Trusting [?] Facebook

What you can find on Facebook is all over the map! As a channel for conversation, community, communication and entertainment, it has really grown and branched out. For a lot of small business owners that I talk to, it is both an opportunity and a jungle. They are aware that the chances to grow their audience, deepen their engagement and conversation with their customers and fans, and build a trusted presence online are available. But somewhere, deep down, they’re just a little unsure of it all. When they go to their profile pages and scroll down their timelines, they see So Much that is not business. Cute videos, political barking, blatant advertising (including ads for things that they, IN NO WAY, want to have anything to do with…) and just A Lot Of Stuff. How can they trust their message to all that?

As a business, what builds trust with your customers? A solid product or service. Clarity and transparency on cost and what the customer can expect. Reliable delivery and service. Appropriate follow-up and, of course, Real Value. How does this extend to building trust with your customers and fans on Facebook, especially when it comes to recommendations of your product or service?
Word of mouth is still the most reliable and valued kind of marketing. People are much more likely to take the advice of friends and family over a brand advertisement. Even the recommendation of someone authentically professional rates pretty high.  The numbers from a recent study by socialmedialink reflect this:
Who impacts Purchase Most?
  • Family – 77%
  • Close Friends – 77%
  • Professional – 53%
  • Acquaintance – 37%
  • Blogger Feature – 37%
  • Advertising – 22%
  • Celebrity – 11%
Some other numbers from their research that give direction to your content and engagement strategies:
What make a review or recommendation influential?
  • Personal Stories – 83%
  • List of Pros & Cons – 74%
  • Star Ratings – 62%
  • Number of Reviews – 47%
  • Number of Comments on Post – 35%
77% of people need to see fewer than 10 reviews in order to be persuaded to buy, with 20% only needing one review from a close friend or family member!
Since about 54% use Facebook to share their product purchases, what motivates them to actually write a review?
  • “A positive experience with the brand” – 93%
  • “Receiving a free product or sample” – 79%
  • “A negative experience with the brand” – 71%
  • “A coupon to share with friends” – 66%
  • “Helping others be informed like me” – 64%
  • “Special access to offers & discounts” – 60%
  • “The enjoyment of sharing my opinions” – 57%
What are key take-aways here?
  • The closer the relationship to the visitor of your page, the greater the impact on the purchase decision. This speaks to the strengths of relationships In Real Life (IRL) as well as to the importance of building a trusted relationship with all of your customers. You may not be a close friend or relative, but if you invest in developing a “trusted advisor” professional relationship, you are much more likely to be part of the purchasing decision.
  • Personal stories and experiences within a review are most influential, followed by a pros & cons list. The shortest distance between a human being and the truth is a story. Stories are personal and speak to a temporal and emotional progression more than any other kind of review. Even a list of pros and cons speaks to the experience of the reviewer with the product and can bolster the story.
  • People are more likely to write a review if they have a positive experience than a negative one. This surprises many business owners about online reviews. So many are happy for the 5-star reviews and scared to death of the 1-star. Both are opportunities to shine. So, obviously, the chance to provide a positive experience, even in the midst of a more negative review, can make your business shine.
Trust is still about relationships and authenticity. It’s no different on Facebook than it is anywhere else, except now many more people can see how you build trust…and that’s good, right?

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