Whenever I ask my audience about the benefits of social media, the first answer is always the same: Leads!

And I agree, leads are one of the best ways to measure social media success.  But I also like to talk about other benefits to having a strong digital footprint.

One of those is credibility.

What if they’ve found you – they’re already a lead. They have now moved to ‘research mode’ and are checking you out online.

Are you building a case to work together or are you….scaring them off?

Here are three ways you are quite possibly scaring people off right now as you read this:

1. An ugly, circa 2002 Website. I recently did a keynote for a motorcycle conference. During the session, I showed some pictures of some of the coolest bikes you’ve ever seen. Then I showed the Websites that were selling these bikes. The coolness factor went away. The Websites were old and stale. This is an inconsistent brand.

Their online presence didn’t match their offline presence. Does yours? If not, it might be time for a redesign. Our company does Websites or there are many out their that you can work with. Just make sure you see the sites they’ve done and like what you see.

2. An unmanaged Google+ Local Page. When people search for a product or service with a location, Google map listings show up. People can then click on a business’s Google+ page to check them out before going to their Website or calling them. This is a place people make decisions. In fact, some might be making a decision about your business right now. How does your Google+ Local page look? Have you claimed it? Added content? Images? Video?

Does it have positive reviews from some of your champion customers?

You have complete control over that page yet so many are left blank and unattended. Go fix that. Seriously, right now. Go Google your business (with city and state) and find your page. It should have the name of your business and your address. On the right is a button asking if this is your page. Click it and proceed.

3. An untouched social media site. It’s my belief that it’s better to not be on a social media site than to have one up that is ignored. Nothing can unnerve a potential customer faster than a Facebook page with three fans, a blog that was last updated in 2011 or a LinkedIn profile with no picture and few connections.

Why take that chance? If you’re going to be there, be active. If not, get rid of it.

Just like you, people do their research online and make decisions without ever contacting us. And very rarely do we get the chance to hear why they didn’t buy from us. But we do know the common places they look when doing their research and we can stack the odds in our favor by taking care of the items above.

Building trust and credibility – another way the web can help you and your business succeed.