In business, earning the trust of your audience requires the same sort of everlasting dedication that is required to earn trust in your personal life.
It can involve years of making good on your promises and avoiding deceit at all costs. It’s hard work that is made harder by how fragile it can be. One slip up, and trust can be diminished, or lost.
Despite the ongoing challenge of earning and retaining the trust of your audience, it is an endeavour deserving of the effort required. Building trust can lead to increased loyalty, build advocacy, create evangelists, improve the potency of your marketing messages, mitigate customer churn, and generally strengthen the emotional connection people have with your brand, to list a few benefits.
And social media is a prime channel through which to cultivate trust amongst your audience. It affords opportunities not possible through other channels; opportunities such as the constant and ongoing line of communication you have with people, the ability to connect with people individually, and the capacity to tailor messages to give them a heightened level of context, relevance and impact.
Even though building trust is a marathon, not a sprint, there are some actions you can take on social media to instantly boost the trust people have in your business:
If your business is called out by your consumers as having a weakness in a particular area, take a step back, and if they’re right – which they almostalways are – admit to it, thank them for their feedback, and put a plan in place to be better in that area. Better yet, beat them to the punch and call out your own weaknesses before consumers do. They’ll appreciate your openness and honesty.
Hiding behind heavily crafted press releases, official corporate statements, or your own delusions that your business is perfect will only create doubt in the minds of your consumers and do nothing to earn trust.
Perceptions of hyper competitiveness in business can work in your favour if you’re confident enough to acknowledge the strengths of your competition.
This may seem counterintuitive when discussing the cultivation of trust and enhancing your business, but highlighting the strengths of your competition can be a great way to underscore your own unique selling proposition, strengthen the power of your claims, and of course earn trust.
People are more likely to trust other people than heartless corporations.
Take advantage of this by putting your people front and centre on social media by giving consumers access to the experts within your organization, giving personal care and attention to their customer service inquiries, speaking with a human tone and manner, and anything else that strips your social presence of corporate rhetoric.
Investing in, and showcasing your business’ interest in the communities, cultures and environments in which it operates is a fantastic way to build trust by countering perceptions that your business is strictly self-centred.
Don’t be shy about communicating your CSR initiatives on social media and even consider involving your community in these endeavors to give them a stronger sense of involvement with your organization’s efforts and interest in your operations.
There are, of course, many other ways to build trust amongst your audience but these are a few methods that can be employed immediately to some effect. Building trust in the long-term means dedicated and thoughtful effort, but can yield some amazing results.
How do you, or have you, built trust amongst your audience?
What are the benefits your business has experienced as a result of being trusted by your consumers?
Which brands do you most strongly trust, and why?
Which brands do you not trust at all, and why?
As always, it would be great to chat with you more about this in the comments, or on Twitter @RGBSocial