Social media can make the sturdiest of knees wobble, but you go where your customers and potential customers hang out. You buck up, because social media helps you build brand credibility, increase reach, and gather information about your potential and current customers. So, pull up your big company pants, and get out there to find and engage with customers. Start by making your brand a credible one.
If you hang out at a local establishment because the proprietor makes an effort to know you and your tastes, shares your core values, and is known for giving back to the community, you understand how to create brand credibility on social media. It’s a simple formula rooted in people’s need to feel less anonymous and more connected to community.
Know your customer + share your values + give back to society = brand credibility
- 75% of consumers report they are more likely to buy from a retailer that knows their name and purchase history.
- 64% of a 7000-person consumer survey cited shared values as their primary reason for having a brand relationship.
- 75% of millennials believe that companies should be ethical and socially responsible.
Know Your Customer
1. Listen to Women
When it comes to social media, you’d better know how to listen to and talk to women. Why?
- Women account for 85% of all consumer purchases.
- An influencer study showed 94% of female social media users interacted with brands online with nearly a third interacting daily.
- Women on social networks (92%) pass along information about deals or online recommendations to others.
Simply put, you can have women work for you or against you. Your choice.
If you’re not sure how to interact with women on social media, get some women in the decision-making levels of marketing who do. Don’t try to woo women with emoji-splattered, Photoshopped, bro-humor content. And word to the wise: women are over being told what they want, what their experiences are, or what they need. The best way to find out what your female customers want is…wait for it…ask them.
2. Learn through Transparent Customer Service
Get to know your customers on social media by openly and efficiently resolving their service issues. By doing so, you learn about their likes, dislikes, and if other customers had similar problems. If the problem reflects a pattern, address and fix that problem. Transparent problem solving takes good communicators who are empowered to act. Don’t hamstring social media customer service people with hierarchy.
Using social media to resolve customer service requests pays off. A customer who has had an issue effectively and quickly resolved ends up spending 20% to 40% more with the company. And customers appreciate transparency. A 2016 Label Insight study found that 94 percent of consumers are more likely to be loyal to brands that have committed to full transparency.
3. Become a Social Media Sleuth
Social media provides you entrée into all kinds of discussions and groups that can be important to your brand. You can use a variety of tools like Google Alerts to monitor any mention of your brand, competitors, or your industry. You can also keep tabs on relevant campaigns and slogans with tools like mention, Hootsuite, and Buzzbundle. Respond thoughtfully when your brand is mentioned, whether it is a positive or negative mention.
Share Your Values
Brand credibility builds relationships with consumers, not just because of personal interactions on social media, but because a brand’s values align with those of consumers. Don’t get me wrong. Engagement is important, in fact a brand’s social media post interactions correlate strongly with visits to that brand’s website. But consumers more than ever initiate relationships with brands based on shared values. In fact, one study by Freeman, Spenner, and Bird, found that of the consumers “who said they have a brand relationship, 64% cited shared values as the primary reason.” Millennials, in particular, consider values an essential feature of a company. Share your values on social media.
According to Horizon Media’s Finger on the Pulse study, 81 percent of millennials “expect companies to make a public commitment to good corporate citizenship.” With so many choices, people choose brands that not only play well with others, but do well for others. Need some ideas on how to do this? Toms Shoes is a great example. For each pair of shoes purchased, Toms donates another pair to somebody in need. Here are 25 brands that give back with each purchase. But it doesn’t have to be a per-purchase arrangement. Decide how your brand can make a difference, and make a difference!
Brand Credibility Do’s and Don’ts
DO: Advocate for your target audience’s issues.
DON’T post, retweet, or use curated materials from sources offensive to your audience.
DO: Keep your message consistent with your content marketing strategy.
DON’T allow disparate messages on different channels.
DO: Ensure all communications reflect credibility and thought leadership. Follow the healthcare maxim, “first do no harm.”
DON’T post unless several people vet the post to ensure it is complete and appropriate.
DO: If there’s a crisis, tragedy, or emergency, address it with a kind, supportive, and calm voice.
DON’T be tone deaf. It’s not time for sales-focused content.
DO: Get your spelling, grammar, and punctuation correct.
DON’T post without editing. Seriously. Don’t.
DO: Measure social media metrics. A collective analysis of various metrics can help quantify brand credibility. How much traffic comes from social media? How much time does that traffic spend once they get there? What are your share, retweet numbers? How are your white paper and webinar opt-ins numbers?
DON’T forget to use data for hard self-reflection.
DO: Ask your customers what works. “70% of companies that deliver best in class customer experience use customer feedback.”
DON’T ignore criticism.
DO: Get out in front of problems if they arise. In short, fess up when you mess up.
DON’T hide with your head in the sand.