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24 October 2008

Social Media as Trust Bridge

So here’s another argument for social media…

In this year’s Edelman’s trust barometer results, they stated that, globally, trust in a “person like me” is 58%, where as only 20% of respondents trust corporate or product advertising. (ouch!)

Well, can you think of a faster way to connect to “people like me” than Facebook? Or MySpace? Or LinkedIn? Etc., etc., and so forth?

The Edelman report goes on to talk about how social media is on the rise. As expected, it is also more highly used and trusted by 25-to-34-year-old “opinion elites.” The very same generation that constitutes the echo boomers that will have to buy homes (like it or not) to house those families they will soon be making.

Words of advice from Mr. Edelman:

“Companies need to be engaged at the intersection of the top-down and peer-to-peer models of communication relying on both experts and empowered employees to supplement statements by the CEO.”

In short he’s saying, get a profile, join some groups, get some “friends” because the biggest stat is coming to get you.

•    85% of respondents will pass along good information about a company or will discuss “negative experiences.”

And they are doing it on social media channels.

So it looks like our new SVP of marketing has her work cut out for her. Who’s that you ask? Well, the answer’s staring at you from this page, but you’ll have to wait until Monday to read the details.

UPDATE:

And as I drove home tonight I was thinking, since trust in CEOs continues to lag at about 20% in the United States, versus 43% for an average employee, I wondered how much CEOs and company employees can move the needle on trust by employing social media to the extent where they become the “person like me” who enjoys trust ratings in the upper 50th percentile. I suppose that would be the ultimate goal after all.

2 thoughts on “Social Media as Trust Bridge

  1. Thanks for the sharing your thoughts and the study.

    As I introduce and promote these social media/connection/conversation/authentic/transparent tools to my teammates, skepticism and uncertainty wash over their open-mindedness.

    Like all fine communicators, sharing a third party, printed study is a great way to add heft to the social media importance story.

    Thanks again.

  2. Thanks for giving it a read, Ken.

    I have certainly encountered skeptics across the board as well.

    To your point, though, trust in industry experts such as Edelman rank a weighty 56%. I’ll put my money on him that he’s right.

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