Let’s first discuss the definition and origin of the term. Street cred refers to the level of respect and trustworthiness accorded to individuals considered as experts in their fields of endeavor because of their tangible accomplishments. The term was originally used in the hip-hop subculture but it is now used for many other fields as well such as among online marketing professionals and their clients.
Importance of Building Street Cred
Street cred is known as social proof among online marketing professionals. It works in this way: If the individuals you trust – or you are related to – are buying a product, patronizing a service, or participating in an activity, then you can also do so and enjoy the benefits. Keep in mind that the online world is as much about the technical aspects (i.e., search engine optimization and conversion rate optimization) as much as it is about the emotional aspects (i.e., trust and respect).
Think of it: Even when your SEO campaign has placed your website on the first page of the search engine results, you are less likely to enjoy higher conversion rates when your online visitors believe that you are less reliable, less respectable or less trustworthy than your competitors, SEO notwithstanding.
Proof: According to Nielsen study, 92% of respondents placed their trust in the recommendations of family and friends – a word-of-mouth advertising, if you will – while 70% said that their second most trusted source is online consumer reviews.
Indeed, the importance of building your online street cred cannot be overemphasized for both online marketing professionals in their efforts to gain more clients as well as their clients in their efforts to enjoy their share of the market.
Tips on Building Street Cred
With that being said, here are useful tips in building your online street cred and, in the process, gain more customers for your business.
• Ask for endorsements.
Satisfied customers are usually willing to provide endorsements in several forms including written and video testimonials on your website, links on their own websites to your website with favorable reviews, and recommendations on networking sites like LinkedIn, Yelp and Amazon. These endorsements are tangible accomplishments that will boost your online street cred among your prospective clients.
• Highlight statistics.
Building street cred is also about the technical aspects related to website statistics. If your website or your brand has generated impressive quantifiable results like increase in page rankings, increase in traffic, or increase in returns on investments for clients, then by all means feature these figures on your website’s homepage! Trumpet your own horn, so to speak, but be sure that you have the facts to back it up.
• Connect with experts.
Think of it as attaching your star to other stars perhaps with brighter lights than you have at present. Your professional links with experts in your field can transfer their credibility to your own brand but keep in mind that the relationship goes both ways – you have to take care of your own good reputation, too. You can write a guest blog on the experts’ website, invite them to write on your website, and interview them for a podcast, among other ideas.
• Be grateful for shout-outs.
Setting up Google Alert allows for monitoring of mentions and citations online. Thank the individuals behind these citations and return the favor, when possible.
When adopted as part of a multifaceted approach, these tips toward building online street cred will be to your benefit sooner than you expected.
Several marketers such as Aidan Booth, Tim Godfrey and Steve Clayton have all built their own street cred by producing brilliant training programs. Their latest program is called The Trinity Code and there if you buy through the Trinity Code Bonus links you can also get some great extras.