The impact and reach of the social media landscape is forever changing and buyers as well as industry reviewers are relying more and more upon social media to get a fix on the products and services most likely to offer the best experience.
There is no question that Twitter and Facebook have put tremendous power in the hands of consumers, giving everyone a digital soapbox to broadcast their thoughts and feelings to the world at large. In the pre- and contemporary digital age, word of mouth is considered the best advertising and with the vast social media landscape at play, word gets around pretty fast. But consumer behavior is changing as social media continue to grow and mature.
According to the GlobalWebIndex Annual Report for 2011, a dramatic surge is underway in how consumers use social media. Instead of creating unique content, social media users are sharing professionally created content more and more in their social networks, video sharing platforms and blogs. Furthermore, 50% of users worldwide reported an increase in their trust of contacts on social networks. This same group reported a 21% increase in trust for industry expert blog sites.
Much of this trend is also borne out in Edelman’s 2011 Trust Barometer which indicates a slight trust decline in non-professional social peers and a significant rise in trust for professional peers and industry experts on social networks.
What does this mean for your company and the ways in which you protect and enhance your brand’s reputation?
Well, trust is no longer a commodity that is acquired, rather a benefit that is bestowed, earned through action, reinforced by integrity, transparency and engagement. Your business has the opportunity to build lasting pillars of trust if you’re willing to commit to a strategy that brings value to your users and invests in their success and happiness with your product. For today’s socially savvy buyer and your trusted industry reviewers, a new level of transparency on capabilities, product documentation and support capabilities is essential to move the ‘trust needle’ forward and inspire entry into your sales process.
Lastly, your strategy must build and maintain reliable channels of engagement with your buyer before and after the sale. Among the keystones of any strategy along these lines is the implementation of socially enabled product help. Solutions, such as those provided by MindTouch, are invaluable not only because they provide the best means of supporting the success of your customers, but they also provide essential transparency into the true value and key benefits of your products and importantly signals your commitment to a great customer experience to potential buyers and industry peer reviewers while also creating multi-channel lanes of engagement with your company for those looking for more quality or functionality than the current product they’re using or for those current customers who need a little help. Engagement bestows trust.
This is how brands like Autodesk, HTC, SuccessFactors, HP Palm, PayPal and many more have become among the most trusted brands in the world.