If your brand isn’t building and establishing trust on social media, you’re likely losing a lot of current and potential clients and customers. When I was searching for an image to accompany this post, I ran across a saying that caught my eye: “Trust. Takes years to build, seconds to break and forever to repair.” While I believe that you can earn trust a little bit sooner than the saying suggests, its message about the fragility and importance of trust is on point. I believe if you earn a client or customer’s trust, you have created a brand advocate. (Bonus: free advertisers!)
Several ways that a brand or individual can earn trust on social media is not sending spam, not promoting oneself, attributing others when you use their content, and in general be attentive, engaging, and conversational. Steve Rayson has created his own formula for trust:
Rayson’s formula is an accurate depiction of qualities that make up trust, but I believe it can be simplified by the three H’s: honesty, helpfulness, and humanness. If a company is consistently providing content that is helpful, and they’re responding to comments honestly and in a human tone, I’m more likely to follow them on social media, share their content, and make purchases from them in the future. No one wants to share content that’s not helpful in some way, and no one wants to engage with a company that’s not honest or posting automated responses. We don’t want to talk to a robot, we want to feel like we’re being heard.
Northern Rail is a great example of a company that has earned trust with their followers. Their responses to customer complaints are both honest and helpful. Not only do they earn trust by responding to the complaints, they earn trust by responding to the praises as well. By engaging in real conversations with happy customers, they’re showing their human side. More companies should follow Northern Rail’s example.