How Your Company’s Social Media Activity Can Generate Trust in Your Brand

Social Media

People spend an immense amount of time using the internet. 

Research data shows that, on a daily basis, the average person spends 6 hours and 42 minutes online. And in 2022, people spent approximately 2 hours and 28 minutes of that time on social media sites. Add to this the fact that 90% of the world’s online population uses social media at least once per month, and it quickly becomes evident that these platforms offer tremendous potential to businesses trying to reach their target audiences.

But while maximizing reach and inspiring purchases is on most marketers’ to-do lists when it comes to social media marketing, there’s one purpose for which using social networks offers even more benefits: generating brand trust.

The thing about trust is that it’s one of the prerequisites for building a successful business. And that’s not just because 81% of people say trust is a deciding factor impacting their purchasing decisions. Research data also shows that brand trust leads to higher spending (44% of people spend $500 more each year with the brands they trust) and increased loyalty.

So, if you can use your company’s social media activity to generate trust in your brand, it’s a valuable opportunity. And, if you’re ready to get down to work, here are the strategies guaranteed to yield the best results.

Shine a Light on Your In-House Experts’ Opinions

As you start exploring tactics that will allow you to boost brand trust via social media, you need to ask one key question. Whom do your potential customers trust?

If you consult the research on brand trust, you’ll find several figures that consumers find credible, dependable, and authoritative. According to the 2021 Nielsen Trust in Advertising study, 89% of people believe the recommendations of their friends and family. 71% find advertising, product placement, and brand opinions from influencers credible. But, if you’re looking for ways you can actively influence brand trust, the best way to do it is by relying on scientists and in-house experts who hold particular sway with younger generations.

In simple terms, one of the best things you can do is align your brand’s reputation to the professionalism, insight, and industry-specific knowledge of your company’s team. If you have thought leaders working for your organization, give them a voice on social media. Publish interviews with in-house experts. Seek opportunities for them to appear on podcasts, publish op-ed articles, or create content specifically for your followers on social media.

For example, take a look at Trustshoring, an outsourcing company dedicated to matching SaaS businesses with software developers.

The company has a very active LinkedIn presence. It’s geared towards sharing their knowledge on specific SaaS industry pain points, finding the right developers for the right projects, managing remote teams, and more. 

They regularly post useful advice for their target audience of SaaS leaders, project managers, and non-technical founders. They make sure to cover relevant topics where business leaders need help and Trustshoring has the expertise to provide them with answers and valuable insights. 

The LinkedIn profile also features videos with their founder, Victor Purolnik, participating in webinars or interviewing developers, startup founders, and other relevant industry experts. 

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Associate Your Brand With Respected Figures in Your Industry

If you feel like appearing before a camera isn’t your thing, you can still make the most of industry-specific expertise by collaborating with the right influencers. 

If you opt for influencer marketing, you’ll need to work to associate your brand with respected figures in your industry. In other words, don’t just reach out to influencers because they have a high follower count. Instead, make sure that they:

  1. Know what they’re talking about. Ideally, they should be experts in your niche or have experience in an industry related to your brand’s field. The most important thing you can do is ensure they’ve successfully established their credibility before associating your brand with their content.
  2. Share your brand’s values. Aligning your business with someone who doesn’t stand for the same things you do will end in confused, ineffective, and unconvincing content that won’t yield the results you’re after.
  3. Speak to your target audience. Yes, maximizing your reach is a great outcome. But influencer marketing is only effective if your collaborators’ audiences already have a possible interest in your products/services/solutions.
  4. Generate high engagement rates. Finally, don’t forget that for influencer collaborations to build brand trust for your company, you will need your collaborator’s followers to engage with the content. Research shows that this is far easier to accomplish with micro-influencers (especially on Instagram and TikTok), so keep that in mind when choosing spokespeople for your brand.

If you’re looking for inspiration for associating your brand with respected influencers in your industry, there are two examples you should check out.

Take inspiration for this tactic from MarketBeat. The stock market and trading experts regularly invite respected finance influencers to guest on its podcast, resulting in fresh and helpful content that the brand’s audience finds genuinely valuable. 

In the example below, MarketBeat invited Jason Brown from The Brown Report (a YouTube channel with 80k subscribers) to discuss Google, Amazon, and Tesla stocks and their outlook for the future. This approach is an excellent way for MarketBeat to boost its credibility, as the fact that an already trusted influencer agreed to lend their expertise testifies to the organization’s authority.

