7 Research-Backed Notes on How Brands Can Build Trust on Social Media

7 Research-Backed Notes on How Brands Can Build Trust on Social Media

When was the last time your business reviewed its social media marketing strategy and tactics? If you answered “not recently,” or worse "never," you may well be wasting valuable resources on a totally ineffective approach.
Social media marketing changes so rapidly, and what you’ve been doing may not be what you should be doing now. 
Based on the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer report, here are seven ways you can build trust using social media, aligning with evolving user trends and habits to best effect.

1. Reach consumers in social media by delivering customer service

The best and most effective way for brands to use social media to reach consumers is through the effective delivery of helpful customer service. 

Social platforms have become a key tool for customer queries, particularly as an alternative for frustrating, largely automated, hotlines. Ensure you take this element into account with your digital marketing approach.
It's also relevant to note that your direct conversations will be more persuasive than your advertising and marketing materials.
What your brand says in emails, messaging apps, and social media comments works to build more consumer trust than advertising does. 

The combination of these two factors provides a fairly compelling case for the use of social media for "social" interactions, in various forms.

2. Social media is the best media channel for falling in and out of love with brands

That connective capacity also makes social a key consideration in developing brand relationships.
Of these choices: traditional media, search, social media, owned and online-only media - social media came out on top in regards to which platforms best enable consumers to both fall in and out of love with brands. 
Worth keeping your brand reputation in mind every time you post.

3. Social media is key in building emotional connection with consumers

Of the more than 33,000 respondents included in Edelman's research, 39% of them said that they were unlikely to become emotionally attached to a brand unless they were interacting and communicating with them via social media. 

As such, it's worth ensuring that you engage with your social audience, and respond in a timely manner where possible.

4. Most respondents said it’s OK for businesses to use their data for direct marketing offers

Consumer data, and the use of social media insights, has become a hot topic in recent months. But despite concerns, Edelman's research shows that most consumers are comfortable with data usage - so long as it provides them with clear benefits.
The number one direct marketing offer consumers find favorable is coupons or suggested items based on products bought in the past. 
Depending on the nature of your business or organization, it may be worth testing coupons. They aren’t just for B2C (business-to-consumer) anymore.

5. Quality and transparency are important factors when people make decisions on whether to trust the information and content you post on social media

While social media enables fast, off the cuff responses and engagement, professionalism still counts.
Given this, businesses should ensure that their writing and visuals are top notch, and that their content is well designed. 
Also, if you use sponsored or paid content, make it clear. People do not like being duped.

6. Use credible experts and peer voices as brand spokespeople, including technical and academic experts

In order to help boost your brand credibility, you should look to use established voices and industry experts to endorse and promote your products where possible.
It's also worth noting here that celebrities came in last place in terms of credibility, an interesting finding considering how many brands still use them in their campaigns. 
The easiest spokespeople to find are those who believe in your products, services, or mission. People trust their peers. Use that to advantage where possible.
Lastly, I want to share this graph which showcases how people are using social media. 
This information can help you target your ideal audiences.
There's a heap of insights in the full Edelman report, which you can download here. Hopefully these notes get you thinking about how you can incorporate the findings into your approach. 
This post has been modified from its original publication.

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