Does it surprise anyone that over one-fourth of search results for the world’s largest brands are links to USER generated content? Peer recommendations are the know, like and trust factors that have catapulted social media into mainstream commerce.
In fact, over 75% of consumers trust peer recommendations while less than 15% trust advertisements. Is it any wonder so many companies have jumped on the bandwagon, branding themselves via Facebook, Twitter and corporate blogs?
To be truly successful in Social Media ventures you need to ENGAGE your potential customers. It isn’t enough to simply set up a corporate blog and allow comments to your posts. I know I read quite a few blogs and their ensuing comments, and I’m amazed how many readers ask questions that are never answered by the publisher. Where’s the engagement? Not only does your blog need fresh content – you need to field questions in the comments. It’s called dialog. In marketing circles, it’s called MONEY TALKS.
Social Media strategies are akin to networking strategies
It’s about building your friends’ networks and keeping your profile status updated. It encompasses more than allowing others to write on your Facebook wall. It’s contributing to their success as well. There are potential clients on your friend’s sites (their sphere of influence) that you could or would never be able to reach on your own.
Quality wins over quantity
Quantity versus quality what works, what doesn’t? Reading Tweets from a user every 30 seconds gets annoying. I’d rather see quality versus quantity, and I bet I’m not alone. I believe social media pays best via meaningful engagement.
Know, like and trust
Know, like and trust are terms relative to sales, not just face-to-face with a sales representative, but also the Internet. Billions of dollars are spent online every year, much of that with businesses we’ve never heard of, so your know, like and trust factors need to be that much more compelling.
Social media sites, most noticeably Facebook, use the “like” button to convey trust, but most business websites rely on professional design, value-add content and competitive pricing to carry the day, and this is where online buyers can sometimes get into trouble.
The ‘lock’ icon and https: lend credibility to the security of financial transactions, but even fraudulent (or less than ethical) businesses can obtain SSL certificates. There are things to look for on sites that imply trust, like a brick and mortar address and phone number. It’s amazing how many ecommerce sites have NO contact information other than a general email address or contact form. Plus, some use Domain Privacy to hide ownership information about the site itself.
Testimonials convey trust, but not so much if only first names are used, or if the hyperlink points to the site you’re presently visiting.
I once visited a site where the owner was inquiring, how to improve his ranking on Google. One of the first things I noticed on his site was that it had two testimonials from different individuals but listing the same URL for each.
The first testimonial raved about a service they didn’t even offer on their site, which immediately seemed strange.
The second raved about their customer support. I was curious, so I did a WHOIS on the URL that was listed on the testimonials, and it turns out that domain has never been registered, and the site I was on has only been online for four months.
Would I trust my credit card with that business? Not in a million years, and not because the site itself wasn’t professionally designed, or offered solutions that matched my specific requirements, or were even attractively priced. Their trust factor had been compromised.
Beware of red flags when pondering whether to share your credit card info with businesses online. The Internet is littered with scammers like a minefield. Be careful where you step.
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