If you’re trying to build a business with a great reputation and a loyal following, it’s important to be as real as possible; real matters. Consumers appreciate brands who are honest, trustworthy, and—you guessed it—real. As a business, what you put out on the internet (especially social media) directly reflects upon your reputation and impacts your credibility with consumers. A simple Tweet or comment can become a business’ worst nightmare if the content is perceived negatively. So, how do you establish credibility online and build a loyal following? Keep reading!
- Always be relevant. It may be easier (or more tempting) to simply copy what’s trending (or what your competitors are doing) than to figure out what works best for your business, however, it’s critical that you don’t go down this path. The majority of people are generally great at detecting what’s phoney and recognizing when they’ve seen something similar before. Instead, be true to your own brand. Before hopping on a #trendingtopic bandwagon, posting a piece of content, or retweeting something that you find funny, make sure that what your posting has value for your target market and accurately portrays your brand in a positive light.
- Display your expertise. Solely relying on others’ content won’t make your brand seem special to others. Show your audience you are an expert in your industry, or with your product/service—as you should be! Post content about new product features, upcoming events/news relevant to your industry (and share your opinions), or speak about a solution to a problem you’ve recently encountered. Developing a blog is a great and effective method for sharing your knowledge and positioning yourself as an expert.
- Engage with your following. How many times have you personally sent an email, Facebook message or Tweet to a brand for customer service and it went unanswered or you felt the response was unsatisfactory? How did it make you feel? If you want your customers to trust you, you must be as authentic as possible. If someone comments on a Facebook post, take the time to address them—whether the message is good or bad. Want to improve your social customer service and tackle problems online? Check out this post: 6 Tips for Providing Exceptional Social Customer Service
- Easy-to-view customer reviews/testimonials. According to recent studies, 92% of consumers trust the recommendations from other individuals (family and friends) over all other forms of advertisements. Wow! With this in mind, you should definitely use testimonials and reviews to your advantage; place them on the homepage of your website, and share them across your social media platforms, place them in emails to prospects and current customers. No matter your business, you should aim to make it easy for your customers to leave reviews (such as utilizing Facebook’s Reviews tab) and encourage your customers to do so. Don’t forget to refer back to step 3 once reviews start populating; review and respond, and right any wrongs!
- Post awards/memberships. If you belong to any associations, organizations, etcetera, be sure to highlight them on your website. Individuals, business and organizations generally enjoy speaking to and doing business with those in groups they are personally a part of or are familiar with. Similarly, displaying any relevant and reputable awards that your business has won will only help strengthen the confidence in potential and current consumers by positioning you as an expert in your industry and setting you apart from your competition.
I hope these tips help you to build trust within your customers and ultimately take your business to the next level. Remember, trust is not built overnight. Be patient. Good luck!