People don’t trust words, they trust actions, a fact that was proven by a recent study that revealed people trust individuals 47% more than they trust businesses. This supports our experience, when talking with Australian IT businesses, that this is an industry with a deep-rooted requirement for personal relationships when it comes to new business wins.
So how can you give the People what they want? How can you, a small to medium business sized owner, provide evidence to show that your business is established, experienced and, above all, trustworthy?
If the business talks the talk, let your staff walk the walk
The concept of trust is not a new consideration, many marketing messages will highlight knowledge and credibility. For the current economy, however, where customers are discerning, competition is fierce and access to information and social connection is at an all-time high, merely saying ‘You can trust us’ is not enough. The People need proof.
This is where your staff can be your greatest asset. By publicly profiling staff and enabling them to become spokespeople for your business you will put a human face on your business. Someone who people can connect with on LinkedIn or hear at a conference. By supporting your staff you can give your company the human touch and thus gain trust.
Why does trust matter?
Customers will not give money to someone they don’t think can do the job, they give money to someone who they trust will do a good job. Businesses need to be aware of this and consider the fact that prospective clients may perceive individuals, or employees, as more trustworthy than a company.
Making your employees accessible and credible is vital to achieving trust.
This is important to consider when planning a holistic marketing strategy. What are your business’ values? Are your staff aware of them and are they encouraged to be confident in projecting them? Is this consideration more pronounced amongst your key customer-facing/ relationship-managing staff?
How to enable staff to build a business-aligned public profile
If you decide that trust is important to your brand and that it is a worthwhile exercise to target growing that trust then you need to prepare and empower your staff to publicly represent your business.
- Tip 1: The first step is part of the broader marketing strategy, defining your values and key messages. It is important to remind staff of your values regularly and where possible encourage staff to live these values. When staff interpret and deliver messaging in their own words it sounds authentic, genuine and therefore trustworthy.
- Tip 2: Build a program of trust-focused marketing around them by supporting them to undertake certain trust/ authenticity/ credibility-boosting activities. Task staff with focusing on building meaningful relationships using a variety of techniques, in addition to allocating necessary budget, time and resource.
Can they author a blog series for your website? Are they actively commenting and connecting on social platforms such as LinkedIn and if so, do they have the support and endorsement of the company? Allow staff time and resource to submit abstracts for conferences and attend networking events.*
- Tip 3: Show that you trust your staff by supporting and sharing their thoughts and content on platforms such as your website and LinkedIn. Plan for, and incorporate, staff-authored content in your company social media strategy.
- Tip 4: Ensure that you regularly review which staff have support and whether there are other staff that may be worth providing similar support to. Constantly assessing your staff and the opportunities provided to them helps maintain continuity in the event of staff leaving.
*Tip 2 can become a drain on staff time. If this is the case and you feel your staff’s focus would be better suited to their core business tasks, then consider enlisting the support of a marketing partner such as Mogrify. We work directly with our customer’s experts on producing content for them, being active on social media, and even building event programs around them.
The balance of trust
By establishing good strong values (and getting your staff to buy into them) and trusting your staff to communicate them, customers will, in turn, trust the individuals and your business more. Staff will appreciate the support and investment being made in them which will likely result in better staff retention rates, staff satisfaction and a stronger belief in the corporate brand.
Like Ernest Hemingway said (we love a quote at Mogrify!), “The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.”
Providing opportunity and support to showcase your staff living and breathing your values should be a part of a broader, more holistic marketing strategy. When the balance of trust is right and your staff are suitably equipped, the outcome can be an increase in leads and ultimately growth in business.
What Mogrify offers
We take a holistic approach to promotion, distribution and amplification – in fact, to all your marketing needs. When we first work with you, we look at your big picture and determine the best strategy based on business needs.
If you are looking to increase trust, then we will suggest making that the immediate focus of your marketing for a period of time, as opposed to other potential focuses such as lead generation. Once the marketing strategy is aligned with your business strategy, we work with you to implement it. We scale costs up and down depending on the opportunities and your business needs.
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