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Interact with Your Target Audience

If you consult the research surrounding the concept of organizational trust, you’ll find that an entity can only be considered trustworthy if it satisfies the following three criteria:

  1. It can prove its ability/competence.
  2. It stands by its values with integrity.
  3. It exhibits benevolence by putting its audience’s interests first.

However, while these three guidelines for building trust provide valuable insight into how you can inspire your audience to perceive your business as dependable, one thing is missing from the equation: consistency. Without practicing consistency, you will never have the opportunity to show and convince your audience that they can rely on your brand to deliver on its promises.

The good news is, this isn’t too difficult of a task. Yes, it requires a commitment time-wise. However, the activities themselves are relatively simple.

For example, do your best to respond to all comments you receive on social media. If you check out the Notion Facebook page, you’ll see how badly ignoring customer comments can backfire. Sure, your customer support team may have a bit more on their plates than they can handle. But if you know you can’t get back to people in a reasonable time frame, then it might be time to look into expanding your team. Or consider adopting alternative customer communication solutions (like chatbots and self-help databases).

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Another option is to employ social listening and re-post (or reply to) brand mentions. If you check out the Pokémon Twitter profile, you’ll see that the brand regularly interacts with fans. They retweet exciting and original content and make sure to reply to tweets about the Pokémon universe, even when they don’t directly tag the brand. It’s easy to do with a tool like Brandwatch, and the returns are immense — in terms of brand trust and customer loyalty.

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You can also go further with customer service and provide support via relevant social networks, as done by Amazon on Twitter.

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And, of course, don’t forget to get involved in relevant industry-related conversations where appropriate. If you consistently do all these things, you’ll give your audience multiple chances to witness your brand’s customer-oriented interactions, leading them to form a positive opinion about your organization.

Ensure Your Brand’s Visible Personas Have Suitable Digital Footprints

When running a company — especially if it’s a small business — you have to be prepared for you and your team to be seen by customers as an extension of the brand

In fact, scientific analyses have confirmed that CEO image directly influences brand trust. So, it becomes evident that ensuring your brand’s visible personas’ digital footprints are presentable is crucial in positioning your company as credible and trustworthy.

For example, if you link to your team’s Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn profiles on your site’s About page, ensure those profiles are run in a way that aligns with your business’ values.

Contrarian Thinking, a financial media company, is a fantastic example of this kind of brand representation across multiple platforms. Its founder, Codie Sanchez, is inseparable from the brand, and you’ll find her representing the company and its mission on all her social media. 

The About page on the company website includes direct links to Codie’s Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, and, of course, LinkedIn. Her personal website refers visitors to the Contrarian Thinking website and newsletter. 

In short, the whole of her digital footprint and her personal brand are dedicated to supporting and supplementing what the company does. 

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Publish Engaging Content That Speaks to Your Target Audience

As you’ve already probably concluded, social media is a powerful channel when trying to generate trust in your brand. 

But as you explore additional strategies for positioning your business as credible via social media activity, there’s one thing you have to remember. The primary function of all social networks is to give users easy and constant access to relevant content. So, to stand out, you must do your best to produce and publish content that will be recognized for its unique value.

Admittedly, there are multiple ways to ensure your content is seen (and appreciated) by your prospects on social media networks. However, a few content creation rules will allow you to get the positive results you’re after.

  1. Know precisely who your audience is. 

Unless you’ve defined your target audience, you’re just stumbling around in the dark on social media. The basis of a successful social presence is always a deep understanding of your audience’s interests, pain points, and willingness to interact with brands. Know these pieces of info, and your chances of publishing content that drives trust (via engagement) will instantly multiply.

  1. Don’t waste your time and budget on irrelevant channels. 

More is not always better. Yes, people spend 2.5 hours on social networks every day. But that doesn’t mean they dedicate equal time to each network. So pick your battlegrounds carefully. Unless, of course, you’re willing to waste your budget on ineffective distribution channels. If you can’t find demographic data about the user base of a particular network you want to pursue, give it a chance. Then see whether it delivers the reach and the results you’re after. 

  1. Embrace engaging formats like short-form videos. 

With the rise of TikTok (as well as Instagram’s Reels feature and YouTube’s Shorts), it has become evident that old-school formats like images and text don’t work as well as they used to. In 2023 and beyond, the type of content you will want to produce to engage followers is short-form video, which 39% of marketers consider to be the format with the highest ROI. 

