Trust but verify.


President Ronald Regan popularized this Russian proverb in talking about how the U.S. would view nuclear arms treaties with the old USSR. Regan learned the proverb from a Russian friend and loved to use it when he met with USSR General Secretary Gorbachev.  Today, it looks like consumers have the same view of information on social media sites particularly those promoting products and services.

According to the second Social Recommendations Index by Social Media Link , consumers breakdown the product/service purchase process into three steps: product discovery, research and information gathering and post process advocacy.  At the core of this three-step process is how brands create trust for produts, support for our services or advocates for a point of view.  Yet, not all social sites and their recommendations are tusted equally.

Facebook leads the way as the most trusted social media site with 71% of the 24,000+ survey respondents, followed by retail sites (67%), Pinterest (64%) and blogs (61%).  Twitter and Instagram were at the bottom of the trust race with only 47% and 38% respectively.

Most importantly, the survey looked at who influences purchase decisions the most.  Not surprisingly, family and close friends are the most influential (77%). And, personal stories and experiences with products and services make a review or recommendation have the most impact (83%).

This new research called the Social Recommendations Index shows us how to create and promote trust by relying on top trusted sites like Facebook.  But to be really successful, trust must emanate from close friends and family through personal stories and experiences.    In the end it all comes down to who and what do you trust when it comes to social sharing. Getting to the trusted state is crucial for any business, service or institution.  If it isn’t squandered or abused, institutions can leverage trust into new customers, new supporters or new advocates.


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One Response to Trust but verify.

  1. sydhavely says:

    Great post, Jay. As you well know, trust is the coin of the realm in our business. It takes years to build and seconds to lose. Just ask A Rod, Tiger Woods, Lance Armstrong, Barry Bonds….the list goes on. And when it comes to personal trust, that’s even more complex and complicated, as you say. Well done.

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