How to Build Trust and Credibility with Social Media

By Aliza Sherman, Danielle Elliott Smith

On social media, as in life, you can build better relationships and have more positive outcomes in communications if the people who are communicating trust each other. Trust in the offline world is built over time, and trust in social media engagement (SME) is no different.

The need for transparency in social media engagement is huge. More people have greater access to information about anyone and any company because of the Internet. Material that you previously could hide behind your company firewall can now become fodder in social networks in the blink of an eye.

Even trusted brands risk tarnishing their reputations with missteps in how they communicate and engage online as much as in how they behave offline.

Both trust and credibility are built on consistency and on follow-through. Do what you say you’re going to do. If you ask for feedback, address head-on whatever you hear. If you “overhear” somebody complaining about your company publicly on a social network, be attentive and responsive. Sincerity and the human touch go a long way toward building trust and credibility and toward laying the foundation for your efforts in SME.