How to Build Trust Online and Grow Your Brand

Plus Why Trust is so Important for Your Brand’s Marketing Strategy

Gone are the days of stylized, well-curated posts, specifically when it comes to images. 

Today’s consumers are abruptly shifting from filtered, curated posts. But why?


Millennials and Gen Z’ers are drivers of this trend, voicing distrust of influencers and brands’ promoted posts. 

So why are these younger generations less likely to be seduced by aspirational posts of the “You can have this life if you buy into XYZ” than older generations? 

Millennials and Gen Z are digital natives. 

They have either seen the shift to an online world or have only ever known a digital world. Couple that with the current state of affairs and their willingness to speak up about things (think social issues and the environment), and you have a target audience that is willing to push brands toward more authenticity.

By the Numbers

According to a Wall Street Journal Poll, more than 60% of Americans distrust social media, in particular, the platform Facebook. Further, 74% said that letting social media companies collect and use their data in return for free services is not a fair trade-off. Another 55% believe that social media platforms do more to spread lies and falsehoods, rather than accurate information. 

In other words, Americans have lost trust in social media platforms and think the negatives outweigh the positives. With that being said, 70% of Americans admit to using social media at least once a day. There’s a disconnect between belief and behavior, to say the least. 

So just how can brands build trust on social media and grow their companies?  

Be Authentic

Today, trust is built on authenticity. You have to be “authentically you” online. First, it’s time to ditch the highly-curated, photoshopped feed for something more realistic. Don’t be afraid to share posts that aren’t perfect. Candid shots of employees not only put a face to the brand’s name, but can also create real and more lasting connections with your audience. Authentic posts and images can show your audience that they aren’t much different from the people working for your brand.

Second, promote your values, not just your products or services. Today’s consumers like to see companies take a stand on things like the environment, inclusivity, and other social justice issues. Don’t take a stance that your company doesn’t believe in just to match the values of a particular audience; they will be able to sniff out when you aren’t being authentic. Remember, today’s consumers will still respect a brand for standing by their beliefs, even if they don’t personally agree with a brand. 

Provide Value

Focus on quality and value that you can provide in your posts. Don’t be overly salesy. Instead, provide information in your posts that your audience is seeking. This is called rich content. When you provide rich content, not only are you filling a need your audience has, but you are also establishing yourself as a thought leader in your niche. This goes a long way to building trust and long-term brand loyalty. 

Interact with Your Audience

Take the time to interact with your audience. Don’t ignore their comments, good or bad. Respond to as many as you possibly can in a timely manner. Go beyond the regular feed or blog post with live content. 

Going live serves two big purposes. The first is that it gives your audience a chance to interact with you in real time. Getting a response to a comment a day later is nice, but live, one-on-one interactions are even better. So do a Q&A session, a product demonstration, or a behind-the-scenes look to give your audience a chance to chat in real time. It also gives your audience a chance to interact with one another, giving you opportunities to build a community around your brand. 

The second purpose of a live stream is that it allows you the opportunity to be authentic. Don’t worry about being perfect or always on script in a live. Today’s consumers love realness, so if you trip over your words, no biggie! Have some fun while doing your live stream and just be yourself. When consumers see you being real and having some fun, they are more likely to stay interested and build a relationship with your brand. 

Final Thoughts

If you want your audience to buy into what you are selling, you have to focus on building trust. If they don’t trust your brand, they’ll take their time and money elsewhere. To build trust, you have to focus on being real and authentic. Interact with your audience and build a relationship with them and a community around your brand. Finally, show good faith with your audience by ditching the constant stream of sales pitches by throwing value into the mix.