Creating Trust in a Virtual World
Filed Under Social Marketing
The strange reality of working online is that you are interacting with people you will probably never meet in person. For you to be in a social media world as well as be successful at it, you must build trust with people without ever setting eyes on each other. This takes away the chance to gauge someone’s body language and read their face for any signs of possible deception. Because of this lack of physical interaction, it is vital for you to engender trust through other avenues such as social networking, for example.
Effectively communicating your trustworthiness, while at the same time trying to convey messages regarding product promotion, can be sometimes difficult. Here are a few things you can do to alter your strategy and build up your all-important trust factor.
Attract Visitors from Trusted Sources
There is a notable connection between how an internet visitor finds your website and if they trust the information on it once they read it. Web traffic that comes from another reliable source, such as blogs or websites with extremely high profiles, will result in a lower bounce rate when compared to visitors who jump to your page from a site like Digg or StumbleUpon.
The bounce rates with visitors from StumbleUpon and Digg-type sites are so high because those visitors have no reason to trust your content when they land on your page, because it was picked out of thin air. The only way for them to find your information reliable is to read it (but they have to bother reading it, first).
To Gain Trust you Must Take a Risk
With any transaction, you have to see it from the customer’s point of view. It is a considerably risky move to form an arrangement with someone you’ve never met, and they must weigh the risks with the benefits. It’s what we do with every financial transaction and it is no different when doing business online.
The rule of thumb is: The more risky the situation, the more difficult it is to earn trust. For example, if you are thinking of purchasing a product from a website, you’re going to look everywhere for reassurance that this site is trustworthy. You’re going to look for references, sponsors, reviews and familiar logos. These types of things will help to ease a customer’s mind before they make the leap into trust.
Another great way to engender trust with customers is to offer a risk-free, money-back guarantee. This puts their mind at ease, knowing that the level of risk is low. It also shows how much faith you have in your product. What you’re saying is: “I stand behind my product 100%.”
Social networking has become an excellent marketing tool. It is a great way to earn trust with new customers. When you add Twitter counters, stumbles, feed readers and Facebook likes (to name a few) on your webpage, new visitors will see that other people already like you. These numbers will give your web site or product more credibility. It shows that people feel as though they know you, like what you have to offer and trust doing business with you.
This isn’t an instant way to earn trust though since gaining social media notoriety takes time. You may have to fish for tweets and “likes” in the beginning. A few things you could do to help boost your numbers are to add your blog post to Facebook group pages to get more likes; you can build up your StumbleUpon account by adding new links and then “stumbling upon” your content; ask more questions in your tweets to help earn more interaction.
About Me Pages, Widgets, Videos
These tools are an excellent way for readers to get to know you. They gain some insight into the person behind the blog. This allows visitors to form a mental picture of your personality, making it easier for them to choose to interact and do business with you. They’ll no longer be doing business with a faceless entity.
These are just some of the great ways you can help engender trust with readers, but there are plenty more things that you can do.
What kinds of things do you do to help build trust and rapport with readers? What could someone do to help you see them as trustworthy? What are some examples of sites that you put your trust in?