According to Nielsen's trust in advertising report, recommendations from family and friends exceeds the next highest form of communication, branded websites, by fifteen percentage points. It does not take a background in psychology to hypothesize why that might be.
Relationships with human beings are built on a foundation of respect. We listen to one another, make compromises when necessary and show appreciation when appropriate. All of these things are what lead to a healthy relationship with hallmarks like open communication and trust.
Trust and Building Relationships In The Digital Age
In the age of social media and Web 2.0, brands have to coexist in the space where human beings communicate with one another. In a rush to forge connections, many brands have skipped the steps required to build a meaningful relationship and they find themselves shouting about their products and service in an empty room.
Consumers care now, more than ever, about the products or services you offer and the value it can add to their lives, but they don't want to hear it from a brand they don't trust. In fact, they simply won't hear it from a brand they don't trust. Quirk's Media found that a mere 22 percent of women and only 30 percent of men trust advertising at all. When you make claims about your products or services, consumers are instinctively going to look for trusted sources through which they can verify what you've said. If your claims can't be verified, your chances of convincing a consumer to trust your brand or purchase your product are virtually nonexistent.
False (or unverifiable) claims are not the only kind of online behavior that turn consumers off of a brand. With so much information bombarding people on the internet, often the very tactics brands are using to stand out are what lead to their accounts being ignored, unfollowed, or even blocked.
Successful Social Marketing
With millions of people on social media platforms and an equal number of brands vying for attention, we, as marketers, stand to lose when we are pitted against the living, breathing peers of our target audience that we share the space with. So how do we make our efforts meaningful to our audience?
When it comes to reaching consumers online, they want the same things out of a brand that they want out of a friend. A recent Sprout Social study lists the top three behaviors consumers want to see from brands on social media as honesty, friendliness, and helpfulness. Less than half of the consumers polled were interested in the brands being humorous, on trend, or even politically correct. What this means is that we have to step outside of our perfectly packaged box of product statistics and provide consumers with the real people who are behind the brand persona that can offer meaningful interactions.
A Trusted Brand
When you befriend a human being, you do not repeatedly share all the reasons why you are the best choice and all the benefits one will reap by being friends with you. Yet, this is how many brands attempt to forge connections with their desired audience. On paper, it is easy to see why this strategy is ineffective at best. Building a relationship and developing trust with your consumers starts with knowing who they are. As marketers, it is our job to show (not tell) our target audience that we understand their pain points, that we've been in their shoes, and that, through our experiences, we can relate to what they are going through. It's no longer about your product and what you can do for your consumers, it's about your consumer and what they want from you.
This kind of authenticity is what makes your communication stand out in the crowd, whether that is on social media, in a print ad or at a major event. Regardless of how you are reaching your consumer, what you say is what matters the most. You cannot make someone trust your brand, you have to earn it.
If you're interested in building a meaningful relationship with your consumers, FiG Advertising + Marketing can help. Through genuine communication, you can earn trust from your audience.