One of the things I think marketers forget about social media is that trust is a key factor in establishing, building and maintaining trust. It is the on AND offline foundation that all relationships are built from, yet so many do not consciously take this into account.
Trust is the reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing.
In a word, trust is confidence.
Taking it a bit further, trust is the underlying ability to rely on someone or something. it is a foundational element in all relationships, but THE crucial component in business. Trust is underlying because it is conscious and unconscious. It comes from the thinking consideration, yet is always behind the scenes affecting our gut level processes.
Some Thoughts On Trust:
- It is my firm belief that trust is earned, not expected or demanded.
- Trust comes from doing, not saying what you will do, but showing who you are and what your brand is about through action.
- Doing is the catalyst that either builds or destroys trust with ones following, community and prospects.
Trust In Business and Social Media:
Business relationships can be described as a connection with a person or brand that includes emotional and personal affinity, appreciation and trust. In today’s business world, the lines between personal and business relationships are highly blurred. In social media marketing they no longer exist in the traditional sense, in that business IS personal on many levels. Relationships often drive the connections, communication and willingness to investigate or buy.
Three Stages Of Relationship Trust:
In social media marketing, there are three distinct stages of trust that brands and marketers need to be aware of.
Establishing – Whether a social connection will be established is often governed by first impressions. Similar to the offline world, a bad first impression will result in no further engagement with a brand, person or company representative.
In social media there are numerous components that make or break a first impression and determine whether you are going to be able to establish the beginnings of a relationship. Some of those are:
- First contact: The first contact you have with a connection sets the stage. If that contact is spam, you have likely killed any possible relationship. What is spam in social media? Anything that tags or direct messages a connection while pitching what you do. There’s nothing worse to kill an opportunity of building a relationship.
- Bio: Think of your social media profile/bio as your store front. If your windows are dirty, your message unclear or anything looks bad, your prospect won’t bother walking in the door.
- Stream: Most people in social media check a new connection’s stream to see how they conduct themselves. They look to see if you are spamming or only posting about yourself or if you are engaging, sharing valuable content. What they see in your stream is what they believe they can expect in a relationship with your or your brand on social media. Remember – people are watching!
- Value: Building relationships is predicated on value. Do you provide selfless, relevant value to your audience? Do you share their content? Do you help them achieve their goals?
- Grateful: Do you show you’re grateful when your relationships help you? When they share your content, do you thank them? Just as in real-life, showing thankfulness to relationships builds those relationships. Social media is no different.
- Response: One of the most important ways to build relationships once they are established is to respond. All too often people ignore mentions, questions or conversations. Nothing does more to kill furthering of a relationship is to be “too good” to respond.
Maintaining – Maintaining trust you have earned is a continuation of repeated impressions and the three components of relationship building. It is active and ongoing, constantly being evaluated by others subconsciously. Your conscious choice to engage in relationship building advances the opportunity with the connections you have and dramatically increases them with the relationships you have in process.