Not all of us are big fans of Math formulae.

But after reading this article, you’d get hooked on to one particular formula.

What is it you ask?

Trust. It is one of the most essential factors in building social media communities.

Social media today isn’t merely a platform for promotion. It’s a two way street for communication. Gone are the days when your conversations were limited largely to people who you knew in person. With the social media revolution, you have been provided with an opportunity to voice your opinions to people across the world, in a manner that is uncensored.  Thus, it is up to you to create a sense of trust around your brand through these interactions, leading to a more meaningful relationship with your customers, which in turn encourages repeat purchases and referrals.

What are the ingredients of a successful trust formula?

Trust =  Authority x Helpfulness x Intimacy

                             Self-Promotion

The trust formula uses four objective variables to measure trustworthiness, namely, Authority, Helpfulness, Intimacy & Self- Promotion.

Let’s dig into each variable a little more.

Authority: Authority or an expertise in a particular industry or a certain topic is what gains people’s trust instantly. The quality of the content you produce and the way you share your opinions and advice when you join a conversation, demonstrates your level of expertise. As an authoritative pundit, you need to keep yourself updated with all that is happening around you and provide your insights on a recurring basis.

Helpfulness: Social media platforms help in community building. People who are a part of this community are guaranteed to trust people who have the qualities of reliability and helpfulness. Thus you need to ensure that your brand caters to every one of your customers’ queries or shares content that might enrich the minds of the people in your community. This will automatically result in your brand coming out as a clear winner

Intimacy: This is basically bringing in the ‘human element’. You as a person will naturally trust someone who you know very well. Thus, it is important to showcase your brand’s human nature to the customers. This can be done by communicating your story to the customers, thus bringing your brand’s personality forward.

Self-Promotion: Every time you post content that promotes your own brand, the trust factor declines majorly. Thus let’s observe how authority, helpfulness & intimacy can help in doing self-promotion the right way. 

Authority is the key

Be proactive about joining conversations, in order to update yourself regarding the latest developments or happenings in your field or industry. This will help you share insights & opinions in a better manner. Monitor keywords and hashtags across all the different social media platforms, in order to know what people are talking about so that you can join in as well. 

Being an authority or an expert, you’d be the go-to resource for all the activities happening in your realm. Actively follow what your partners, competitors, and other people in the industry are sharing related to that particular piece of news and then share your view/article. When you’re sharing a third-party article/view, make sure that you credit them accordingly, so that you maintain a good relationship with the source as well.

Helpfulness, the ultimate charm

In order to score in the area of trust, try and respond to every tweet directed at you. This would require you to actively monitor all your social media platforms. It is practically impossible to manually reply to each and every tweet and also solve problems publicly. In that case, fret not! Direct your customers to a customer support service by providing them the email address or phone number, where their problem will be solved in a detailed and efficient manner.

Not everyone knows that patience is virtue. That’s why be sure to respond as quickly as possible. Studies show that 65% of the customers expect a response within two hours of voicing their woes. But unfortunately, only 20% of brands respond at that rate. It is believed that customers tend to take negative actions in case this response rate is not followed. They either decrease their frequency of buying, post negative reviews online or spread negative word of mouth. Conversely, if the response rate is quick, the benefits are a plenty including product recommendations, positive word of mouth and brand loyalty.

In case you’re not able to monitor your social media all the time, ensure that you do not set expectations in the minds of your customers. Do not post during times where you wouldn’t be able to respond- people see that you’re online but you aren’t responding. In such situations, make sure that you post only when you’re online.

Build meaningful relationships

People feel comfortable interacting with other humans and not companies. Thus adding the human touch to your brand is very important.  Show people that they are interacting with other people. For example, if a customer raises an issue, say something like “Hi, I’m Ted and would be happy to guide you through this problem. Please leave me a mail on this id”. When you introduce yourself, you signify the fact that they are talking to a person and not to a company. You also come across as polite and humble.

When you make mistakes, make sure you admit them because to err is human and with the fast paced social media revolution, mistakes are bound to happen. Owning up to mistakes, makes people relate to you more.

Self-Promote, the right way

First step towards healthy self-promotion is introspection. Look at your existing social feed. Are majority of your posts aimed at promoting your own products and services? Or are they interactive posts, engaging with your followers and sharing credited third party articles?  Being valuable and using positive language to enhance your brand’s personality are the ingredients to a wise self-promotion technique.

Make self-promotion fun by using attractive images or funny GIFs to portray your playfulness.

Thus, what it all comes down to, is being human. Focusing on others first is the single most effective way to gaining trust.

Now you do the math. How do you score on social media trust?

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