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Creating Trust with Social Media

Creating trust with social media

In an effort to restore consumer trust in its platform, Facebook has announced a new data scrubbing tool. The tool will allow users to take control of their data by clearing their entire Facebook history. This new functionality, in addition to the news feed changes rolled out last year, could impact the ability of brands to reliably reach their target audiences.

Despite all of this, Facebook—and social media in general—remains a vital piece of any marketing strategy. But your brand may want to consider taking steps to develop deeper relationships with increasingly skeptical social media users.

Proactively Share Your Data Policies

Social media companies haven’t made things easy for brands using their platforms. Consumers see Facebook and other companies as incapable of safely managing user data. For some users, the distrust extends to brands that make use of social media platforms.

A good first step to build trust with your followers? Be open about how you manage user data! Don’t wait for official regulations to force your hand. Share your data usage policies with your followers and make them easily accessible on your website.

But, in itself, being open about your use of consumer data won’t help your brand stand above the social media platforms that consumers inherently distrust. Instead, look at how your social accounts can help reinforce two separate types of trust: affective trust and cognitive trust.

How to Build Affective Trust on Social Media

Earn affective trust by generating positive emotions through your brand interactions.

Posts that humanize your process, make an emotional appeal, or provide direct interaction with other users all help generate those positive emotions.

But what happens if your content appears next to content that users dislike or find offensive? While some of those negative vibes may rub off on your brand, don’t panic just yet. Help your followers get past those bad vibes by trying out these tips to boost the positive emotions associated with your brand:

  1. Actively moderate discussion
    1. Take opportunities to answer questions
    2. Acknowledge insightful user comments or funny jokes with a reaction or comment
    3. Showcase your customer service with a quick response to any defamatory remarks
  2. Running ads? Skip overused “sales” language and instead focus on authentic stories and appeals
  3. Humanize your brand
    1. Share behind-the-scenes posts of your employees and their personalities
    2. Showcase quality, user-created content
    3. Develop a sense of humor for your brand

Social media is the first place 45% of consumers go to ask questions or resolve issues.

How to Build Cognitive Trust on Social Media

Earn cognitive trust by developing a reputation for expertise and reliability.

Follower count and user reviews go a long way toward establishing cognitive trust with the average consumer. But you can dig a little deeper to form stronger bonds with your most engaged and influential social followers.

Creating forward-thinking content that positions your page as a hub for conversation will encourage highly-engaged followers to become ambassadors for your brand. Consider devoting time to these content creation strategies to help establish deeper cognitive trust in your brand:

  1. Create a Facebook group for users who are particularly knowledgeable about your product or service
    1. Share insightful content across both the group, page and other social platforms
    2. Use discussions in the group to generate new content ideas
    3. With permission, share specific user contributions
  2. Create a Subdomain on your website for deeper educational content surrounding your product or service
    1. Create a consistent content calendar for educational posts to share on social media
  3. Collaborate with trusted voices in your community or industry to create content

50% of consumers say that user-generated content increases the trustworthiness of a product

Consumer Trust Increases Organic Engagement

Making interaction with your brand an enjoyable, recurring behavior for consumers is about to become a lot more important. When Facebook finally releases its data scrubbing tool and data privacy laws inevitably tighten up, paid advertising may not have the same reliable reach.

Friends and family are the most trustworthy source of product recommendations for 77% of consumers and 34% of consumers make product recommendations on social media

Creating fun, informational and trustworthy touchpoints on social media and beyond will help your brand retain trust in an uncertain time for users. It will also bolster your reach online by encouraging your most engaged followers to become ambassadors for your brand, and—as a bonus—it’s fun to make!