While every business is realizing that Social Media is a powerful and dominating marketing channel, most fail to realize one of the basic, underlying principles of effective communication: trust. In order to effectively utilize social media to reach audiences, build relationships and grow your business you must understand the importance of trust.
Most business jump on Twitter and Facebook and start promoting their products and services without ever taking the time to learn about their followers. This is primarily where they fail. In order to build an online reputation you must gain their trust. The following are 5 simple tips to help you gain trust.
1. Meaningful and Relevant Content
Content is the most effectively way of attracting audiences. Blogging is the easiest way of developing content. Create posts and articles that are relevant to your industry and your clientele. More importantly, create useful content. If people find that your articles can help them conduct business than they are more likely to follow, engage and use your products/services.
2. Be Transparent
Most business feel that it is absolutely necessary to be 100% business online. This is a mistake. Nobody wants to follow bots online, we want real people to connect with. Be human. Interact with people, listen, speak, engage, and most of all, try to be a friend and not a sales man.
3. Say Thank You
Anytime somebody retweets one of my tweets I make it a point to thank them personally. This small touch is more effectively than you could ever imagine. This is the kind of act that enables a businesses to be more personal with customers.
4. Actively Engage With the Community
A lot of people like to tweet away without ever reading what others are tweeting. In order to gain trust, it’s importantly to actively engage with the community. Take some time to read what others are discussing and jump into the conversation. Remember that Twitter is public, and all those conversations are public, so why not jump in at any time and discuss…even if it’s not about your industry. People like diversity, and people trust people with diverse, intelligent backgrounds.
5. Become an Expert
In order to build trust in your industry, you need to be an expert. Blogging, link sharing, bookmarking, interacting and online engagements are the best way to accomplish this. If you read a great article you should share it on Twitter, Facebook, Delicious, Digg, etc. and let your customers know about it. Likewise, you should make it a point to write blog posts, tips and notes that expose your expertise in the industry. Don’t be afraid to give away some tips and advise for free.
5. Advise, Don’t Sell
When discussing industry relevant issues, make sure never to sell your product or services. It’s more important that you advise people. Once you’ve become an expert in your field you should strive to provide as much advise as possible, allowing people to decide for themselves. If they trust your brand than there is nothing you should worry about.