The Trust Implosion

The results are in: nobody trusts anyone anymore. In the UK, trust is at a historic low. With the Edelman Trust Barometer – a measure of trust of companies, government, press etc. – at 29%.

This trust implosion isn’t ‘fake news’ it has a real impact on businesses and their relationships with customers.

Online Scheduling Tool Trust Implosion

At Risk: The Bond Between Customers and Your Business

People are trusting the face of less and less business: Trust in companies leaders fell from 49% (about half) to just over a third in 2017. A huge reduction in the credibility that consumers attribute to CEOs and company authority figures.

On the upside, CEOs are at least still perceived to be more credible than politicians! Those are trusted by less than 30% of people. That’s worth something, right?

The results show that trust as an authority is dwindling. Consumers are more likely to trust the people closest to them, or people they feel they can easily relate to. Clearly an important factor in the rise of influencer marketing today, with consumers becoming numbed to traditional forms of advertising.

Looking at The Trust Barometer findings I think it’s clear that businesses need to establish and build trust as a key activity. Something that becomes more important every day in our ‘fake news’ environment.

Businesses need to build a sense of community more than ever before, gain and build brand advocacy, be as transparent as possible and treat trust as a sacred currency that is built with their customers through their behaviour.

The Impact On Social Media

As we now know, all was not as it seemed. Around 50 million Facebook users had their data harvested far more than originally took the quiz itself. This information was then allegedly used in the 2016 US presidential elections.

Social media has led the decline in trust. Trust for social media is now rock bottom at 24% - LESS than politicians. Click To Tweet

Social media has led the decline in trust. Trust for social media is now rock bottom at 24% – LESS than politicians. This is extremely important for a lot of companies who rely on social media to interact with their customers, build their brand and find new business.

What started, back in 2013, with a Cambridge University researcher and personality quiz on Facebook – the Cambridge Analytica scandal – and seemingly ended in the harvesting of over 50 million persons’ data.

These data leaks have created a public perception that social media companies are not sufficiently regulated (64%), lack transparency (63%), and are selling people’s data without their knowledge (62%). Data from the Edelman Trust Barometer Press Release in 2018.

Today, credibility is a fundamental challenge for businesses across the world and social media – how most businesses talk to their customers – is part of the problem.

There is some light at the end of the tunnel: Here are just some key takeaways from the report highlighting what businesses should do address the crisis of trust on and off social media;

  • Quality over quantity: Ensure and maintain a high quality of writing and visuals.
  • Reference & Demonstrate: Showcase the author’s credentials or expertise
  • Show your colours: Make sure the logo of your business is clearly displayed next to any post or content; branding is everything
  • Same message, different methods: Use more than one way to communicate with customers. 65% of people in the study would be more inclined to trust information on social media if they had seen somewhere else too.

The Battle for Truth

Today, combating this crisis of trust is a challenge for businesses of all sizes around the world. Whilst there is no certain, quick and easy answer, the ideas above are some simple, key things businesses can do to help your business build trust. Trust me…

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Craig, is the International Marketing Manager at 10to8, with over 10 years’ digital marketing experience.

At 10to8 Craig devises and oversees multi-channel marketing campaigns, and plays a pivotal role in growing the business. Throughout Craig’s most recent career history he’s specialised in successfully growing tech start-ups.

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