By: Joseph Clark
April 17, 2013
One of the lasting takeaways from yesterday’s presentation from marketing executive Marvin Ball was his true passion and belief in the importance of “trust” , both in marketing and in everyday life. While he provided several other key pieces of advice throughout his presentation such as “every employee is in marketing” , I found myself focused on his resounding message involving the necessity of trust in the world of marketing.
Immediately I began to think of the lack of trust that is currently present between consumers and firms in the emerging social media marketing industry. As can be seen in the provided graphic, a 2012 study found that Americans have very little “trust” for the social media advertising content that companies are currently providing, roughly 15% compared to 70% trust in recommendations of products from friends and family. While these findings surely wont scare off major brands from using social media platforms to market their products, it certainly points to a trend that we as consumers are reluctant to believe, trust, and consequently react positively to social media marketing on a broad scale. What else does this begin to illustrate? As FutureLab blogger Matt Rhodes argues, “Overall the message is clear – consumers trust content they go out to find (from expert reviews to recommendations from friends and family) than they do content that is pushed at them”. So how do brands leverage the direct connection to consumers that social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter provide?
For one, brands benefit from actually engaging on social media rather than strictly advertising on them. For example, Zappos, an online and clothing retailer, has been recognized by several social media analysts as providing consumers with an interactive and engaging social media presence. On their Facebook page, Zappos has interactive features such as a “Fan of the Week” contest, where “friends” of Zappos post pictures of themselves with the Zappos box. Zappos then selects a lucky fan to become fan of the week and posts the individuals picture on the company’s wall. This not only acts as a creative advertising technique for Zappos, but also builds fan loyalty and trust.
As social media marketing continues to evolve, I think we will see more and more of Marvin’s idea of “trust” in the world of marketing emerge. Firms must adequately utilize social media platforms to engage with consumers and build their trust. Once trust is established, then brands may be able to broaden their direct advertising scope on social media. But as we’ve seen, building that trust on social media platforms may prove to be more difficult then brands originally expected.