BEING TRUSTWORTHY IS NEVER ENOUGH – 3 OBSERVATIONS
Whether we are discussing an individual or a business – being trustworthy is important, but it is never enough. It is only a start – important, but just a start.
Every purchase ever made, every relationship ever established, and every referral ever provided was based not on reality, but rather on perception. Even when the reality and the perception are as one – it remains the perception that influences the behaviour. The reality simply influences the behaviour.
In 2016, there is a range of other factors that influences perception including: what other people say. In this regard, social media is essential in terms of creating the perception of trust, demonstrating trust, and defending that trust.
With this in mind, your social media strategy and resources devoted to social media are critical. The strategy must give due consideration to demonstrating the trustworthiness of an individual or business on the basis of criteria valued by the market. It also needs to incorporate guidelines regarding how negative publicity will be:
- Responded to
Social media, good and bad, needs to be closely monitored. Both positive and negative media needs to be responded to responsibly, transparently and without emotion. Publicity not consistent with building trust should not be deleted but rather responded to in a way that enhances trust. That is, it should be recognised with thanks, responded to constructively, and the communicator should be invited to comment on the response.
The online environment is an interesting one as it tends to be the environment in which many consumers have the least trust. Many consumers seem to struggle with a medium where they cannot see, or verbally interact with, the person they are dealing with. For this reason, particular attention needs to be paid to developing trust in the online environment. One useful strategy is to actively engage openly, transparently, consistently, and warmly using social media inline with a well-structured social media strategy.
Other strategies for enhancing trust online might include:
- Using high quality design
- Humanizing your presence
- Providing full contact information
- Ensuring there are no broken links etc.
- Employing relevant certification
- Engaging well known partners
- Incorporating testimonials
- Offering money back and trust arrangements
- Updating the site as regularly as possible
- Responding to enquiries quickly and warmly
It is harder to establish trust online, and so, the strategy needs to be well thought through, well implemented, and closely monitored.
- Trust results from demonstration not articulation.
- Managing social media is central to building and maintaining trust.
- A well-considered strategy is required to establish online trust.