The rising popularity of social media has had a tremendous impact in the world of business. Brands make use of the various social media platforms to make themselves known. Although social media can appear to be something new and exciting, at the core it is all about public relations.
The only difference is in the method of applying the techniques of relationship-building by using new channels of communication. These days you would be hard-pressed to find a brand that does not have a social media presence, as each brand is trying out its own ways of building relationships with their target audience.
In order to achieve the ultimate objective of building relations that can lead to loyalty through engagement, the element that is the most essential to fostering long-term relationships, is trust.
Trust can bind relationships and can help to take the relationship to much higher levels.
Relationships thrive on trust
Trying to engage the audience prior to taking measures of trust-building is essentially putting the cart before the horse. Trust is the foundation of this relationship, which will lead to engagement.
By using social media, it is easy to reach out to the audience and start communicating with them. Starting the dialogue marks the beginning of the relation-building process, as the audience can get closer to the business entities to understand and know it better.
Since there is enormous scope of interacting directly and immediately with the audience, social media provides ample opportunity to gain the trust and confidence of the audience.
Have a voice for your brand
Although the relationship is between brands and humans, the approach should be the same as that of any other human relationships. The audience would like to be related to the humans who uphold the brand, and trust the people behind it. To make this happen, the language of communication should have two distinct elements:
- The writing style and choice of words should be such that it creates a typical voice that can be related to the particular brand. The tone of writing should create closeness with viewers.
- The unique style of writing and its tonality should be representative of the brand so that by simply looking at the text, the brand visuals should surface in the minds of the audience. This is deemed as the voice of the brand that the audience can recognise and relate easily.
Build brand credibility
The way you communicate with the audience matters a lot in building brand credibility. Since you are keen to build relations, the language of communication should be accepted by the audience. Speak in a way that lends a personality to the voice that helps to get closer to the audience and make them believe in what you say.
The content should provide some value to the audience. It should be able to provoke them to think. So, the content needs to be informative enough to educate them, encourage them to debate it and even allow them to provide feedback that is honest. It should never talk about selling products or services.
By establishing your expertise on the subject, you are able to make the brand more credible to the audience. Speaking in a voice that the audience can relate to, and consistently presenting quality content, adds to the credibility of the brand.
Show that you are accountable
Trust means that you stand by the cause; come what may. By allowing the audience to provide honest feedback, you are increasing the level of trust. The attitude reflects your honesty in interacting with the audience with the readiness to accept anything adverse that may be spoken about the topic under discussion.
This demonstrates your conviction in what you say and highlights your accountability about it. That you are ready to stand by the products, services and your words gives a lot of confidence to the audience that eventually boosts the trust level.
Be responsive and get back quickly
That you are encouraging customers to interact with the brand, gives you the opportunity of providing great service cross the vast expanse of social media. As you have made your intention clear about accountability, you should not fear to face the audience to address any issues or complaints raised by them.
Though complaints might seem like negative reactions of customers, they can be converted to favourable testimonials if you address it properly and resolve the issue – it demonstrates your mastery on the subject.
However, responses have to be quick to gain more trust.
Be a thought-leader
Building networks and gaining followers is not at all difficult if you take the easy path of sharing current and popular posts. But this does not allow the brand to be seen through the maze of other brands.
What is difficult but important for trust building is to position the brand as a thought leader to raise visibility. Become a trend-setter by posting original and unique content that the audience engages with. Your ideas have to be original and thought-provoking that people would like to share with others.
Do not shy away from revealing the operations of your business to the extent that it does not harm your business interest. Being able to get closer to a company increases its trustworthiness with the audience.
Do not try to remove negative comments like complaints about your products or services. Respond to it sincerely to demonstrate your good intentions with nothing to hide.
Building trust on social media takes time. It is not an easy (or quick) process and has to be well thought out and carefully implemented. Why the audience would feel like trusting you has to be analysed, and steps taken to ensure that the right moves are made.