Can Social Media Improve Online Trust for Small Businesses?

Small businesses can use social media cleverly

Social media will be the main point of contact with your business for many prospective customers.

They won’t be immediately looking to buy – but social networking can create the platform for making sales by deepening trust in a good product or service. It does this by:

  • enabling you to provide improved customer service
  • creating and strengthening relationships
  • increasing confidence in you and your brand
  • measuring online trust

Providing good customer service

Social media can be a front-line customer service tool. Be responsive and helpful by addressing queries as they arise.

Provide useful tips and be transparent and honest, particularly when dealing with complaints. Being seen to resolve a problem will increase people’s faith that you will do the same for them.

Creating genuine relationships

Don’t try to turn every conversation into a sale – people need to trust that you are not simply trying to get something out of them. Be sociable, but professional, and be consistent in your social media use – if you establish yourself on Twitter, for example, then disappear for long periods, trust will start to decline.

Increasing confidence in you and your brand

Consistent visual branding across your website and social media sites helps create confidence that you are professional and reliable. Reinforce your brand values in your approach to social media use – for example, don’t be ‘wacky’ if your business is not.

Focus on what you know. You can become a trusted source of knowledge by using blogging to demonstrate expertise, for instance. This will attract followers, create interaction and could lead to invites to contribute content elsewhere.

With ratings and comment features, you can also generate positive recommendations that go a long way to inspiring online trust.

Measuring online trust

Social media monitoring tools will help you assess how your social marketing is increasing consumer confidence. Set measurable objectives – the number of ‘shares’ of your content, for example, are a good indicator.

Also monitor what people are saying about you online, for insight into what you could be doing to inspire more online trust in your business.