Estimated reading time: 4 minutes, 21 seconds

Modern consumers are cynical, so developing trust with customers can be a challenge for businesses. Trust – or the willingness to be vulnerable to another – is the sum of repeated and positive interactions. Fortunately, social media makes it easy to engage your audience in meaningful ways at scale.

According to research by Edelman, nearly 40% of people are unlikely to build an emotional relationship with a brand without engaging with them on social media.

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Further, according to Visual Objects, 21% of people prefer to contact businesses on social media, second only to email. But they need to trust your company to contact it on social.

Certain types of content work best for building familiarity and trust with your social following, such as user-generated content as storytelling.

This article highlights four ways to build trust for your brand on social media.

1.  Leverage User-Generated Content (UGC)

Consumers trust other consumers more than brands by a wide margin.

User-generated content (UGC) is any content originally posted by a follower that a brand then repurposes.

UGC establishes social proof through leveraging the voice of your audience to endorse your product.

UGC also allows your business to authentically demonstrate your product benefits, real-life applications, and the lifestyle of your target audience.

When a customer champions your brand, audiences can imagine themselves achieving the same results. Because these posts aren’t branded, you generate trust but also encourage purchasing in a way that branded posts cannot.

To acquire UGC, you can collaborate in advance or contact followers on a per-case basis.

2. Tell Your Story

Storytelling helps grow and secure the trust of your audience.

The more followers know about your company, the more reasons they have to be loyal.

How did you start your company? What are your goals? What were your initial challenges and how did you overcome them?

Develop a story arc in-house or with your social media agency, then strategically release tidbits on social media to attract followers and spark conversation around your brand.

People connect emotionally with stories, so integrative narrative into your company’s story helps  you build emotional connections with your audience.

It’s critical to be authentic about your narrative. Modern consumers are savvy to PR and phony messaging, so adopt a genuine tone and relate your narrative in a way that resonates.

Any misleading or spammy messaging can undermine your followers’ trust and your online reputation.

For best results, communicate your brand narrative visually in a way that hooks and retains your audience's attention.

  1. Emphasize Transparency

Transparency on social media develops your company’s reputation for trustworthiness.

For example, when people reach out to your company over social media with negative commentary or feedback, make sure to address it.

While there are certainly circumstances where negative feedback isn’t warranted, acknowledging that customers are upset because of your company demonstrates that you care.

Use your social media to communicate any changes in your company or products as well, for example, raises in pricing. These sorts of announcements are bound to be unpopular, but being transparent allows you to frame the conversation in your terms and not seem like you are trying to sneak anything past your customers.

4. Humanize Your Company

People love to see pictures of other people. Studies show that people’s faces are always the first and most-studied object on a web page.

Use your social media profiles to feature your employees, both in and out of work. This helps customers to see you as a group of individuals, rather than a faceless organization.

To humanize your business on social media, consider posting:

  • Behind the scenes at your offices
  • Company events
  • Employee stories
  • Interviews with leadership
  • Examples of your corporate social responsibility (CSR)

Buffer, for example, uses its Instagram to feature its employees.

social media

Social media allows your company to remind people that your company is made up of people who experience similar daily challenges and experiences as everyone else.

5. Communicate Values

People are increasingly aware of businesses’ impact on the wider world. In fact, 75% of people are likely to start shopping at a business that supports issues they care about.

Use social media to demonstrate and communicate your principles and commitment to social responsibility.

For example, Reformation used its Instagram to promote the amount of water, carbon dioxide, and waste it saved in 2018.

455m gallons

Consider using your social media as a platform that provides additional insight about your approaches to addressing:

  • Customer interests
  • Working conditions
  • Supply chain
  • Sourcing
  • Manufacturing processes

Ensuring that each of these areas are ethically sourced and maintained is important to modern customers. Use social media as your resource to communicate the values you maintain for each.

Build Trust for Your Business With Social Media

Before you can secure the engagement and loyalty of your customers, you have to gain their trust.

Trust is built on familiarity, so use your social media accounts to tell an engaging story about the core elements of your brand.

Be candid and upfront with followers, helping them learn more about your company, its processes, people, and ethos.


Kristen Herhold is a Senior Content Writer for The Manifest, a B2B news, how-to, and comparison platform in Washington, D.C. Her research focuses on social media marketing agencies and trends.

Last modified on Monday, 13 May 2019
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