building trust online social mediaBeing transparent is another important part of building trust. And social media offers a great forum for that. But what does it mean? Why is it a good thing?

Transparency means showing others who you are – by being yourself, open and honest. Your actions and communications give people a clue about your honesty and integrity. It helps them decide whether they want to do business with you.

Social media is a fantastic tool for showing people who you are.

A face-to-face (F2F) situation can only provide real-time information about someone. To get a grasp on a person’s character in a F2F situation requires watching people act and react over time. Furthermore, people can be on their best behavior for the length of a meeting.

Social media, on the flip side, has a long memory in its history of people’s actions. It’s hard to fake or be on your best behavior in your social media interactions over a long time, which means you can get a very good picture of someone pretty quickly.

Getting to know you

Others can get a bit of history by glancing at your social media profile and updates. Use that to give people insight into who you are, and make sure they see what you want to show them.

True — like in F2F — you can monitor yourself by controlling what you share online. However, the more you interact online, the more likely you’ll reveal your character traits. Staying all business all the time will have the opposite effect because there’s little personality and authenticity.

Think about a potential business that interests you. Check out the company and employees’ profiles on different social media networks to learn more about them. Then study their updates and actions for more insights. As you do this, note anything interesting so you can apply it to your own profile.

What social media updates say about you

Your social media posts allow you to show the following things about yourself and your company:

  • You’re competent in your area of expertise. You know who is worth listening to in your industry and you share high quality relevant content.
  • You’re connected. You are who you say you are, and your connections to clients, prospects, partners and influencers prove it.
  • You’re respected. Your connections interact with you and mention you to others.
  • You care about quality. You share posts about delivering great customer experiences. You also help clients and prospects by answering questions or solving a problem.
  • You show you care by giving back. You share posts about the charities and non-profits you support.
  • You’re successful. You share good news on a regular basis, without it sounding like bragging.
  • You’re proud of your business. Invite your customers to learn about your employees, processes and pricing, answer tough questions and admit difficult truths. And never, ever lie.
  • You have a personal side worth sharing. You share posts about your favorite sports team, authors, hobbies, city and local events. People buy when they feel a connection to others. Talking about things outside of business lets people get to know your personal side. Little by little, others will relate to what you share. And those connections grow.

Joining online conversations backs up your company’s claim that you’re open to feedback and criticism. Customers value this trait. Yet few companies do this. Companies don’t need to be afraid of getting caught making mistakes. Customers forgive mistakes when companies handle them quickly and aptly. Acknowledging a customer implies your company is listening, an important step in gaining trust.

When your actions show you have nothing to hide, you differentiate your company. Be open, communicate regularly and hold your company accountable. Do all this in a professional way with a touch of personality and trust will follow.

Building Trust Online Series

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