Trust is perhaps one of the most difficult, if not the most difficult, qualities you can earn as a brand. You can spend all the money in the world marketing your company or product, and you may even see some decent returns while doing so, but what does it all mean without trust?
If consumers don’t view you or your product as trustworthy after an initial purchase or glance, I’m sorry to inform you that your bubble is probably going to burst soon. For example, health and safety concerns with fast-casual restaurant brand Chipotle have resulted in a sales hit compared to last year and a knock-on effect of trust amongst Millennials. At the same time, brands such as Nike and Apple continue to thrive at the top of the trust tree.
Building and subsequently earning the trust of your audience leads to retention, aka the golden goose of the marketing world. With retention comes repeated sales, clicks, views, etc., but more so the ability to branch out and try new things knowing that you have people on your side who are willing to try those new things you put out.
The process of becoming trustworthy isn’t easy and it isn’t quick, but there are tried-and-true methods of doing so that your brand can follow to get there.
1. Have an actual conversation
The idea that a “conversation is a two-way street” is a cliche, but it’s a cliche for a reason: it’s the truth. You can’t simply talk at your audience and expect them to listen without first understanding and listening to the people who may be interested in whatever it is you’re selling.
Open up the lines of communication not only by responding to tweets and Facebook posts but also by implementing initiatives that encourage a lively discussion. One great example of this is #contentchat, a weekly Twitter conversation that involves numerous content marketing experts answering and asking questions related to the industry. This isn’t even for a specific brand, per se, but it demonstrates a fantastic approach to creating and encouraging chatter amongst an audience.
Also, you don’t have to necessarily always be the one to create or lead a conversation. You can can just join one to show that you’re actively involved with your community and are interested in what they’re talking about.
Tip: It’s easier said than done and is certainly obvious, but make sure to respond to people on social media, in blog comment sections and anywhere else that’s applicable.
2. Show that you care
It’s one thing to join a conversation, but it’s another to actually help people as part of that discussion. By solving problems faced by your audience, you’ll show that you actually care about them and want to make their lives better instead of simply wanting to sell them something all the time.
There are many ways you can accomplish this, too. You can use tools like Answer the Public or SEO keyword research to see the questions people are asking so you can answer them on your website or social media feed.
You can also browse through social media to see what people are talking about and, more importantly, what they’re struggling with so that you can potentially present them with a solution.
Tip: Or you can go one step further and encourage them to respond directly. Whether that’s through engagement focused hashtags or prompting questions on social media, focus groups or user surveys, insight into your target audience is key. This idea actually ties into the next point…
3. Don’t leave your audience in the dark
So you’re engaging with your users and everything seems to be going well, right? That’s great! But then your initiative starts to fall by the wayside and it’s suddenly three months later and… no one’s really engaging with you anymore.
Consistency is the key when it comes to retention, because you’re not going to entice people to continue coming to your site without giving back to them. This can be difficult at times, especially during those busy months, but it’s crucial that you keep a steady stream of content flowing and put a process and schedule in place.
Tip: If you have someone on your team who’s dedicated to handling feedback in blog comments or a series of articles, it may be time to diversify and get others on board. This can help you stop people from burning out and keep your initiatives going strong.
4. Keep it clean
This isn’t about avoiding dirty words or profanity in your marketing, though you may want to tone it down if it seems contrived. This is all about making sure your brand copy is grammatically up to snuff, because few things cry “untrustworthy!” like a bunch of misspellings and grammatical errors. It can also show that you may not care enough about what you’re writing to make sure it’s clean.
Yes, mistakes can and will happen. However, if you’re hoping to position a big piece of content, a social ad or anything in between as a game-changer for your marketing efforts, it better be clean. Otherwise, you’re going to turn people off.
Tip: Get at least two other people to review the copy for any glaring errors. Typos happen to us all, and it’s possible they can be glanced over and missed during any initial parts of the writing process. If you don’t have time to produce content in-house or need some training on how to do it better, we provide this (and much more) as part of our Content Marketing offering.
In other words: be empathetic
You know how you need to express empathy to show that you’re trustworthy amongst your family and friends? Well, the same concept applies to marketing for brands of all shapes and sizes. As long as you show you care and act on that feeling, you’ll garner the trust you no doubt deserve.
Tip: Once you have obtained that trust and received reviews, awards and other notable feedback, show it off! You earned it, after all, and it will help others more easily understand that your brand is indeed trustworthy.