It’s not surprising that with so many choices today, customers put a premium on loyalty and trustworthiness. The average Internet user sees six to ten thousand ads daily. In that same time frame they visit social media an average of one hundred forty five minutes.
It’s safe to say that if consumers spend nearly a fourth of their day on an activity, it behooves businesses to make contact with them there. Social media has become one of the most important places for businesses to connect with consumers.
It’s vital that those businesses approach customers honestly. It’s important to build a healthy relationship that’s entertaining, transparent and responsible.
There are seven sure ways businesses can build trust on social media. These methods aren’t silver bullets that work in a day, but they’re good habits that help guarantee success.
1. Provide Quality Content
Having a good product is always a good place to start. In terms of information, your product is your content. Whether the intention is to entertain or inform, the content needs to be of a quality that shows visitors your business is serious.
That means text must be well written, well placed and properly sourced. Images and sound must be clear and pertinent, with all rights cleared. The content should be useful to visitors. It should engage them in a way that makes them expect and want more.
Having good content makes a business appear to be an authority on a given subject. If done properly it can make that business appear to be a leader, a resource that outdoes its competitors.
2. Encourage Interactions
Don’t make communication a one way street. Use the interactive capabilities of social media to engage, inform and instruct consumers. Respond to questions quickly and encourage debate. Have a strategy in place to take advantage of your interactions. Lead generating ads and email campaigns are ways to develop a relationship.
Ask users for their opinions, and let their responses become a source of valuable content for you. Stay engaged by posting visitor reviews and client testimonials. When your customers see they have an actual place in your world, they’re more likely to trust you. A sense of community builds quickly when you’re involved in a dialogue that includes multiple interactions with your patrons.
3. Maintain Transparency
Let your customers know what you’re doing. Be upfront with them about what drives you. Tell them where you get your supplies and information. People don’t expect your intimate details, but they don’t want you to keep important secrets from them.
If you’re having troubles that are making your business suffer, let people know about it. They can’t stick with you through the hard times if they don’t know you’re having them. On the other hand it’s a good idea to be vocal about your successes. If your company worked hard and got another round of funding, let people know.
Spread the word when a windfall comes to you; let customers know when your business performs unusually well. People like a winner and enjoy being part of something that works. It’s not that you’re looking for a pat on the back; it’s just good to let customers know where you stand in relation to the rest of the field.
4. Display A Consistent Brand
Trust is built by consistency. You can’t be cold one day and hot the next. If you’ve shown you support a product, methodology or service, you can’t simply make it unavailable unexpectedly. If people come to you and see you have a certain way of doing things, you mustn’t suddenly adopt a whole new approach.
Even if you upgrade or relaunch your business, customers should still be able to identify your brand. Likewise, don’t say one thing but then do another. Your actions have consequences, and so do your words.
A business builds its brand over time, and the power of time is consistency. Once you become known for a way of doing business, people know they can trust you to deliver.
5. Be Original
Trust your own thoughts and your own ideas. No matter what sources or materials you use, the way you do business will be unique. Even a franchise duplicating a process used by thousands of venues will speak in the voice of its owners. Let the personality of your business shine through.
Social media is made for exhibiting a certain persona. The more your business takes direct ownership of its branding and presentation the more visitors will believe what they see is the real you.
6. Show Social Responsibility
Let people know you care about the world you inhabit. This can be anything from championing social causes to advocating changes in your industry. Consumers say time and again they prefer dealing with a business that shares their core values.
More than seventy eight percent of the public wants businesses to be involved in social issues. Another eighty seven percent make purchasing choices based upon shared beliefs with a company.
7. Work Openly With Colleagues
Get like minded businesses to partner with you and speak on your behalf. Praise from a third party carries more weight than tooting your own horn. Do joint ventures with other businesses, especially if it provides a benefit to your customers.
These liaisons paint your business as a thought leader and influencer. More importantly, the combined Internet linkage of the participating businesses carries your brand further than it can travel alone.