Nowadays, you can trust the things you see on social media. People are building their ability to discern, and part of this is developing a handful of sources and social media accounts they actually listen to.
For marketers, these landscape movements are affecting industry practices. Brands should also bolster their own credibility and work at being part of the select group their target market listens to. This is a two-pronged goal, as brands have to 1) work on the quality and authenticity of their content and 2) build a more sincere relationship with their consumers. It’s a “content + community” play.
Want to get the hang of things? Here are some tips.
Strong customer service via social media
Remember how social media was founded. Social media became the world-altering hit it’s become now because of its ability to connect—whether it’s two old friends meeting again, gaining new people in your network, or consumers having a direct line to brands.
One of the most effective ways brands can use social media to reach consumers is by delivering helpful customer service. Via your messaging, communicate to your audience that if they have any concern, they could message your brand via your channels.
Work out a schedule internally on what time do you check for customer concerns. Do you do it every hour or two? Twice a day? Or you just play it by ear and decide as the concerns come along? What’s important is you work on a system.
Build a connection
Based on the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer report, a study with more than 3,000 respondents, 39% said that they were unlikely to become emotionally attached to a brand unless they were interacting and communicating with them via social media.
Besides providing robust and consistent customer service via social media, another way to bolster your brand’s connection to your audience is by sourcing your content from them. This can be as simple as observing what your followers are talking about on social regarding your brand. (e.g., What are their favorite features? What’s lacking, and what are they looking for?) Expound on these findings via your content and marketing materials.
Your brand can also crowdsource. Involve readers in content creation. Repost user-generated content, ask for contributions, use brand lovers via testimonials and video interviews.
Your brand should make your readers feel like they are more than mere consumers. Make them know that you consider them as partners.
Quality and transparency is key
With content, credibility comes from verifiability. In a survey conducted by Kentico, almost half (46%) of readers say that a brand’s trustworthiness is lost if they could not verify their sources.
Quality content is verifiable and trustworthy. To further give strength to whatever you argue or describe in your content, show sources that can corroborate the information you provide.
If you are doing sponsored or paid content, make sure your audiences know about it. People don’t like hard sells, and according to Digital Marketing Magazine, mentioning a product or a service lessens trust in 3 out of 10 readers.
Go for simple nudges. Interesting content should come out on top instead of simple sales pitches. But if you have to talk about your product, just like with citing your sources, use established voices and industry experts to keep things credible.
Social media is ever-changing, and you have to keep up with the newest types of content to stay afloat.
Don’t be afraid to experiment, leverage on all available features. It’s possible that the best way to tell your story (and build your credibility as a brand in the process) is via the newly available features of a social media platform.
On Instagram, experiment with IGTV, short-form, and vertical videos. Try using Boomerang, stickers, and encourage your audience to use your hashtag. This way, you make your brand appear versatile.
This will also give you metrics that teach you what works for your brand. Use this data to develop insights and refine your future content. By building your name as a brand, you also make yourself a credible player on social media.
Lastly, “consistency is key” will never go out of style. 51% of social media users unfollow brands that rarely post or post irritating promotional content.
Just as your brand should work on an internal schedule when it comes to addressing customer concerns online, so should you plan a schedule in rolling out content via your social media channels. Consistently push out content that’s interesting, insightful, and inspiring.
You can also look at creating a scheduled series (e.g., a career-related video series every Monday, inspirational posts every Sunday). This way, you give audiences something to look forward to, building a relationship with your brand along the way.
Building brand credibility can’t be done overnight. Just like any relationship, it’s a process that banks on little gestures that gain trust. Be consistent, put out quality content, let audiences know that you listen and that they can reach out to you. Eventually, your audience will be confident enough to put their trust in you.