Many businesses use social media to promote their business and engage with their target audience. They hire designers, writers and social media experts to build a strong brand through a creative communication strategy.
Social media provided a level playing field to small businesses and individuals to compete with established brands and make a name for themselves without spending a fortune on their marketing efforts. Over time, the platforms became highly competitive and cluttered.
Today, building trust on social media is an uphill task for new businesses. Not all new ventures can afford to hire the top rated professionals to develop unique messaging. And yet, they have to become a reliable brand on social media to survive and thrive.
When you don’t have deep pockets, time and patience become your best friends. In real life, you consistently need to do genuine work to win the trust of the people. There is no shortcut; you have to be patient, take a stand and sacrifice short term gains to become an authentic voice in society. The same goes for building trust on social media.
No matter what business you are in, there are three things that you must do to become trustworthy on social media:
1) Be Accountable
As a business or an individual, you must be accountable for your actions, policies, products, services, or communication. The accountability is not meant only for customers. You have to be responsible towards your employees as well.
Through social media messaging, you need to prove that you are accountable for any action you or your employees take. Admit your mistake when necessary and ensure that the same doesn’t get repeated. If you are selling products or services of other brands (if you are a trader or brokerage firm), you have to be accountable for whatever information you provide to your customers.
In certain cases, you may not control the behavior of buyers or sellers. However, you need to handle the situation with complete responsibility and show this to your social media audience through appropriate messaging.
2) Be Transparent
Transparency develops trust. Being transparent is the easiest way to build trust in real life as well as on social media. However, being transparent is also tricky for the business. You can’t be 100% open, as it will go against your business interest to share everything publicly. However, you need to decide the degree of transparency you are willing to adopt to build trust. Some companies publish their income reports on their websites to build trust among their target audiences. This is an instance of a high level of transparency. Some of the businesses show real working and internal processes through videos, images or blogs. They hide the critical parts whereas show what is relevant for end users. This is the middle level of transparency. You need to decide whether you want to show a low, middle or high level of transparency to build trust for your brand.
3) Be Authentic
This is the most basic requirement for being trustworthy. Being authentic means being true to yourself. The Internet is full of expert articles and contents that shows how to do everything in your life. However, readers believe very few of these blogs.
If you want your content to be read and liked by the people, then be honest while writing. Don’t exaggerate the benefits of your products or services. No one can advise you on how to become authentic. You simply need to write your feeling and experiences honestly to become a trustworthy person or business.
If you change your stand to please a particular audience, then you will be like the politicians; loved by some and hated by others but trusted by none. The choice is obviously yours.
It takes years to build trust — and five minutes to destroy it. Therefore, every word or graphic posted on your social media page should adhere to certain standards set by you. It doesn't mean that you should be afraid of making mistakes. It simply implies that being original and sincere towards your customers is an effective way of building a brand.
You can't buy trust. However, you can definitely sell a trustworthy brand at a premium price.
Have a long-term vision and be patient to deal with short-term hiccups and disappointments to build an ever enduring brand on social media.