People only buy from brands they trust. And in order to build trust with your audience, they have to know you and like you. A good way to do that is to build a tribe. Being part of the group means that you can show up, help out, empathize and offer tried-and-tested solutions.
Communities are incredibly popular on social media, and one of the reasons is because we love to belong. We want to be part of the group. However, groups tend to stick together, and resist outsiders from coming in. Especially if that outsider acts like an expert without the expertise to back it up.
So how do you show up and build trust with your audience?
1. Stay Authentic
If you really want to be part of the group, you’ll have to be real. That means using your real profile — not your page, not your business persona. And it means that your real profile isn’t all hype and success, but a genuine person.
Make sure you use a real picture, not your airbrushed professional headshot, when joining social media groups. Use a real email address rather than a “no-reply” or generic business address (ie. admin@ or info@…). Talk about your actual day-to-day activities, not just what you think your audience wants to hear.
People can see through hype. If you really want that wonderful group of people to trust you and see you as credible, be honest. Be yourself.
2. Be responsive.
It’s so easy to just delete the negative comments and ignore the criticisms. But when you see comments, respond to them. Reply back to all the emails — not the spam, of course – but the real emails, even if they are rants and misconceptions about who you are and what you do.
How you respond to critics and fans show your audience who you are, as a person. Your response demonstrates the values you claim you stand for. And make no mistake, your audience is watching carefully.
Don’t pass up any opportunity to show up and offer assistance either. Respond to questions you have solutions for (and not just to promote your paid products or services!!). Comment on status updates. Be present!
3. Show respect.
One of the most common practices that can alienate an audience faster than bad breath is constant promotion. It’s disrespectful. It’s, frankly, rude.
Don’t just think of your audience as wallets. When you look at someone else and see profit, they know. It will show in the words you use, the products you create and the work you do for and with your community.
Be genuine in your desire to help. Remember your goal is to SERVE your audience, not have them serve you (with profits!). So respect them by offering value, not just another offer to spend.
4. Be a resource.
This goes with #3. When you can help the people in your tribe, even if it doesn’t pay off for you financially, you’ll build that trust. People will think of you as the go-to for help whenever they have a problem in that area. And sometimes, if you’re really helpful, they’ll turn to you even if you aren’t an expert in that area!
Don’t be afraid to offer help, even if that means you’re sending them to someone else. When you show that you’re a resource, for tips, directions, networking and even products, people will see you as an expert, and that builds that trust factor even more.
5. Motivate others.
Everyone loves someone who cheers on others. So when you get that opportunity, use your knowledge and passion to motivate others in your tribe! When you help them to see their potential for success, you’ll become someone who not only is empathetic and helpful, but someone who has experience and expertise. And you can’t buy that kind of reputation.
There are a couple of kinds of experts out there. There are the experts that seem aloof, and while intelligent, they aren’t very reachable. And then there are the experts that are accessible and approachable. Guess who gets more clients?
If you want to be looked up to and admired as well as liked and respected, the difference between aloof and approachable is how much you support others. Be a cheerleader. And build that know, like, trust factor faster.
6. Share openly.
If you want to be seen as the go-to expert in your area of business, get vulnerable about your journey. If it has to do with your audience and your niche, be open about where you were, because that’s where they are. When your tribe knows that you’ve been there, done that (got the t-shirt!), they’re more likely to see you as one of them.
Obviously you don’t want to share everything about your life. For safety and privacy’s sake, you don’t need to be completely open. But hiding when you’ve made mistakes, pretending that you’ve always been an expert, or “faking it till you make it” isn’t going to win you any friends. People can see through insincere business owners.
One of the best ways to share openly is to share your goals and to-do lists. Show your audience where you’re going. Be publicly accountable. Being willing to get vulnerable will go a long way to build trust with your audience.
7. Show proof.
At the beginning of this post, I mentioned that groups tend to be suspicious of outsiders claiming to be experts. And it’s true! When you’re new to a group, they aren’t going to trust you right away. That’s just a fact, and one that requires understanding and acceptance.
Rather than forcing your way in to a group, take the time to get to know people. Let them get to know you. And give them the proof they need that you are who you say you are, and you know what you’re talking about.
What kind of proof? Show them your experience, by relating personal stories. Explain how you help people by demonstrating how you have helped others in the past!
Don’t forget to listen. Show proof that you belong by first listening to the group. Get to know them and they’ll trust you more.
The key is to be accepted.
And in order to be accepted, you have to fit in first. When you can resonate with your tribe, by showing that you’ve been where they’ve been, and that you’re going on the same journey they are, they’re going to be much more likely to accept you as one of them. And when you can show that you’ve succeeded on your journey, they’re going to be much more likely to respond to your efforts.
Because people automatically trust someone they relate to. So find your tribe and build trust with your audience.