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Minding the Credibility Gap | Gain Trust in Your Brand

Minding the Credibility Gap

How you’re torpedoing your online credibility without even knowing it.

Social Media, initially the realm of college kids and tweens, has become a bona fide marketing medium that encompasses all demographics. Today, the line between people and brands is becoming blurred and 85% of customers expect businesses to be active in social media. (1) When a brand has shoddy social media pages, or none at all, consumers subconsciously downgrade their perception of that brand.

A key reason for this mental downgrade is skepticism and mistrust. No matter how great a product or service a business might produce, having a strong social media presence has changed from being something “nice to have,” to mandatory. In fact, 82% of consumers are much more likely to trust a company whose CEO and leadership team engage with social media. (2) Unlike the old adage of “No news is good news,” if there isn’t a consistent flow of communication from a brand online, consumers will assume the absence of online presence is representative of deficiencies in other areas of their business.

Modern day customers are empowered with the unlimited amount of information they have access to, and because of this they don’t like being sold to. Instead, consumers like to arrive at purchase decisions on their own with the help of online resources in the form of reviews, articles, blogs, and videos. It is because of this that there has been a monumental shift in focus from outbound to inbound marketing with 70% of consumers reporting that they’d prefer getting to know a company via articles rather than ads. (3)

This thirst for knowledge provides a golden opportunity to connect with customers by establishing your company as a leader in a particular field and generating helpful content for them. Posting this content on your website blog is a start, but taking advantage of the massive reach social media networks have can help you gain much broader exposure, and this is as true in the B2B world as it is for B2C.

A great platform for establishing your credibility with a B2B audience is the business-centric LinkedIn. While the “fun” platforms like Facebook and Twitter are easier to use and more forgiving, professionals hold LinkedIn in higher regard. 78% of professionals are reported to visit the site in order to keep up with industry news and 73% claim they discover new ideas within the industry on LinkedIn. (4) If you want your brand to be taken seriously, make sure you show your company’s best side through a well thought out LinkedIn profile with consistent company updates.

There are many different ways to market your brand on social media, but in the end it comes down to providing value to the consumer. By providing something that no one else can, or hasn’t yet, you’ll have a much better chance of connecting with your target customer. Often, providing a free resource or service can be enough of a hook to encourage the consumer to try your product, subscribe to your service, or visit your facility.

For example, if you’re a design studio you could publish weekly posts offering free downloads of design resources like brush templates or tutorials on Photoshop techniques. But unlike Field of Dreams, just because you built it does not mean they will come. You still need to promote your content to begin generating awareness. LinkedIn and Facebook offer a variety of options for sponsoring content. You can also engage with blogs you respect and develop mutually beneficial relationships around sharing each other’s content. Without this exposure boost, you run the risk of your valuable content going unnoticed on your website.

In years past consumers valued a personal connection with a company or brand, but it’s forecast that by 2020 customers will manage 85% of their relationships without talking to a human. (5) Maintaining a connection to your customers is crucial for any business, and a well maintained online presence will help you extend your reach.

Recipe for a great looking LinkedIn page:

  • Uploading your brand logo for both the Standard and Square sizes (100px by 60 px and 50px by 50px, respectively)
  • A relevant and engaging banner image that conveys your brand message. Size: 646 x 220 (Minimum)
  • Don’t neglect the space dedicated to providing information about what your company brings to the table. Don’t assume viewers already know who you are.
  • A consistent posting schedule that your team can handle. It’s better to start with less frequent posts and build from there if you have the extra resources rather than scaling back because of a lack of them.
  • When posting updates with articles or other resources, be sure to include an image, as this will help you boost engagement.
  • Convert the links to your content that you post to “Bitly” links. This not only cleans up and shortens the link, but also provides you another layer of analytics to help you track your views.
  1. Vocus survey: http://bundlr.com/clips/509d2200b3b84a00020018f7
  2. http://www.brandfog.com/CEOSocialMediaSurvey/BRANDfog_2012_CEO_Survey.pdf
  3. http://teamworkscom.com/2013/01/24/what-data-tells-you-about-the-need-for-content-marketing/
  4. http://www.marketingcharts.com/online/why-linkedin-professionals-consume-and-share-content-43358/
  5. http://www.gartner.com/imagesrv/summits/docs/na/customer-360/C360_2011_brochure_FINAL.pdf
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