Ben Wise on Branding

Watching the world through the lens of the brand

Gaining Trust on Social Networks

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Last week eMarketer released some great data about brands and social networking.  It should come as no surprise that the most trustworthy source for information about brands on social networks is from other consumers. It has long been known that peers are the most credible voice and this is no different on social networks. Brands themselves actually place a close second (32% vs 38%), which is much better that I would have guessed.

But the real implication for brands is about how to gain consumers’ trust on social networks. There are two steps in doing so. First, since both brands and consumers are seen as fairly credible sources, your brand must create a community where conversations occur among consumers in which the brand has an ongoing role.

This makes use of both influential groups in a way that is already naturally occurring in the eco-systems created by social networks. There are lots of tools and platforms to create and take part in these conversations, but Facebook and Twitter remain at the top of the list (mostly because of their size).

The second part, and much more important than the first, is that brands must provide something positive for consumers to discuss online. Essentially, this means that you must offer a remarkable product or service – something that is worth talking about. This comes back to viewing your brand as a business system. It is not enough to say how great you are, your entire business system must be set up to deliver this greatness. Amazing customer service? Really innovative products? A great shopping experience? These are the kinds of things that will start positive conversations on social networks.

Once the conversation starts, and it doesn’t matter who starts it as long as it in a genuine interaction between the brand and consumers, it will be seen as a credible source of information on your brand. The flip side is that if you offer something that is sub-par, consumers will talk about that too. And then it won’t matter what you say, people will only see the negative side of your brand.

I know, this is pretty common sense (or at least it should be). But the reality is that it happens far too infrequently.

What do you think? Are you giving consumers something to talk about online?


Written by benwisebranding

April 5, 2010 at 2:21 pm

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