Trust is a make or break issue for brands. It can be hard to come by, and even harder to regain if you lose it. So how do you gain and keep the trust of your audience? Social listening, of course!

How Trust Impacts Brands

Our friends at Edelman Intelligence are experts on the subject of trust. During NetBase LIVE London this past spring they shared the results of the annual Edelman Trust Barometer.

This is a 33,000-person, 28-market global study conducted by Edelman for the past 18 years. Here’s what the most recent study revealed:

It’s easy to see that trust has some pretty big impact on consumer actions. When trust is present, more than half of consumers will buy products/services and recommend them to friends and colleagues. More than a third will defend a brand to others, or even pay more.

What happens when a company offers reason for distrust? Half of consumers refuse to buy product/services – but that’s not even the worst behavior. Nearly a third of these consumers will share negative opinions with others, and more than a third will disagree with others – trying to sway their positive opinions!

So trust is important – obviously.

Research Consumer Desires with Social Listening

The way Edelman helps clients build and retain trust is pretty simple, really: research. If you want consumers to trust you, you have to give them a reason; but first you have to know what they want.

What do they want from a brand in your category? How do they perceive your brand specifically? Have these perceptions changed over time? How? What triggers motivate them and what barriers are in their way?

All of these questions can be answered with social listening. When you apply social listening and sentiment analysis tools to your brand analytics, you learn what consumers feel on any number of issues, as well as how strongly.

This allows you to triage brand response so you focus on what matters most first. Maybe you don’t need a new product as much as you need to perfect the previous one. Or maybe you need better customer service when things so wrong, so consumers don’t lose trust in you altogether.

Social insights help you craft informed strategies, saving you the money you’d spend on trial and error if you just had to guess.

For example, Edelman uses social listening to monitor earned media for one of their media and entertainment clients, to understand key points throughout the year when they have particular campaigns running, assessing their booking cycle, and how consumers talk about the booking process when vacationing at one of their parks.

This data tells them whether they are meeting consumer needs as well as brand goals. It also lets them advocate for the client, helping build their social media strategy overall.

Taking Your Data Beyond Social

It’s important to remember that social media extends beyond the land of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Blogs, news articles, and reviews are part of the equation. But there’s even more than that to consider.

Other data like surveys, star ratings, net promoter scores, website feedback, chat messages, market research, and data from internal systems like call center, help center, and web support collected via CRM tools also contribute to Voice of the Customer analytics.

It’s all critical to understanding what makes a stellar customer experience and building trust with your audience.

It’s an investment, but one you shouldn’t hesitate to make – because it will likely save you money in the end.

As Edelman Sr Research Manager Simon Quinton shares, it’s about, “uncovering truths we sometimes wouldn’t be able to get without having a tool like NetBase really empower us to get to those insights.”

So don’t take consumer trust for granted. Apply social listening to find out where you stand, and how to make sure your audience’s faith in you can withstand whatever comes their way.

And reach out to us if you want a tour of our tools – we’ve earned the trust of a lot of brands, and we’d love to earn yours!

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