I read a report this weekend from the marketing solution provider Alterian– Your Brand: At Risk or Ready for Growth? The report is somewhat of a rehash of things that is already common knowledge but there are few things that stand out.
First, a full 95% from a survey conducted for the report indicated they did not trust advertising.Only 8% trust what companies say about themselves. A little over half 58% think that “companies are only interested in selling products and services to me, not necessarily the product or service that is right for me”.
But this report gives you the answer… wait for it… wait… yes you guessed it… social media. Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and Twitter are going to enable people to trust companies again. Also it’s going to allow or somehow change the attitude that companies sell you the product you really want.
The Big Elephant in the Room: Credibility
At the end of the day all marketing and social engagement hinge on one thing– are you credible? Does the consumer or your audience believe what you say because you have built a form of trust. Trust with your advertising, with their experience with you, trust in your product, and with your customer service.
Social engagement can not ride to the defense of advertising if you lack credibility. In fact it will only hurt because now those whom you lack a credible relationship now have a voice. They will use this platform to let you and the world know.
Social Media = Word of Mouth
What if social media went away? What type of plans and marketing would we be talking about? Well there still would be mass media but I believe word of mouth marketing would become even more of a critical element of a companies success. I’ve said before social media is the biggest word of mouth platform on the planet. How is word of mouth created? By having each interaction stand out. By giving more than what is expected or solving someones issue when it arises.
Word of mouth marketing is spread through the totality of experience someone has with you or your company. Social media isn’t the answer to the lack of trust in advertising. Building a strong foundation of products, service, and customer relations is the answer. This can be done no matter what level of your organization, down to the solo-entrepreneur to a large fortune 500 company.