Trust Must Come From Multiple Sources

If you haven’t spent time with Edelman’s Trust Barometer it’s worth exploring. The report examines our collective trust of businesses, government, sources of influence and more, as well explores the subject of trust itself.

The latest Barometer reports lots of interesting stuff, but here’s something particularly interesting: the number of people who view their friends and peers as credible sources of information about a company dropped by almost half, from 45% to 25%, since 2008.

With the continued growth of the social web, and the fact that our time spent on social networks is up 82% one might find this drop surprising.

Richard Edelman, President and CEO, had this to say:

“The events of the last 18 months have scarred people. They have to see messages in different places and from different people. That means experts as well as peers or company employees. It’s a more skeptical time. So if companies are looking at peer-to-peer marketing as another arrow in the quiver, that’s good, but they need to understand it’s not a single-source solution. It’s a piece of the solution.”

We concur.

This bit of information reinforces the need of constant communications and points to the fact that re-contact strategies are needed for brands that want to be active and provide value in the social web.

It’s imperative not to just ‘post and leave’. Rather, brands must remain constantly proactive about the ongoing creation of interesting content. And this doesn’t always need to be new ideas, mind you… revisiting previous ideas is good because new people are becoming engaged all the time. But constant energy around the core brand idea (self championing and supporting like-minded activity) is key.

To do this companies should appoint a central re-contact leader. This person (or persons if volume requires a group) is the one who’s in charge with monitoring the social web as well as empowered to contribute content in real time. While as many people who want to contribute should, like most things, it’s just helpful to put someone in the lead.

The brands who break through with interesting and concise re-contact strategies will be the ones who reap the benefit of additional trust… and it will be at the expense of those brands who don’t.

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