Trust No One by Sebastien Millon – follow @sebreg on Twitter
Brand trust is a strange phrase. How can you have trust in something that is inanimate, a concept with vague applications? Well, that’s the point – you can’t. You can only trust the people who tell you that a brand delivers a good service, or product.
While you might think that you’re best placed to create this trust – and tell everyone how amazing your brand is – you’d be pretty wrong. People don’t trust things, they trust people. More significantly, they trust the people they know.
Customer recommendation is probably your number one tool to build an excellent brand reputation. Word of mouth is a huge factor in creating a strong, recognisable brand, with 92% of people trusting personal recommendation over any other form of advertising. But how can this be done?
Build a community, not an audience
The role of social media is in the name – it shouldn’t be your sole marketing channel, because people don’t use it to be sold at. They use it to communicate with others – so rather than selling to potential leads, by telling them what you offer, it works far better to talk with them and ask what they want to see.
Unlike traditional marketing channels, social media is not a broadcast tool. It is an engagement tool. It gets people talking to you and, more importantly, about you. Use the metrics about online chatter to discover who your real audience are, what they are happy with – and what they would change about your service or product.
A little word about LinkedIn
If you offer B2B services and don’t have an up-to-date company profile on LinkedIn, you are missing out a massive opportunity. Just as consumers like to read reviews on Amazon before purchasing a product, potential clients will likely be looking at your company and key players to see how highly you come recommended.
Ensuring your personal profile is highly visible, with select recommendations in a prominent place, is a good place to start. Ask for recommendations from a variety of previous clients – and be sure to reciprocate. Making the link between yourself and your company page is another useful way to build traffic, both for yourself and your company.
Get out in the real world
All this online marketing is fab, it really is. But nothing beats putting a handshake to a name – so get out there and introduce yourself. People are more memorable than brands – so your people should be your brand. Get yourself and your team out to meetings, business breakfasts, events, anything that will enable them to meet people face-to-face.
There are some great networks around, depending on where you are in the country. Some are national, while others are local. If you’re a small, locally operating business, don’t be scared of the national networks, though – if your service is unique enough, people are likely to want it regardless of location. Remember: nothing comes of nothing. Take the leap and get talking to anyone and everyone!
Everybody loves free stuff. We don’t just mean physical products – although if your budget allows for it, these can go a long way to building word-of-mouth recommendations.
Free stuff can also mean free content. Give away enough to demonstrate that you know what you’re on about, and people will begin to share with others. Ways to do this include blogs, whitepapers, guest articles, print articles, infographics – the list goes on. If people think they are getting something for free, and it has your branding stamped all across it (both literally and in tone, message and style), you will become memorable.
Speaking of free stuff, Bell Branding are offering a competition to provide £500 worth of free services! All you need to do is send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject title “Yes please” and include your company contact details. A random draw will be made from the viable entries on 31st July 2014 – so get entering!
The small print: any data collected from the Bell Branding competition will not be sold or shared to any third party. By entering the competition you agree for your details to be held on file solely for Bell Branding’s use. The Company will not abuse the access to this information but may contact you at a later date with news updates. If you would prefer that your information was deleted after the competition draw, please include “Delete me” in the body of your email. A ‘viable entry’ is one which includes all company contact details from an organisation based in the U.K. The prize is worth up to £500 and must be taken in full either as a full project or discount against a larger project.