How To Build Customer Trust In Social Media and Content
The answer depends on who tells them about you. This shouldn’t come as a surprise.
Think about the following question:
How do most people make critical decisions about their lives?
This answer predates media and social networks.
For major personal decisions such as health, marriage, jobs, kids and image, most people turn to those they trust the most, namely their family and friends. Once they get their initial recommendations, they may do further research, often online.
For example, the only time I tried finding a doctor online, my research left me unsatisfied. Ratings and reviews informed me about the doctor’s disposition, staff, and ease of appointment setting. But they didn’t give me insight into the doctor’s medical qualifications. Instead, I called friends to get their input.
Jack Byrnes, the character played by Robert DeNiro in the movie Meet The Parents, refered to this as the “Byrnes family circle of trust.”
3 customer trust factors
Here are 3 customer trust factors that can help boost your social media results.
1. Get customers to talk about you.
Family and friends top the trust list. In fact, the word of mouth marketplace is worth $6 trillion according to KellerFay research. Of this, 2/3s of the word of mouth impact occurs offline.
Of course, most businesses are concerned about customer ratings and reviews on social media. The challenge is that one bad experience can cause a customer’s opinion to change in a heartbeat. (Check out some examples of social media ratings and reviews.)
We trust our friends and family. We know what their prejudices are and can adjust for them. These 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer results are similar to those from Nielsen. (As a point of comparison, here are the 2014 trust results. The charts are useful.)
Actionable Marketing Tips:
- Ask your customers to refer your business to their friends and family. There’s a good chance that their personal connections share interests related to your business.
- Reward customers for referrals. Don’t expect something for nothing. When I worked for Sony selling music, we always gave our customers a special offer to get their friends and family to purchase from us. It was one of the cheapest ways to acquire customers.
- Encourage social media interaction. Ask your customers to let their family and friends know about you on social media. It helps if you facilitate the activity.
2. Empower employees to talk about your business
As marketers, we often neglect to think about our organizations holistically. Employees are often overlooked. Edelman’s research revealed that they’re more trusted as sources than the CEO.
This makes sense since you must be human and talk and act like a real person on social media networks. Most CEOs only talk at a high level about their companies and even worse they represent the most negative aspects of your business.
It’s important to note that a company technical expert ranks higher than an ordinary employee. This is attributable to the fact that they’re viewed almost like industry experts.
Your employees are experts on your product and services. Further, they’re real people to whom your audience can relate, not someone in a fancy suit.
Actionable Marketing Tips:
- Train your employees to use social media as part of their jobs. Provide and empower your employees to represent your firm and interact with your prospects and customers.
- Provide employees with the support and tools they need. Don’t just keep adding to your employees’ to do list. If participation is important, then make it part of their job and make them look good. (Remember it’s not just about the money! No one wants to look dumb.)
3. Optimize for search
When it comes to search optimization, you can’t put your head in the sand. Your business must be visible.
- 64% of global respondents trusted search over other media sources and 72% of millennials trust search according to the 2015 Edelman Trust Barometer.
Unless you work for a traditional media outlet, the good news for marketers is that the trustworthiness of both social media and owned media are on the rise (while still lower than other media options).
Google’s search algorithms use a variety of resources that incorporate the wisdom of the masses. In light of recent findings that television news anchors Brian Williams and Pat O’Reilly misrepresented the truth in their reporting, audiences are seeking a level of fact checking and transparency.
Actionable Marketing Tips:
- Focus your content on select keyword phrases. Understand that optimizing for search requires more time to achieve your business goals. Use the words that your audience seeks.
- Create content for other media and blogs. Increase your ability to be seen by your potential audience. This is the power of other people’s audiences. Think beyond links.
- Use appropriate hashtags to enhance findability. Expand your audience on social media platforms with relevant hashtags.
Remember your ultimate goal is to get into your prospects’ and customers’ circle of trust. The easiest way to accomplish this is to get the people they already trust to support your business.
What have you done to take advantage of your prospects’ trusted sources?
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