If you're a professional using social networking as an online marketing tool, chances are your followers are putting your name in search engines to learn more about you and whether you're all your profile says you are. They're looking for credibility from a variety of sources. If your name pops up with little or no related information, then you've not only lost credibility but probably their respect as well. But if your name delivers pages and pages of solid evidence, then you've proven yourself beyond a reasonable doubt and perhaps even landed new business opportunities.

How prepared are you when new contacts run a credibility check on your name? Follow these 5 tips to build a solid credibility foundation that interacts beautifully with your social networking activities.

1. Write a Great Profile

Your social networking profile page is your calling card and your friendly handshake all rolled into one. Be sure you have a well written profile that clearly states who you are, who you work with, and the results you deliver. This is your chance to speak your expertise and arouse their curiosity so they want to learn more.

2. Link to the Right Places

People who want to know more about you will click on the link you provide in your profile. This link needs to be more than a sales page. Link to something dynamic like a blog, media page, or a special page you have set up to introduce yourself to social networking contacts. If appropriate, include links to other credibility boosters such as published articles, podcasts, or other online mentions.

3. Publish Plenty Online

Online publishing is a great way to reinforce your credibility. You can write articles, short tips, or blog posts related to your area of expertise. Fill these articles and tips with keyword rich phrases so your name is always associated with that topic. When someone looks you up on search engines and pages of links to articles you've authored come up, then that proves you are indeed a credible resource in your field.

4. Be Consistent

Nothing confuses prospects more than not fully understanding what you're good at. Look at what you're doing in your business and the expertise you're trying to convey. Is it consistent? Do you switch your business focus like a change of socks? Are you scattering your expertise across too many topics without dominating a few? Find a way to pull it all together or make the decisions needed to prune away what must go. Pinpointing your expertise and being consistent will make it much easier to establish credibility.

5. Show Off Your Expertise!

A great credibility booster is simply being available to your social networking contacts with tips and advice. Watch the conversations and see if someone is in a situation where your expertise could come in. For instance, if you're a blog expert and you see someone having a public conversation about problems with a blog, pop in and offer help. Or if you're a wellness professional and someone says they have the sniffles, go ahead and send them a link to a remedy. Publicly showing off your expertise not only boosts your credibility but helps a lot of people too!

Building your credibility with social networking doesn't simply happen by posting a few updates. It requires building a trail of proof that you are the expert you claim to be. Follow these tips and you'll give your prospects and contacts plenty to feast upon when they look you up online.

Author's Bio: 

Nancy Marmolejo is an online visibility and social media expert who grooms entrepreneurs for the spotlight. An award winning business owner, Nancy is frequently quoted in the areas of social media, business, and creativity. Get free downloads and Nancy’s social networking links by visiting VivaVisibilityBlog.com.