matter expert or even respected in their field. Have you ever bought a car from a used car salesman (as a metaphor)? I have definitely been in situations where I have read good content from not so good people and had some great takeaways. I balance the value with the source but can often find some insights that are meaningful. But, I would also argue that a business that isn’t credible won’t be sustainable. They wont get referrals and eventually getting new business will be too difficult – and the doors will close.

Second Question: Can you be credible and not add value?

This one I had to ponder a bit longer but am confident the answer is yes.  I ran through many scenarios in my head with dozens of highly credible people, and regardless of their position, CEO, Actor, Comedian, Singer while each adds value – they don’t add value to everyone. For example, if I am connected to a school nurse on LinkedIn who never has to sell a thing in his life, sharing blogs about ways to never cold call again does not bring him value. But, if that nurse has been in my network for some time, they may see me as a credible resource in my niche, a subject matter expert in the sales and social selling arena.  So much so, that if someone might bring up LinkedIn, my name will come to mind and maybe even brought into the conversation. This would be a clear indication that credibility is possible even without having brought value to someone. The short of it is, you can be seen as a credible expert even if you are not directly adding value to them.

When growing a company it is vital to have both credibility and value. If you just have credibility, than you are talking to the wrong market, if you just add value than your business isn’t sustainable.

So, how does that relate to LinkedIn and Social Selling? Well here is my interpretation:

  1. You must have a profile that engages your targeted market with insights – basically leveraging your profile more as a resource rather than a resume. Certainly your years in business adds to your credibility, but not nearly as much as offering solutions that will directly impact your audience.
  2. Make sure you have the right audience. If you sell to Fortune 1000 CIOs and your current network is primarily made up of SMB owners, any great content you share focused on your niche will most-likely fall on to deaf ears, will not add value to your network, nor will it likely ever convert to business.  So, if this looks like your situation, you have to start engaging and connecting with the right audience. Simply find them on LinkedIn with targeted company searches, advanced searches and filtering through your current connections to identify who in your target market do they know and request some introductions.
  3. Curate and share relevant content to your network. Don’t dilute your reputation with funny cat videos or topics completely unrelated to your business. If you are looking at LinkedIn as a social selling tool, than keep your shares relatable and valuable to your targeted audience. In addition, whenever you share an article, make sure you add a line or two about your POV (point of view), as this is what will elevate you as a thought leader, not only as someone that shared the content.
  4. Develop your own original content. There is practically no other way to develop a credibility on social than to have your own content that is providing value. Make sure you title it well so your target market knows it is focused on their needs, add incredible stand out value that creates aha moments and have a call to action to capture your audience or even get them to schedule phone calls with you.
  5. From LinkedIn Pulse, share, like and comment on relevant people’s blogs in your industry. This allows you to leverage others’ content to engage with your targeted audience and bring them into your network. Often, the engagement through your insights will begin to create credibility well.

We all want to be seen a value provider, a credible go to resource in our niche, and it takes some time and work to get there, but when you do, a wonderful thing will start happening… business opportunities will start coming to you.

Please share your thoughts about Value vs. Credibility in comments below.