The Trust Deficit: Why Content Marketing is Your Best Friend

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automotive-social-media-marketing-kathi-kruseTrust is a pivotal tool consumers use to sort and prioritize the gargantuan amount of information they find online.

About.com’s “The Trust Factor” Study recently identified trust as crucial in consumer-brand relationships and a key driver in decision-making. The Trust Factor found that the existence of trust drives consumer decisions, with 84% of respondents reporting they will not engage with a brand until trust has been established.

“With the high volume of information at consumers’ fingertips, not only is trust a valuable filter, it is a prerequisite for consumers to even enter the purchase funnel,” said Laura Salant, director, research, About.com. “By understanding how consumers view trust and what they value most, marketers can tailor their outreach to deliver meaningful information to create authentic, long-lasting relationships.”

71% of consumers trust brands that provide useful info without trying to sell them something.

“Beyond the fact that content marketing powers Social Media, search and sales, marketers must use content marketing because consumers don’t trust advertising.” says Heidi Cohen, digital and direct marketing expert at New York Times Digital.

Consumers consider content marketing in the form of editorial content (whether from a blog or Social Media platform), as more trustworthy than advertising. There is no more broadcasting of untrustworthy messages to a mass audience. Brilliant content marketing is void of promotion; nowhere does it scream “buy from us!”. It’s a human voice that relays information and answers customers seek, thereby enhancing its credibility.

Content marketing is the antidote for consumers’ lack of trust in advertising.

I was fascinated by a recent Stephen Colbert interview with former Ambassador to China and current Utah Governor John Huntsman where he speaks of a”Trust Deficit” permeating throughout our culture. I find this “Trust Deficit” happens readily when someone is faced with a buying decision. No trust built equals no sale made.

The very reason Social Media, blogs and online ratings sites were born is because people don’t trust advertising messages. They want to hear from people like themselves – their trusted network. Our purchase decisions are based on the feedback we get from our friends and family and being connected through technology has made it that much easier.

One of the best ways to attract new customers and connect with repeat customers is to offer relatable, helpful and shareable content. It’s what sets you apart from the rest of the pack and leaves your competition wondering how it happened.

Content marketing is your BFF when it comes to establishing consumer trust.

I’ve had my blog for over 2 years now, consistently posting 2 times per week, and it’s the single-most reason for my credibility and why I get leads. For dealerships, creating and maintaining a blog requires planning and people. It’s a matter of finding those quality people within your organization and allowing them to share remarkable content they find or create.

Here are 5 tips to get your content marketing’s trustworthiness on track:

  1. Display respect, care and consideration for employees and customers. When it comes to good manners, the rules still apply from back when you learned them in kindergarten. Always keep in mind that customers observe how you treat your employees and others connected with your organization.
  2. Be open where appropriate about your store’s business practices.  What you write, post and share shows everything someone needs to know about your business. Keep confidential information private but when applicable, let employees and customers “inside the circle”. Displaying a clear motive along with your good faith practices is a welcome sight in this world of truthiness.
  3. Build engagement by using every opportunity to solve consumers’ large and small challenges. 85% trust brands that use content to inform or help them with a need.
  4. Seek effective content creators who intimately know your brand. Enlist regular front-line personnel, your customers and New Media experts to create and present your content. No one watches your brand like you do so make sure what’s being said is consistent with organization’s values.
  5. Deal with negativity quickly and decisively. Turn negative remarks and reviews into positive experiences. First and foremost, don’t ignore anything that’s being said about you. How you handle conflict with one customer allows your whole network to witness it, thereby showing them what to expect should something happen to them.

Your Turn: How has your content marketing developed trust with your customer? What results have you had with respect to trust and buying decisions?

Kathi Kruse
Kathi Kruse is an Automotive Social Media Marketing Expert, Blogger, Speaker, Coach, Author and Founder of Kruse Control Inc. Born in the heart of Los Angeles to a family of “car people”, Kathi’s passion for the car business spans a 30-year career managing successful dealerships in Southern California. Kathi is the author of “Automotive Social Business – How to Captivate Your Customers, Sell More Cars & Be Generally Remarkable on Social Media”. Her Kruse Control Blog is the leading Automotive Social Media blog in the US.
Kathi Kruse

@kathikruse

Automotive Social Media, Online Reputation Marketing/Coaching/Training. Blogger, Speaker, Author: AUTOMOTIVE SOCIAL BUSINESS. Founder/CEO Kruse Control Inc
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Kathi Kruse
Kathi Kruse