I spend a fair amount of time talking with execs and entrepreneurs about branding and thought leadership. These topics pop up as a part of a conversation on the broader goals these professionals have for their companies’ blogs, social media, and digital presence at large. These guys and gals realize that they should be leveraging these spaces to lift their brands’ visibility, but they often don’t know where to start.
One reason companies blog (or vlog, or publish articles, or what have you) is to establish themselves as thought leaders. To blog and leverage social media in a way that demonstrates effective thought leadership, companies need to
From here, our discussion tends to turn toward context. After all, these are strange times.
Consumers Are Withholding Trust
Consumers have become rather withholding of their trust lately, and they find it an increasingly important factor in making purchasing decisions. In fact, the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report from Edelman finds that, “Trust is almost as important to consumers as quality and value.” (AdAge provided summaries of the report’s findings.)
Trust is almost as important to consumers as quality and value.
And, the rebuilding of trust is the No. 1 social media trend of 2019, according to Hootsuite. Thanks to several high-profile PR crises, data breaches, and misinformation campaigns, no one knows what is real and what is not, so consumers now reserve trust only for those closest to them and those who have truly earned it. As Hootsuite blogger Emily Copp points out about the socialverse, “Trust has reverted back to immediate friends, family and acquaintances on social media, as well as traditional and trusted journalism outlets.”
Right now, many brands are working hard to regain trust they’ve lost. This presents a grim if chaotic picture for those execs and entrepreneurs who are looking to establish a digital presence or revamp what they’ve already got. It undoubtedly feels like a tall order — Not only must they present themselves as an authority on a topic with the necessary gravitas and vision to lead how their industry thinks about that topic, they also must earn the trust of their withholding consumers, otherwise it’s not possible to present as an authority or as a leader. Oof.
To Earn Consumers’ Trust, Brands Must Demonstrate Humanity and Authenticity
The good news is that opportunity abounds for the self-possessed company with a plan.
So, how does a company earn consumers’ trust? The good news is that opportunity abounds for the self-possessed company with a plan. By turning to their friends and family on social media, consumers are telling the world that those who are familiar and relatable are credible. You know what feels familiar and relatable? Something that’s human. Don’t ever forget that even in a B2B world, it’s human beings who are crafting the messages, and it’s human beings who are absorbing those messages. This means that companies looking to beef up their blogs and social media need to be human and authentic.
Need Help with Your Content Strategy?
Many companies (particularly startups) lack the staff or the resources to make content strategy in digital spaces like blogs and social media a priority. Either they lack the resources to do it at all, or they lack the resources to do it well.
Sound familiar? Reach out to me at kcwes.com/contact. I welcome the opportunity to help your brand shine.