Two Surprising Keys to Build Trust and Drive Sales Through Social Media

Chris Boudreaux Digital Strategy Executive, EY

Posted on September 16th 2013

Two Surprising Keys to Build Trust and Drive Sales Through Social Media

ImageIn a world where information continues to explode, people still trust people. In fact, research from Edelman and Nielsen continue to show that people are more likely to trust information from an organization’s employee or from someone they perceive to be like themselves, than from an organization’s official communicators, web site or sponsored content.  

If your content marketing plans do not include some level of empowering employees to publish in social media, you may be missing a huge opportunity to build trust with your audience.

And, while most of us probably believe – at some level -- that online advocacy drives sales, many people are surprised to learn that online and offline sales correlate strongly with the number of people who advocate for a brand. That’s not the number of online posts or messages advocating for a brand, but the total people.

In fact, a study by MotiveQuest and Northwestern University found that, on average, 53% of changes in online and offline sales can be attributed to changes in the number of people advocating for a brand online. 

So, leaders who want to increase build trust, communicate a message, or develop online advocacy need to do two things:  (1) continually measure the number of people advocating for the brand, and (2) empower employees to engage and publish, because they are the most trusted source within your organization. 

Anyone interested in learning how to empower employees to nurture relationships in social media should join us at the Social Shake Up networking reception and book signing tonight. The authors of The Most Powerful Brand on Earth, Chris Boudreaux and Susan Emerick, have paved the way for large and small organizations to achieve tangible business goals through socially enabling more people throughout the organization. The book provides a complete step-by-step approach that includes team design, business case, measurement, security and change management. Examples are included from a wide range of brands, including Ford Motor Company, Dell, 3M, Intel, Aramark and more.


Chris Boudreaux

Digital Strategy Executive, EY

Chris Boudreaux is a Digital Strategy Executive at EY, where he helps brands transform their business operations through digital and social media. He published The Most Powerful Brand on Earth in 2013 with Susan Emerick of IBM, and he regularly publishes thought leadership to global audiences at

Prior to EY, he led the Social Media Technology consulting practice at Accenture, and he founded a management consulting practice at the social media agency, Converseon, where his teams served brands including IBM and Walmart.

His work has been featured by media including Forrester, Gartner, Harvard Business Review, Inc. magazine and Mashable. In 2014, his research into social intelligence won the Best Paper Award from the Marketing Sciences Institute, and, in 2012, Chris was selected for membership in the 2012 iMedia Top 25 Internet Marketing Innovators and Leaders.

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Posted on September 17th 2013 at 1:22AM

Great article.A great way to build trust with your customers is to let them know that you care about others more than just yourself. The same goes for building brand equity. Socially responsible brands often gain more momentum because their customers know they aren’t just about profits, but also giving back to their communities or the world around them.I'll check out this book soon.Thanks for sharing Chris!