Posted August 12, 2010 7:46 pm by with 6 comments

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When it comes to trust online, it’s no surprise that people prefer the blogs of their friends, but according to a recent report on eMarketer, they’re a little suspicious of their friends’ Facebook streams, and when it comes to Twitter, fugetaboutit!

The study, which was conducted by Invoke, says that only 12% of the people surveyed completely trusted a friend’s Twitter stream, while more than double that number said they completely trusted a friend’s blog post. The numbers get even more dismal when it comes to brand blogs and brands on Facebook.

15% of the respondents in the survey even went so far as to say they distrust brand blogs somewhat. The really surprising result is that only 8% of the people said they completely trusted comments by fellow members of the same community.

What it adds up to is that we’re a mighty suspicious lifeform and that’s kind of sad. When it came to blog and Facebook posts by friends, the most chosen choice was “Trust Somewhat.” Somewhat? I know the old adage of ‘don’t believe everything you read,’ but do that many people really believe that their friends are up to no good? I suppose it comes down to the definition of trust. Maybe it’s not so much that we’re being lied to as we don’t trust Suzy’s taste in movies, so her recommendations are not to be believed. Then there’s your friend who always says he saw a famous person at the bar last night. TwitPics or it didn’t happen, buddy.

So if people can’t even trust their friends, what chance does a marketer have when hawking the benefits of his latest product?

37% of those surveyed said they’d be more trusting if the arena was open to both positive and negative comments. They also said that the quality of the content and the responsiveness of the author went a long way to solidifying the validity of any claims.

The number of fans, followers or participants was the least important factor which proves that those auto-Twitter Follow programs aren’t doing you any favors.

Looks like the only way to get around folks these days is with quality content and customer service. Oh, and telling the truth on a regular basis doesn’t hurt either.

  • An interesting aricle Cynthia.

    Building trust no matter what platform you are using is alway formost for anyone trying to gain respect and a quality list followers. Do people really read tweets? The majority of tweeters are spammers, so it’s important who you follow and who you allow to follow you.

    More trust will be gained all round as you said with “quality content and good customer service.” Readers are slowly learning who’s successful and who’s not to be trusted!

    Enjoyed the read!

    Sandy Moore

  • I think that people post to Twitter prematurely sometimes – kind of like speaking before you think. Blogs are typically thought out more thoroughly and give the person some time to mull over hitting the publish button…

    • I hadn’t thought of that and it’s very true. I know people who spend an agonizing amount of time on blog posts, choosing just the right words, but Twitter is like blurting out what you’re thinking in a room full of people. At some point, you’re bound to say something out loud that you wish you hadn’t.

  • I believe people will always trust blogs over Twitter. But in the same breath, people do read, communicate, and to some degree believe what is tweeted on Twitter. @jgwentworth

  • A commenter noted that sometime in mid-March, Twitter stopped using sequential IDs. So that big upswing that the below graphs currently show is partially artificial. I’m attempting to correct now. This is the danger of doing this type of analysis with “data” instead of data.

  • Some very intriguing data. If consumer trust of information presented via social media is that low, I can only imagine what consumers think of brand messaging they receive through more traditional channels. With social media still being quite new, hopefully trust will build over time – assuming companies adhere to social media best practices.