Written on December 9, 2009 Leave a Comment |
Maybe you do, maybe you don’t, but that’s the bottom line in the Trust Economy. Trust is the new currency.
When you visit my website, it’s specifically designed to evoke a sense of trust in you. Look at that handsome face: he wouldn’t hurt a fly and you can trust this guy with your technology decisions. Just look at the books behind him; he must be fairly knowledgeable. What about all of this content – tons of information that help establish me as an expert to you, students, existing and potential clients.
When you visit my website, I have less than six seconds to impart a sense of trust and to get you to take interest, to read on, and to engage me. Six seconds. I’ve got six seconds to earn your Trust. This metric is called a Bounce Rate in web-parlance. If I have people visit then bounce out without reading my content, that’s where I’ve failed to capture their trust or their imagination. If they stick around for greater than two minutes, then I’ve done my job! I’ve got somebody who’ll likely be back, or, join my social network to listen to what I have to say in the future. I just earned their trust!
I’m not alone in this. Take a look around. Consider how businesses and brands building Trust online? How are you building Trust online? The number of people who follow you on Twitter; that’s trust! Your friends on Facebook; trust! Your blog’s subscribers and commenting public… yeah, trust!
Facebook and other forms of social media are all about Trust. When you ask to friend somebody, you’re given an option to decline; you need to trust that person before you let them into your “inner circle” of friends. On Linked-In, there are separate spheres of trust related to the degree of connection. In some cases, we password protect our online content from others. If you have the password, we trust you.
When you’re online at Amazon and you’re looking at a book – you’re likely to read the contributed reviews from some of Amazon’s users. Why? Because you “trust” their opinions, and in some cases, even more than a corporate opinion.
With social media, we get to decide who gets into our social circle. In some cases, like Facebook, the moment we let you into that circle we immediately share a lot of Personal Private Information (PPI) about ourselves: education, marriage status, kids, incomes… incredibly important demographics to any serious marketer. And who else wants to be your trusted friend and a part of your social circle? Brands! The data that can be mined from Facebook and other sites like it is a gold-mine of consumer preferences and tastes that can shape an eventual marketing message to you. Heck – they’d love for you to become a fan so they can push you email alerts, status updates, and importance announcements that relate to their product. Pssh – And you thought Facebook was around because it was just cool? Nah – Facebook is a sweet, delicious data warehouse of invaluable demographic and psychographic information. Hmm… munch munch – tasty!
If you’re using social media as a means to get closer to your consumers, constituents, or potential clients, donors, or audience, here’s a couple of Trust tests:
1. What are you saying to them that induces Trust? How does your message become more than a sales-pitch but a conversation?
2. What are you providing to them that inspires Trust? How does your content become greater than an ad? How does it educate and inform?
3. What are you doing with the WIIFM Principle (What’s In It For Me)? How are you relating your brand, service, products to the day-to-day concerns of your clients?
4. What are you doing that could damage Trust? How are you ignoring your customers, dismissing them, shutting them down, preventing them from being successful with you?
Conversations, opinions, statements, press releases, content, pictures, alerts, video, in-depth ideas explored in blogs and white papers… these are the things that get closer to the consumer. They are means of developing and promoting Trust. Trust is earned. Brands that earn Trust earn a right to be as close to consumers as possible. It becomes a badge of acceptance, an honor. Those brands become part of the consumer’s community – communities that reach, extend, and shape the behaviors, opinions, wants, desires, and eventually, their actions.
If you’re in charge of a social media campaign, forget your financial ROI’s – forget all of that crap we learned in business school. Instead, consider how to measure Trust: the new currency of the networked economy. Trust me.