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How Do You Build Trust With Customers Online?

how_to_attract_customers_with_facebook_promo-1.pngThe phrase, "I Googled you," is more than an example of product placement well-applied or a sly name drop; it now implies a change of status. If someone Google's you, you now have clout. You have digital street cred.

Street cred or social proof is the oldest reputation builder in the book; it's just being accrued in a different way. The principle goes something like this: social group tested, personal participation approved. In other words, if people in a trusted group are doing something, that's your litmus test. It passes muster with them, so now you can do it too.

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What can I do to create trust with customers?

How can digital street cred translate to traction online? It starts with realizing two very important things:

1. People put the majority of their trust in recommendations from friends and family.

2. The second highest percentage of consumer trust comes from online reviews (70%).

These findings are backed up by the latest Nielsen Ratings Report.

The question then becomes: What do you do with this information? You find ways to shift the social cred your way. The trick is you have to create a social tide if you want to change it. Here are 5 ways to create serious social surf:

1. Build a network of expert connections. This is the equivalent of rubbing shoulders with the most respected person in the room. You do this by blogging original, relevant and honest content, offering cross-promotions and inbound linking. Maybe showcase an interview boasting your knowledge and credibility on your website.

2. Ask for a parting gift. Satisfied customers are almost always willing to leave a positive review. Don't be shy about asking for one. The more reviews you have, the more potential customers will trust you. Spread the wealth. Have reviews posted on Yelp or Google as well as your own website to increase your exposure.

3. Post your stats. If you have accomplished something impressive, let the social grapevine know about it. Statistics or accomplishments let other people know what you are actually capable of.

4. Always say thank you. The rule you learned as a kid still applies. Turn on your social media alerts so that when someone shares your data or leaves a comment, you can respond quickly. This lets people know you're responsive and available.

5. Establish, then monitor your Klout. Yes, there is an analytical site called Klout. It scores your digital sphere of influence and rates it between 1 and 100. The higher your rating, the more you get rewarded. It's a good way to show you have social sway. There are several other analytical tools out there, though.

Social proof isn't evident overnight, but every search means you're a click away from turning a searcher into a loyal follower.

Questions and Final Thoughts

What are you doing to become a Thought Leader online?

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