I read two Forbes articles this week that caught my attention. One said that businesses are quickly forgotten, and the other said that our digital footprint is untrustworthy. On the one hand, we need to increase our visibility in the digital marketplace. At the same time, consumers don’t trust what we say.
Does Your Consumer Audience Trust You?
Justin Ethington, the founder of TrendCandy, wrote an article on Forbes targeted to B2B marketing. But it applies to all brands and thought leaders. Ethington said that there’s a widening trust gap in the world of B2B marketing. Whether they’re consumers, industry analysts, or the media, readers don’t trust the content being put out by B2B brands. Why? According to Ethington, most of the content brands publish is focused on selling and not helping. The result is that brands lose out on customers and consumers spend a lot of time sifting through digital noise until they find what they’re looking for. Well, now that’s heavy.
Peacock Today, Featherduster Tomorrow
The second article was titled, Remember: In Business, You Are Easily Forgettable. Nancy Marshall wrote that COVID-19 has made word-of-mouth marketing more challenging. Client referrals are critical, especially for startups and small business owners. Customer recommendations continue to be one of the prime ways to expand your market reach. Today, we have to cultivate a digital footprint to replace this word-of-mouth model. The days of meeting in restaurants and cafes could be on hold for a long while. Maybe they’ll never return. Research surveys tell us that global consumers say they will continue to occupy digital space, even after COVID-19 is history.
5 Reasons Why Your Digital Footprint Must be Authentic
The 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer survey found that:
- Trust is the second most crucial brand attribute.
- Trust has a strong correlation with loyalty, engagement, and advocacy.
- Without trust, you’ll lose customers and revenue.
- Without trust, you lose out on the opportunity to turn your customers into advocates.
- The old word-of-mouth marketing strategy can work negatively for you.
How to Make Your Digital Footprint Authentic
Define and Spotlight Your Purpose
Consumers want brands to take a stand on social, environmental, political, and cultural issues. In fact, according to Wunderman Thompson research data, 85% of Gen Z Americans want their brands to be about something more than profit. 80% responded that brands should help make people’s lives better. Use digital technology to tell your story.
Capitalize on Industry Trends
TrendCandy conducts extensive research on leading topics that clients can use in their content marketing efforts. Research results become material for PR releases, social media posts, or starting points for blog articles and e-books. You can do your own research or use other resources. The point is to know what your consumer is interested in and speak to those interests.
Make it Human
Once you know the trends and understand your consumer base’s most pressing issues, create heart-centered content that shows you understand their concerns. A Harvard Business Review article said that “emotionally connected customers are more than twice as valuable as highly satisfied customers.” They may pay less attention to prices and are more likely to become your brand ambassadors.
Create live interactive sessions, such as live feeds, live-streaming events, interactive classes, or seminars. Use digital media to recreate face-to-face interaction.
The ability to quickly pivot your marketing strategy will make the difference between survival and failure. Big brands rapidly adapted their marketing content to match what was going on in the world. Nike’s “Play Inside, Play for the World” campaign is a good example. Leveraging its digital reach, Nike created social media content to encourage social distancing. They didn’t lose touch with their consumer audience, and consumers saw that Nike didn’t lose touch with them.
You may also need to pivot to new channels. Surveys indicate that remote employees don’t want to work, shop, and browse on the same digital channels. They’re turning to new platforms such as virtual events, live streams, and “experiences.”
Make Yourself Trustworthy
One of the best ways to do this is to use customer-generated content. Build campaigns and ask your consumer audience to participate by posting videos or photos, sharing their thoughts about your brand, why they like your product or services. Post testimonials on your website.
Be transparent. If you’re a retail brand, provide complete information about the purchasing process from what items are in stock, how to pay, how long it will take before the shipment arrives, what to do if dissatisfied.
For thought leaders, provide opportunities for readers to comment or followup with questions. Engage those comments and questions.
A Walker consumer 2020 study predicts that by the end of 2020, customer experience will become more important than price and product.
Max out Your Presence on Social Media
Unlike your environmental footprint, you want to expand your digital footprint. 80% of consumers in the US and UK say they consume significantly more content today than before the pandemic. Make sure to show up where your consumer audience is hanging out.
The more channels your customers see you on, the more visibility–they won’t forget about you. If you’re a B2C brand, this probably means Facebook and Instagram. For most B2B companies, LinkedIn and Twitter should be a priority. But it’s not black and white.
Go live on your company page. Let your audience know about a new product or service. Use a live feed to provide updates you’re making to your staff or brand, like moving or expanding. Let your team talk about what they love about working with you or at your business. Provide an opportunity for Q&A.
Expand your digital footprint with online communities. If you’re a startup creating an online community will be more challenging. In the meantime, join other communities that are relevant to your vertical. Host sessions for members of the community to get to know you. Share your personal story, why you started the business, your dreams, visions, and goals. Talk about your service or product and ask for feedback from community members.
Establish Yourself as a Thought Leader in Your Industry.
The Edelman study found that consumers are more likely to do business with a brand that articulates its mission through thought leadership.
LinkedIn is one of the best social media channels for establishing yourself as a thought leader. Position yourself as a credible expert on a topic. Comment on other posts and offer solutions or opinions (but no marketing). Once you’ve established yourself as a thought leader, consumers will develop trust in your personal and company brand.
By maximizing your digital footprint across multiple channels, you’ll become memorable and credible. If you produce authentic, transparent content that lets consumers know you care about them, you’ll also overcome the trust divide.
I want to take this opportunity to thank all of our amazing followers. I am so grateful that you have chosen to spend some time with us each week. You should all have a fantastic 2021 and experience the manifestation of all your goals and objectives. Please use the comment box to let me know how you’re doing. Happy New Year!