Posted October 19, 2010 4:13 pm by with 6 comments

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Share on FacebookBuffer this page

In light of  the recent privacy breech on Facebook, it’s no wonder most internet users don’t trust social media. Only 16% have faith, says a study by Vision Critical with forums and blogs scoring even lower.

Who do we trust? The only online source is news, I’m assuming they mean from a known source such as CNN or the New York Times. TV, radio and print all came in much higher on the trustworthy scale.

Seeing as most of us are using social media for marketing, how do you get over the trust hurdle? The key is responsiveness. Says Professor Judy Olson,

“In e-mail, Linkedin and Facebook messages, much of the traditional markers of trust, such as voice intonation and body language, are hidden. . .  when only text is available, participants judge trustworthiness based on how quickly others respond.”

She recommends always sending a quick response to any queries, even if it’s only to say you’ll follow up with a more detailed response at a later date.  It’s a simple step but easy to ignore.

Another commonly mentioned issue is transparency. Folks are more likely to trust what you’re putting on Facebook if they know where it’s coming from. Are you a real person? Do you have a home base of operations? Use a real photo of yourself on your social media accounts and make sure there are plenty of ways to contact you. Not everyone is comfortable dashing off a complaint in a Twitter message, but you want to give them every opportunity to get it off their chest and get help.

One of the simplest and most overlooked ways to gain trust is by saying thanks. I’m guilty of this and it’s not because I’m not thankful, it’s just. . . well, honestly, I don’t know why I don’t do it more often.

This morning, I was talking with a group of colleagues who mentioned that they get annoyed when they aren’t thanked for an RT on Twitter. To me, that’s odd. I don’t need six more Tweets thanking me for passing on information I thought was useful. Apparently, I’m in the minority on this. So, right now, let me stop and say thanks to all of you who retweet my posts here at Marketing Pilgrim.

The point of all this prattle, is that to most folks, social media is one entity, so when Facebook gets caught with its hand in someone’s private pocket, we all get punished with a lack of trust. Make sure your efforts stand out by not ignoring these blunders. Tell your customers that their information is safe. Tell them you’re there to answer questions, and most importantly, tell them thanks for their patronage.

Trust me, it’s good business.

  • I bet that social media is good, even world bank now will hire a social media company to promote. It is very interesting, I am not sure about the different type of social media between Linkedin and Facebook.

  • Thanks for retweets? Are your colleagues in it for the helping of others or to hear their own name? That’s why people don’t trust. Once you see how selfish the whole social media environment is you realize that it is no different than the rest of the world and you have to keep your guard up, thus trust less. That’s too bad.

    • Cynthia

      I was thinking more about this RT thing today and realized that you don’t get notified of a RT, you have to watch the “mentions” and is it really important to take the time to look them all up and respond.

      I do think it’s good to thank customers but you could spend your whole day acknowledging the work of others and never get your own work done.

  • Mohammad Ali

    I agree with you. Social media is good and can be used in a legal and beneficial manner for monetary gains as well. However, the way this is being carried out by facebook is extremely wrong. I hear about a very good example of how it can be used for this purpose is MyCube which is the worlds first Social Exchange

  • Social media is boost very fast in the world.Now days many business man or business organization use the social media for marketing and other purpose to his benefit at best level.

  • Sheila

    Amen, Cynthia, to a prompt acknowledgement and ‘thank you.’ I’m with you on not needing them for RTs. But for marketers using social media sites, it’s a sure fire trust builder. It says “We’re listening. We hear you,” even if you can’t answer the question immediately.