Brands with social media presence seen as more ‘human’

Social media platforms provide businesses with a huge opportunity to improve consumer trust, research finds.

More than a quarter of respondents (29 per cent) to a survey by Trustpilot say brands that are active on social media are more ‘human’, meaning they appear more approachable and helpful by having real conversations with customers online.

Additionally, 31 per cent of people trust brands more when the company has conversations with people on social media, and 20 per cent check a brand’s social media presence when they are thinking about making their first purchase with the company.

However, the type of social presence a brand has, and the type of content it shares is also important. The research looked into the ways in which brands interact on social media, particularly focussing on paid-for versus organic content.

Overwhelmingly customers prefer organic content, with almost a quarter (24 per cent) revealing they trust companies that grow their social audience by interacting with people, while a similar number (23 per cent) say they don’t trust companies who advertise on social media in order to grow their network.

Moreover, only 16 per cent of people say they pay attention to content brands pay for on social media.

The impact of digital marketing

The findings come amid an increasing appetite from brands to understand the impact of digital marketing. In response to this, Facebook recently launched new measurement tools for businesses to assess how effective online ads are at increasing in-store visits.

Digital behavioural scientist Dr Jillian Ney says, ‘The results of the research are interesting. They highlight that even new social advertising is regarded as a sales tool and has a lower level of trust and acceptance with consumers.

‘On the other hand, organic content seems to be helping customers determine the service characteristics of brands and their communities, helping them to reduce purchase risk. Brands need to understand what content and triggers consumers want to see from social content and plan accordingly; they need to have the right conversations.’

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