Maybe it’s social media overload or the fact that Facebook pages are so easy to start, but few are the brands that enjoy much audience trust as a result.
Even the local podiatrist adds “Check out our Facebook page!” on the sign outside his office. But do people check out his page? And if they do, would they trust what they see there as anything but unadulterated advertising-speak?
Facebook and Twitter understandably promote their respective platforms in order to garner the revenue that comes when brands spend money with them. And who isn’t on LinkedIn today?
Interestingly, something called “Edelman’s Trustbarometer” has for the past few years shown that people are more likely to trust academics, internal experts in a company, and other people who are “like them.”
So — how to boost the trust factor?
People trust stories and facts from folks who don’t have a bottom line vested interest in promoting a product or service. True, employees of a company may prosper if the business takes off, but in general consumers trust these people as more unbiased commentators who “know the inside scoop.”
In other words, a testimonial from a customer known in your market or an employee who actually works there might pack a bigger punch in trustworthiness.
Employees, after all, have their own Facebook pages and Twitter accounts and LinkedIn profiles. They can use them not only to promote themselves, but also the fortunes of the businesses for which they work (not by coercion, of course).
For instance, the tech industry is ahead of the pack in empowering employees to join in social media conversations. Brands like IBM and Google are at the forefront of this, understanding that these “inside voices” are seen as credible by a majority of consumers.
It doesn’t mean a business should abandon its social media marketing. But the trust barometer does suggest that there are ways to expand the outreach. Including employees, staffers, experts in the company can go a long way toward pushing the needle on the barometer up.