Stop Chasing Likes—Build Trust

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With social media status relying so heavily on others “liking” your opinions, “sharing” them and up-voting them, the temptation is strong to go after “approval” when what you should be going after trust. In other words, you’ll be much better off when you stop chasing likes and build trust.

And, yes, there is a difference.

What’s the Difference?

Social media has created bubbles within which people who share opinions bounce off of one another and convince themselves their truth is the only one that matters. However, the rise of social media has so elevated the desire for approval, many people in these groups go along just to get along.

As a result, many people have “liked” things with which they aren’t even engaged. Meanwhile, you’re sitting there feeling smug because your page has 30,000 likes when what you should be asking is how many of those people are engaged and more importantly—how many of them trust you?

Trust Is a Must

If you’re going to build a loyal cadre of repeat customers, you must build trust. In other words, rather than “followers”, you true believers, people who are members of your target market and buy from your e-commerce store. Here’s the thing though, while likes are freely given, trust must be earned.

It’s time to put in some work.

Earning Trust

First and foremost, you must make every effort to ensure everything you put before the public is credible. This extends to the look of your e-commerce presence. Many free website themes, like those offered by Shopify, permit customization so you can ensure their look is reflective of the tastes of your ideal customer.

Beyond that, you need to be helpful, exhibit leadership, be responsive, display honesty and have fun. In other words, be a credible human being with concern for others and a sense of humor.

  • Credibility: While it’s tempting to post content for its shock value and to be first with the hot new news, take some time to ensure what you’re about to say is real. In addition to your original work, incorporate content from trustworthy third-party experts to enhance your halo.
  • Candor: Tell your story. Use your about us page to give people an opportunity to get to know who you are, why you’re in business and what you bring to the game for them. Remember, most people are constantly wondering what’s in it for them, so talk in terms of their interests. Rather than the pronouns “I”, “me”, and “my“, write “you”, “your” and “you’re”, so people feel you’re speaking directly to them. But above all, be honest and forthright. Look for the truth and share it openly.
  • Consistency: Your message will define your persona and everything you do, say and support must reinforce it. If your thing is environmental awareness and you suddenly start espousing the virtues of bulldozing a rain forest, you can expect your trust factor to take a significant hit. Further, when you train your customers to expect a certain level of service, you must make every effort to maintain it. It’s impossible to overestimate the importance of consistency.
  • Comicality: Regardless of the nature of your work, there are times when opportunities for humor will present themselves. Laughter is good. It makes you more human, particularly when you laugh at yourself and encourage others to laugh along with you. It makes you approachable, which in turn feeds into trust.

Trust Generates Likes—But Not Vice Versa

When you’ve put in the work to establish trust among your customer base, you’ll get likes too. As word spreads about your credibility, candor, consistency, and comicality you’ll develop a following of like-minded people who will become your evangelists.

As they tell other people about your virtues others will seek you out and you’ll see your like count grow. However, rather than empty “likes,” these will be people who believe in you, are engaged with your brand and are proud to be associated with what you represent.

So, stop chasing likes and build trust. Yes, accomplishing the latter is a bit more involved, but the effort you’ll expend will carry you much farther.

And, you’ll get the likes in the process.

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Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a husband, father, martial artist, budget-master, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market.

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