Can Social Media Help to Re-establish Trust in Business?

Moderated by: Brendan Hughes
Location: Foothill J Level:

The believability of businesses throughout the world has taking a hammering over the past number of years. Today we are less trusting of large organisations than we have ever been. Many will advocate that social media can bring the transparency and openness back into the relationships between brands and consumers. But are company communication executives not just manipulating social media in the same ways that they have manipulated traditional public relations? Can social media really bring organisations to account or are we just suckers for a charismatic CEO who is not afraid of putting himself on YouTube?

I will talk about the current status of trust online and how some leading organisations have clearly understood the importance of social media in managing their reputation. Trust is earned through consistent and persistent behaviours that display a disposition which puts the customer first.

Social media is a powerful tool for consumers to express their views towards brands. It is a powerful tool also for brands to display the responsiveness that theirpermanently networked customers expect. Brands that win their customers’ trust respond quickly. Brands that lose their customers trust don’t respond, or don’t respond quickly enough; leaving a vacuum where their customers assume they just don’t care.

In this session I’d like to explore what strategies we can employ for establishing trust online? As we spend more of our time engaging with customers remotely – customers that we may never meet or even speak to in person – how do we convey our believability?

Since people today are less likely to believe corporate messages communicated through PR or advertising, what tools are at the disposal of big business to develop more intimate and meaningful relationships with their customers?

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace – none of these were designed with the intention that businesses would use them as ways to build their consumer fan bases. What strategies are appropriate in these social spaces? What is acceptable and not acceptable to consumers?

How far can we push privacy with consumers? As the social networks push the boundaries by opening up access to the data they hold on users, what can businesses do to maximise the opportunities presented without overstepping the mark with their customers?

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Brendan Hughes
04/29/2010 11:22pm PDT

I am moderating this discussion. If you are planning to attend let me know here

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