Trust…A Very Powerful Tool

Trust is indeed a very interesting aspect of social media. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…without trust you have nothing on social media. With this aspect so being so important how can we ensure we are creating an environment of trust through our posts?

I really like the trust formula developed by Steve Rayson and outlined in this week’s lecture. Authority x’s Helpfulness x’s Intimacy divided by self-promotion is a pretty spot on interpretation of how trust is developed online. That being said I do believe our teacher, Justin Kings is correct in saying having an element of reliability in this equation is important. This is perhaps my biggest frustration when it comes to social media, both with individuals and brands.


In my reading reaction this week I talked about an experience I had with Citibikes in NYC over the Memorial Day weekend. If you are not familiar with Citibikes they are bikes (sponsored by Citi Bank) you can rent out for certain periods of time with stations all over the city. It’s supposed to make renting bikes easy, however mine and so many others experiences were just that. To make a long story short my friends and I spent almost two hours circling a two-mile radius trying to find a station that a) had enough bikes, b) had bikes that were able to be rented, c) accepted my credit card, d) accepted the code given to me once my transaction was completed to rent the bikes. At almost every station we went to we saw the same people from previous stops experiencing the same problem. I called customer service three times with no luck and finally took to Twitter to see if I could get a response there. Still no luck…I felt frustrated and defeated! How are they supposed to make my experience better if they don’t see what’s wrong!?


This is an example of what brands don’t want to experience on social media. The goal should be to add value to follower’s experience. Answering tweets (reliability), helping people (i.e. listening), having authority over content and network, giving followers a unique experience, and a little self-promotion is the formula for success. It sounds so simple, yet so many companies do it wrong. The train company mentioned in this week’s lecture has done it right. I was so impressed by their practices! If only other companies would implement these easy processes into their routine…it would mean a world of difference to frustrated followers!


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