Trust is one of the major components needed to continue any form of successful relationship. Without it, people’s relationships tend to be halted at a stalemate and never have the room to progress.

The same goes for business to consumer relationships. However, the need for trust is much more of a vital aspect if the company is wanting to be successful. Without credibility, an organisation’s attempt at brand loyalty will forever remain an attempt, and not a success.

bigstock-Sea-Of-Hands-Showing-Unity-And-61933913-1 4 Great Ways Social Media can be used to Build Trust

The growing use of social media has now left companies with a great way to deeply interact and grow relationships with their consumers. The accessibility and quick response time now means that an organisation can pretty much immediately respond to any customer query or equally, join in on a discussion taking place on these channels. Take Innocent smoothies as an example; they are well renowned for being extremely active on their Twitter account, responding and posting useful content to their consumers on a regular basis. This has led to them now having over 190,000 followers and a very high trust rate.

Barn Raisers states that 82% of consumers trust a company more if they are involved with social media; this statistic alone suggests that even a presence on social media goes a long way to breaking down barriers and winning trust. However, if social media is not approached in the correct way, it can equally have damaging effects on a brand’s creditability.

Take Pepsi’s voodoo version of Ronaldo as an example:
ronaldo 4 Great Ways Social Media can be used to Build Trust

Pepsi released a video on social media, basically involving a voodoo doll version of Ronaldo being hit by a train on the tracks. This angered fans in Portugal, resulting in an anti-Pepsi Facebook group which gained over 100,000 fans. Some may argue that Pepsi wanted this response, as even negative publicity still builds on exposure of the brand however, personally, I feel as though taking part in this activity on such an unpredictable social platform is never going to end well. Not a good idea, Pepsi.

So how do you build strong trust with your consumers through social channels, without angering them or devaluing your brand? Below I have listed what I think are the four best things to do on social media to increase your credibility as a brand.

Sharing High Value Content

First things first; content. I’m sure you have read so many articles by now, regarding content being king, but it’s still worth mentioning so I’ll keep it short.

Don’t spout out invaluable pieces of content that nobody is interested in. There are millions of accounts that bombard users with content every single day. You need to make sure you are breaking through the clutter.

Research into your target audience on these social channels; identify their problems, motivations, interests and needs, then address them through your posts. Make sure the content is genuinely helping people in real life situations by sharing your expertise and knowledge, providing solutions or being a good source of entertainment for the consumer. There is no better way to build trust in my opinion.

For more information on creating good content, visit My Social Agency.

Being transparent

The great thing about having a presence on social media is that it provides you with direct exposure to your target audience. It is beneficial for a company to switch from a corporate mood into a more transparent and informal one.

Through social media, you are bound to encounter a variety of viewpoints relating to your brand. It is not unusual for consumers to occasionally slate a brand or offer conflicting opinions on social media platforms. The best thing to do in this case is take it on the chin and respond positively and in a transparent manner. Make sure you fully understand where they are coming from and are prepared to accept damaging blows.

Personally, if I were to complain about a brand on Twitter, I would much rather receive a transparent response, providing me with a solution or an apology, rather than no response at all or, equally, a generic automated response. Consumers want engagement, no matter what the situation is, so remember to never leave a bad review or rant unattended.

Have a Personality

Corporate attitudes and a non-engaging professional voice is no longer the way to interact with consumers. Long gone are the days of your brand speaking for itself. It is vital now that you give your brand a strong personality and promote this through your social media channels.

Consumers are in need of a public face, someone they can relate to and be comfortable to approach when they need help, or similarly they just want some engagement. Your brand needs to have a personality and a tone of voice.

Take Tesco Mobile as an example. Tesco are well known for their quirky attitude with their Twitter account. Tesco have fully embraced the fact that customers tend to look down on this network compared with other industry alternatives, and have turned it into a positive by adopting a funny and engaging persona. The conversation below is an example of the quirky attitude Tesco Mobile has implemented:

tesco 4 Great Ways Social Media can be used to Build Trust

For the full conversation, click here.

With all social media sites, it is imperative that you maintain a consistent and relevant tone of voice. Make sure that your brand is coming across as human, and not an automated robot. This doesn’t mean you have to opt for the fun, quirky route (however this really does work), but you just need to take into account who your target consumers are, and pick a tone of voice accordingly.

Showing emotions really elicits a sense of connection between the brand and its audience, thus going much further in building trust with your customers.

Social responsibility

Finally, a great way to win trust from your consumers is to demonstrate through your social channels how you care about others. For example. Marriot Hotels ran a check in campaign in which they donated £2 to charity for every guest that checks in. This is a great way to show your audience that you are not just there for profit, but also want to help others.

Nothing builds trust in someone as well as showing you are not a selfish person/brand. Social platforms are the best way to have this kind of charitable content spread fast, resulting in more exposure for your brand, as well as an increased level of trust from the consumer.