How do you know if a brand is TRUSTworthy?!

Trust-- It's a pretty big deal, right? It's absolutely necessary if you want to keep a consumer, but it's also super easy to break, or never even have in the first place. My biggest moment of broken trust with a brand was when a @DeltaAssist associate DM'd me to step out of line because they could help me find a new flight, since mine was just cancelled. So, I stepped out of line, and told everyone else in line that they should just Tweet @DeltaAssist and not wait in line! Much to my surprise, two minutes later the associate told me that they actually could not help me and to get BACK IN LINE. Fortunately, my fellow line-waiters did not take my advice, and also let me back in my spot in line. I otherwise would have been behind at least 100 others trying to rebook their flight. Let me tell you something--> Even after they haphazardly tried to fix the situation THREE MONTHS LATER, I will never, EVER trust Delta again.

Ironically, I trust Southwest Airlines the most right now. Why?! I was recently injured by a La Guardia Airport employee pushing a wheelchair (no joke). I Tweeted a photo of my torn up ankle, and less than 40 minutes later, I had a response and plan of action from Southwest Airlines. Less than week later, I had a voucher. I mean, this wasn't even their employee that injured me-- I just happened to be on their flight. I have never seen such a seamless customer service interaction on social media. SO IMPRESSED.

So, I decided to ask my followers on Twitter today how they decide if a brand is trustworthy. I mean, a pretty important thing to decide, right? We make decisions based on what a brand tells us via their social media, and if they're untrustworthy, we could end up at the back of the line again.

The most common response was that the brand needed to create content that was not just brand specific in order to show it was not just about selling. Man, I am tempted to screen grab those responses and show them to some brands who believe social media coincides with SELLING. No. Social media is about brand awareness-- it is about building TRUST with consumers so they want to buy your product.

Another response I absolutely loved was how a brand handled NEGATIVITY. Wow. Why did I not think of that?! It's so true! A trustworthy brand is willing to step in front of the stoplight and clean up a mess. A sketch brand will try to brush things under the rug, ignoring negative commentary.

A response I  did not agree with?! --> # of followers. NEVER, ever base your trust in a brand on the number of followers they have. The only way to use followers to gauge trust, and even this is hit or miss, is by looking at the ratio of 'followers' to 'following'. If a brand has 8M followers, but is only following 3 people, then they MIGHT not be the most engaged brand on the planet. However, if you think a brand that has a lot of followers is automatically trustworthy, think again. There a lot of ways to get disengaged followers that are 'untrustworthy', including purchasing followers (NEVER DO THIS, PLEASE).

I created a quick list of recommendations for brands that want to be trustworthy from the responses:

  • Focus on creating memorable experiences for the consumers, rather than on making the sale.
  • Build a timeline that has relevant content that is NOT just brand specific.
  • INTERACT with your consumers. RESPOND to your consumers, no matter what.
  • Be TRANSPARENT.
  • Create content that addresses the consumers' issues, rather than broadcasts product, product, product.
  • LISTEN.
  • Have excellent, timely, relevant customer service.

What do you think? What makes a brand trustworthy? I've included some of my favorite responses below for your viewing pleasure :)

- Marji J. Sherman

01_jose_gauravselvam

02_joshua_medcalf

03_mael_roth

04_jeremias_reina

05_arno_douze

06_bab

07_social_media305

08_brumie_blichfeldt

09_in_touch

10_robert_vleuten

11_hsv_events

12_brumie_blichfeldt

13_ian_king

14_cloud_creations

15_rohit_mittal

16_tweeter_ninja

17_cyber_prowl

Tips for Students who want to be #SocialMedia Pros

Kill the Auto-DM. Please, and thank you.