How can individuals and organizations grow better relationships with their target markets? In daily face-to-face social interactions, trust is a foundational element in building bonds between individuals. The same is true of digital relationships.
The Trust Formula
In his Social Media Today article, “The New Formula for Social Media Trust“, Steve Rayson proposes trust is calculated by multiplying formulaic components- Authority, Helpfulness, and Intimacy- and then dividing by self-promotion. This concept maintains that social media communications should primarily focus on the establishment of a brand’s thought leadership, helpfulness, and friendliness with just a sprinkling of self-promotional content. Rayson believes implementing this formula leads to winning the trust of individuals within a social media following.
The Art of the Formula
Switching perspectives from being the brand attempting to gain trust from its audience members, to being the follower giving away the trust, one digital media guru has gained mine through her artful application of the Trust Formula.
Marie Forleo does an exceptional job of building a loyal fan base via social media. By sharing valuable information on “building a business and life you love” through her Marie TV YouTube Channel, as well her blog, Forleo easily meets the criteria of Rayson’s formulaic expression of trust.
Along with consistently demonstrating expertise in her video content, Marie has established authority as a thought-leader in the world of online business by gaining the endorsement of Oprah, The Webby Awards, and other digital communications experts.
Her posts effortlessly hit the “helpful” requirement of the formula by providing valuable insight on success in both life and business. Marie’s personable and transparent presentation style epitomize the intimacy factor, as she always wears a warm smile while inspiring her viewers.
When it comes to self-promotion, Marie uses it very sparingly. For example, she only offers her B-School program for aspiring entrepreneurs on an annual basis. This naturally limits promotional content. As enrollment season approaches, her fans expect to be informed but also trust to never be bombarded with hard-sells. Forleo lets her quality content naturally do all the indirect promotion, and it’s working for her!
Many argue that reliability should also be considered with evaluating trustworthiness. If this is the case, Marie has nothing to worry about. Her team consistently posts frequent blog content and weekly “Q&A Tuesday” videos. Additionally, daily activity occurs across social media platforms from Marie’s Facebook page, to her Twitter, to her Instagram, and so forth. There is plenty of conversation and engaging activity on all of them.
Summing Up The Trust Formula
If brands crave success in the digital realm, earning trust through appropriate communication and behavior must be a priority. Applying the Trust Formula can win the devotion of a social media network brimming with fruitful relationships.
What Do You Think?
How do you implement components of the trust formula? Do you have your own formula for successfully building relationships with your target audience on social media?