3 ways social media affects credibility
Social media can be a touchy subject for business owners. I’ve heard many say it’s useless, but I couldn’t disagree more. Not only have I had mentors who’ve made millions via Facebook advertising, I also worked for a marketing agency that landed multiple clients a week due to their social media efforts.
Like the rest of the book, this section is of course about credibility, not about earning money or clients from social media. Still, I mention this because I don’t want you to shrug social media off as an illegitimate option. As for social media credibility, attaining it can indirectly generate sales, leads and profits. Here are three ways to do that:
1. Post once a week to prevent visitors from wondering if you’re alive
Is your company still in business? An inactive social media page will leave potential clients wondering whether you’re a legitimate company.
An active page, however, emits confidence and reflects the quality of your business. If potential clients see that you use your page to regularly answer questions, engage with visitors and share tips, they feel they’ll be in good hands if they become a customer. And that indirectly leads to conversions.
There’s no need to get overwhelmed and post every day on every single social media network. Just pick one or two and then post once a week on each platform. Doing this helps create a connection between your business and customers.
2. Advertising and The Mere Exposure Effect
If you think that your credibility and sales will explode by only posting once a week, let me tell you straight—they won’t. The sad fact of the matter is that it’s becoming harder and harder to reach people on most social media platforms without using paid advertising. You can post five days a week, but those messages will still only be displayed to a fraction of your followers. To ensure your posts are seen, you need to advertise.
While you may be disappointed to hear you have to pay to reach followers, the benefits of advertising to them can be huge. The reason is that you’re applying a proven marketing tactic: The Mere Exposure Effect. This principle says that the more a person becomes familiar with something, the more they like it. Think of Coca Cola. It is one of the biggest, most profitable companies in the world because it plasters its message everywhere. Traveling to nearly two dozen countries in the past decade, I’ve seen Coke ads everywhere—even in remote villages in the Philippines with no vehicle access. Coke uses The Mere Exposure Effect to sell its bubbly beverage, and it works.
When I worked at the aforementioned marketing agency, The Mere Exposure Effect was the primary means of winning new clients. We would advertise to followers five days a week, and as if by magic we’d get multiple calls, emails and Facebook messages from those prospects on a weekly basis. The more our followers saw our messages, the more they liked us and believed we were trustworthy.
If The Mere Exposure Effect can work for my former company and for Coke, it can work for you. Just advertise to your social media followers multiple times a week, every week for six months or longer, and you can see the magic for yourself. You gain credibility through familiarity.
3. Size of audience
The most powerful credibility indicator on this list, and likely the most obvious, is the size of your social media audience. Have 100,000 followers on Facebook? A half million on Twitter? Congratulations, you’ve just gained instant credibility of monumental proportions. While I mention this tactic here, it is really an influencer indicator. As such, we’ll discuss it in more detail in the next section of this book.
While social media can help you win instant credibility, social media marketing isn’t exactly a must. If you’re just starting your business or have more important marketing activities to focus on, then you may want to forgo setting up pages on any platforms. Much like the credibility indicator discussed next chapter, using social media necessitates a commitment to posting content regularly. If you’re not consistently active, it will have the opposite effect you desire—it will undermine your credibility.