In Greg Ferenstein’s blog, The Science of Building Trust With Social Media, he analyzes how new technology-based relationships still comply with the same basic psychological framework of “real-world” relationships. And as with any successful relationship, the core component has to be trust.
For any company, or person, using social media, trust is still the key to a mutually beneficial relationship. Especially with social media, when the objective is a 2-way conversation. So how can you build trust with your social media communities? Well in social media, it does take on a trickier angle. As Furenstien points out,
In e-mail, Linkedin and Facebook messages, much of the traditional markers of trust, such as voice intonation and body language, are hidden. Olson finds that when only text is available, participants judge trustworthiness based on how quickly others respond.
This is dead on. How many times have you written an e-mail and anxiously awaited a response, clicking that refresh button over and over again? I am guilty of doing that today. How happy does it make you when your tweets are retweeted or replied to? The action of response shows us that someone cares about what we have written, your voice has been heard and is respected and appreciated.
This view of trust in social media relationships can help companies even in a time of crisis. For example, if an angry customer is taking out their frustration or concerns by posting negative things on your company’s Facebook wall, or twitter feed, the best way to handle the situation is to pay that costumer the attention they want. Respond. Quickly. A simple “@angrycustomer Thank you for sharing this concern. We are in the process of addressing it and will get back to you soon” tweet would show that costumer that their view is respected. This will allow them to build their trust in your company.
As any public relations professional will tell you, the worst thing you can do is say, “No Comment.” This ascends into the world of social media as well. Keep the conversation flowing, be responsive, be timely, build trust.