The factors that determine which brands we purchase from can be distilled into one simple statement: we purchase from those we like, know and trust. Trust has never been more important for brands, as they operate in an age where every word is forensically scrutinised and interrogated. Social media is no longer a communications medium, but an arena for judgement.
So far, we’ve covered truth and lies in social media. But for many brands, an important aspect of the social relationship is trust. Trust is “a social relationship where one invests resources, authority or responsibility in another on their behalf on some uncertain future return.” For consumers, this uncertain return relates to the products or services of a brand that we are not yet familiar with.
HOW do you establish trust in social media?
Trust is needed to mitigate a consumer’s feelings of uncertainty. A deep, trusting relationship is established over time through a number of shared positive experiences, and it can take just one bad experience to tarnish a trusting relationship with a customer. But there are things brands can do in social media that help establish a sense of trust, even before a personal relationship has been established with the customer.
WHY IS TRUST IMPORTANT?
When faced with a purchase decision we tend to predict the outcome of that purchase based on three factors: familiarity, confidence and trust. While trust may not always be the most relevant purchase consideration, feelings of trust can help inform customer decisions when familiarity and confidence are lacking. But without a sense of trust, customers simply won’t do business with you. If you don’t trust that a brand will deliver on its promises, the perceived risk is too high.
In the world of social media, your customers are quick to judge, and slow to forgive. The ability of brands to establish a trusting relationship can be the difference between success and social media infamy.
Leo Hennessy – Junior Strategist, The Works
Emilie Corish – Strategy Intern, The Works