We loved Ifdy Perez’s post, “Edelman’s Trust Barometer: You can’t Ignore Social Media Anymore,” on the Vocus blog last week. For one thing, it calls out the importance of adopting social media and community as key pieces of building trust, engagement, and loyal, long-lasting relationships with customers.
The Edelman finding that the top four trust building factors for consumers were related to engagement is of no surprise to us. Whether your customers are out there asking pre-sales questions in your community, posting their opinion about your product they just purchased, expressing dissatisfaction via Facebook, or speaking up on your behalf to a prospect, they expect to be heard and responded to in a genuine, helpful way.
But the Edelman study goes a step further: You can be as present, authentic, and responsive as humanly possible—forgo sleep, hire the best copywriters money can buy, and secure a presence on every new social network, app, and feedback site. Consumers still trust the opinions of their peers far more than anything you have to say.
For this reason, it’s essential to use a customer community in tandem with your social presences. You need to be actively facilitating the connection of prospects to customers, advocates, as well as employees, for truly effective engagement and trust building. In addition, you can use community integrations with social media management tools like HootSuite to import social mentions, praise, and questions into your community in order to extend their shelf-life and depth in a way that’s just not possible in 140 characters or even a Facebook post.
By taking these steps to ensure that you’re having genuine conversations with customers, you’re demonstrating that you value their business, providing them with relevant information to select a product and realize success with it, and giving them the confidence that money spent on your brand is a good investment—that you’ll be there for them when they have issues, questions, or dissatisfaction, and you’ll appreciate them when they speak up on your behalf. Sounds like the basis of any good relationship, doesn’t it?
Perez sums it up best, “By cultivating relationships with consumers online, you’re portraying the attributes of a trustworthy brand. Answering their questions, providing sociable posts, keeping an upbeat tone, etc. are all tactics to portraying honesty, trustworthiness, positive corporate culture, and a quality product or service.“
And at the end of the day, isn’t that what it’s all about?
*Trust image courtesy of BigStockPhoto.com