What Happens When Trust Decreases over Digital Media?
Every relationship is built on trust. You won’t listen to somebody if you don’t think they’re credible, you won’t buy a product if you don’t believe in it and you will never read from a source you firmly think is fake. In the evolving digital landscape, content is strewn all over the internet. This makes it difficult for users to differentiate between true or false news.
The chief content officer and co-founder of E-Marketer recently shared key statistics in a keynote. In a survey conducted in the US, respondents above the age of 18 were questioned on which social media platform they trust the least with their personal information. Facebook ranked first with 56% respondents saying they trusted it least, followed by Google, Uber and Twitter. Users have previously seen messages making rounds over the internet that if people do not post a specific status on Facebook they will allow the company to use all their personal information. Facebook’s data policy which basically states out in the open that they do collect information is wide, but truthfully stated on the websiteThey do seem to inform the public when a change occurs but the recent year’s scandals have eroded Facebook’s image completely. Hence, 84% of users claimed that they are at least somewhat concerned about how their date is being used. However, when a user quits social media, the top reason is not privacy concern, but rather that they are either wasting too much time on it or because there is too much negativity it brings into their life. (Emarketer)
The industry and company types that US internet users trust the most are banks, followed by hospitals, other health care providers, and insurance firms. The trend shows that the more regulated the industry is or the stronger interference from the government it has, the more credible it is automatically seen. On the other hand, the marketing and advertising industry is only trusted by 3% of people, which is bad news. False claims made by brands, such as being number 1 in the market without any backed evidence, is one of the causes of declined trust. A study by Trinity Mirror in 2017 mentioned that 58% of people do not trust brands until they have seen them living up to their promises. Most viewed brands as being arrogant and self-serving. (Marketing Week, 2017)
Despite trust decreasing over Facebook, it still remains the platform for brands to target consumers and reach out to a wide population as it being the most popular social networking site to date. Digital ad spending ROI remains highest with Google and Facebook.
What happens when brands lose trust? Marketing efforts go to waste. Low consumer trust can make or break a business. You can lose a customer to your competition who is working 24/7 to please the round-the-clock consumer who is always online.
So, how do we build trust? It’s simple! Brands just need to be honest, be ready to prove it and start working for the ‘good’ of everyone. On digital platforms, provide valuable content to consumers. Give them what they are asking for and stop posting anything and everything. Engage in two-way communication, so that consumers believe that you don’t have an online identity to tell people what to do, but are there to build a relationship because you care about what consumers want from your brand. Encourage user-generated stories. Help people get involved and share true stories that highlight consumer loyalty, brand credibility and illustrates product usage. Make sure that you are only sharing trust worthy links on all digital platforms. Your pages/accounts over digital media are your brand’s voice and it must be informed at all times without any excuses. Encourage consumers to review your products, so that you have honest content to post and always make sure that whether it be any other day or a time of crisis, your brand acts responsibly.
Check out PAS’s position papers to learn more about ethical advertising.
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Communication Executive at PASAnnum is the debut author of her book "Sense Me" and has experience working in an agency as well as a communication expert in house.