If this content type doesn’t align with your brand’s audience or strategy, that’s OK too. Just know that experimenting with engaging formats offers better benefits than sticking to the washed-out trends of yesteryear.

  1. Practice consistency when publishing. 

If you want your followers to perceive your business as trustworthy, you have to pay attention to stability. And not just in terms of your brand’s tone and voice on social media (yes, they should align with the picture you’re trying to paint about your organization). 

You also have to be consistent with your publishing schedule. Something as simple as posting at the same time every day will maximize your content’s chances of being favored by social network algorithms. Plus, it will help build a stable relationship with your audience, where they’ll develop expectations, and you’ll show that you can unfailingly meet them.

  1. Don’t be afraid to repeat yourself. 

There’s a lot of noise on social media, and your trust-generating content can easily get lost in it. If you want to avoid this, there’s one super-simple hack you must employ: repeat and repurpose your posts. Of course, don’t take it too far. But don’t be afraid to share the same helpful blog post two or three times, either. This won’t bore your followers. Instead, it will ensure that they see your post and maximize their chances of interacting with your business (which is a prerequisite for them to realize it’s an organization they can trust).

  1. Track performance and optimize. 

Finally, to guarantee that your company’s social media activity delivers the outcomes you’re after, you have to be prepared to track performance. Once you’ve identified potential issues, you can optimize your approach to boost your chances of success.

Embrace Social Reviews

According to the GWI Connecting the Dots 2023 report, social media is slowly starting to overtake search engines as the primary place for consumers to conduct product research. Apparently, in 2022, the main reason consumers logged into their social network accounts was to find information. 

And Google isn’t unaware of the trend either. As shared by one of the company’s execs, almost 40% of young people go to TikTok or Instagram instead of Google Maps or Search when looking for a place for lunch.

So, knowing that social media is where your potential leads will first engage with your brand, it’s super important that you optimize your presence to drive trust. Fortunately, this is easy to do by generating and sharing social proof.

Facebook, for instance, already has an integrated Reviews section where happy customers can share their feedback and assign star ratings to your company. And even if you only have one single review on the platform, it’s still a positive impression about your brand that prospects will see when they (inevitably) do their research. So make the most of it, as ThankBox did on its Facebook profile. 

Reply to the review and make it clear that you appreciate the time it took for a happy client to send their feedback. It will only take a couple of minutes, but it will inevitably achieve two things:

  1. It will show existing customers that you genuinely care about their positive experiences.
  2. It will attract new clients as it will show that you’re a customer-oriented, trustworthy organization committed to helping them solve their pain points.

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If Facebook isn’t the right platform for reaching your audience, you can still embrace social reviews. Here’s how you can attract more customer testimonials on Instagram

Plus, if you employ the social listening techniques we mentioned earlier, you’re guaranteed to stumble upon some positive feedback, which you can then repurpose into a post, as done by Pause on Twitter.

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Publish Good Quality UGC

Lastly, as you explore tactics that will help boost your brand’s credibility via social media, don’t forget about the tremendous potential of UGC.

User-generated content that visibly features your products or services is a super-effective way to show your audience you’re honest in your claims. After all, 72% of consumers consider UGC far more credible than branded messages, so it’s only natural that you should explore ways to make it an integral part of your social media marketing strategy.

Brands like Vans have gone all-in on this strategy, featuring huge amounts of UGC on their platforms. Below, you can see how Vans tracks their social media mentions and reaches out to customers asking for permission to post their photos. 

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This is a great tactic, and not only because user-submitted images and videos act as a powerful and engaging instance of social proof. Even more, UGC can help you prove to followers that you genuinely have happy customers, that your products are of high quality, and that buyers really will get what they see if they put their trust in your brand.

Final Thoughts

Publishing high-value content on social media is an effective (and, let’s face it, budget-friendly) way to invest in your brand’s online reputation. So, if you’re looking to boost brand trust, it should definitely play a key role in reaching your goals. The tactics discussed in this article are all excellent ways to get where you want to be. Nonetheless, if you want to guarantee you’re doing the absolute most to improve brand credibility, align your chosen strategies with your business’ image, values, and mission. That way, you’ll get the best possible results without having to overhaul any aspect of your existing branding strategy.

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