… by Susan Payton
Brands are quickly jumping on the bandwagon of social media, but unfortunately many of them don’t understand the ultimate goal: to build trust with consumers. That’s right: social media isn’t about getting new customers, sales or followers. It’s about showing that your brand is trustworthy and building a relationship with new and potential customers.
Case in point: I was asking advice on Twitter. A guy representing his brand (I won’t mention him by name) responded with the answer, followed by a request to check out his company. I was instantly turned off. But rather than just ignore it, I decided to call him out.
I responded by telling him I appreciated his answer, but that it wasn’t cool Twittiquette to push his brand at me. He apologized, saying he was new at Twitter. I instantly forgave him and gave him a few tips for building trust on Twitter:
- Offer links to interesting articles (not necessarily your own)
- Answer people’s requests for help (he got that right)
- Engage in and start conversations
- Get off the topic of your industry and be human!
Now, had he instead answered my question and started a conversation with me, I would have looked up his Twitter profile. As it was, I never did.
Getting Your Priorities Straight
If you jumped into social media with the explicit goal of getting more business, you’re going to be disappointed. But if you are there to give your brand a voice in another channel (the more channels, the merrier), then you have a shot at building that trust. After all, you can’t get cast for the lead role if you’re not auditioning. Consider your presence a necessity, and an opportunity to get to know your potential customers.
Social media can be a great sounding board. Got a new product idea? See if it’ll sink or swim by tweeting out a survey on it. Ask people what they’d want in a product like yours. The point is to be there and use your social media time wisely. From here, you’ll see people turn to you for advice and purchases as you build that trust.
Susan Payton is the President of Egg Marketing & Public Relations, an Internet marketing firm specializing in blogger outreach, social media, and PR. She is also the blogger behind The Marketing Eggspert Blog and guest blogs on Mashable and Small Business Trends.
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