consumer trust

To Build Consumer Trust, Brand Advocates Are the Key

These days, the consumer decision journey is more fragmented than ever. Shoppers have an abundant amount of online resources to help them decide which product to purchase and where. With so much information at their fingertips, trust and authenticity are key factors of influencing purchases. About.com recently conducted a study (featured in eMarketer) that found that there are 10 primary trust “elements,” or cues, that brands must establish in order to engender trust, including accuracy, expertise and transparency. 84% of respondents felt that brands needed to prove themselves trustworthy before they would interact with them.

In a social media context, the #1 way (at 41%) that brands can build trust with customers/prospects is allowing them to see reviews from people in their social networks.

Now, I know what you're thinking...How can I get more positive reviews on social networks?

By finding and activating your best customers- your Brand Advocates! Your Advocates won't just write any review. They'll write reviews that are oozing with enthusiasm and excitement. Parallels, a desktop virtualization software company, has energized its Advocates to create and publish reviews on Amazon. The average of star rating was 4.7/5 stars which boosted Parallels' star rating on Amazon from 3.5 to 4.5.

But wait! Advocates' advocacy doesn't stop at just reviews. As Lauren McCadney, head of social media for CDW and a Top 2012 Digital Marketer would say, “A review created by an Advocate is only one manifestation of advocacy. This is just the start of a relationship with Advocates, not the end.”

Brand Advocates are eager to be part of your brand. The question is, how do you want your Advocates to support you? Click here to read 7 ways (beyond reviews) to turn your Advocates into a marketing force.

-Cara Fuggetta, Marketing Manager, Zuberance

Online Reviews: Mostly Positive and Driven by Unselfish Motives

A common myth of online reviews is that they’re mostly negative. Many believe that if a customer has a negative experience at a restaurant or hotel, they'll go straight to Yelp or TripAdvisor to voice their frustration. While this may be the case sometimes, online reviews are actually mostly positive, according to a new Infographic by Demandforce. 87% of people post positive reviews most or every time. Only 2% post negative reviews most or every time. The motivations behind writing online reviews are positive as well:

  • 90% write reviews to help others make good decisions.
  • 79% write reviews because people rely on them and posting reviews is a way of giving back.
  • 79% write reviews to reward a company that has done right by you.

The unselfish reasons why people write online reviews align with recent Zuberance research: Brand Advocates recommend because they’ve had good experiences with a product or service (50%) and they want to help others make smarter purchase decisions (37%). Only 1% recommend brands for selfish reasons (i.e. for rewards, discounts, cash).

How to get more positive online reviews

While most businesses understand the importance of their online reputation, many struggle to get their customers to go to Yelp or TripAdvisor and actually write a review.

The key to getting more positive reviews is to make it easy! Reach out to your most satisfied customers (AKA Brand Advocates) and simply invite them to post a review online. You’ll be surprised how many of your Advocates are willing and eager to create glowing testimonials if you just give them the online tools to do so. For example, soon after GMC launched their advocacy program, 300 reviews were created and posted on Facebook and Twitter.

To learn more about energizing your Advocates, download the whitepaper, “Turning Your Customers into a Powerful Marketing Force.”

-Cara Fuggetta, Marketing Manager, Zuberance

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"Up to 90% of [marketing] spend goes to advertising and retail promotions. Yet the single most powerful impetus to buy is often someone else's advocacy." - David C. Edelman, Principal, McKinsey & Company, in Harvard Business Review"

Marketers are spending money in all the wrong places! To which we say...

Consumers Don't Trust Brands, They Trust Their Friends

Dear Brands,

Consumers don’t trust you.

Sincerely,

The truth.

OK, maybe that’s a little dramatic, but a new study by Nielsen found that consumers are indeed losing faith in paid media and looking to their friends for brand recommendations more than ever before.

  • 92% of consumers around the world say they trust earned media (recommendations from friends and family) above all other forms of advertising, an increase of 18% since 2007.
  • 70% trust online consumer reviews, an increase of 15%.
  • Less than half of consumers trust TV, magazine, and newspaper ads, which is a 25% decline from previous studies.

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With the rise of social media and third party review sites, everyone has a voice these days. Even my Grandma told me she wrote a Yelp review of her local Hometown Buffet (she gave it 5/5 stars of course). It is now crucial that brands get their Advocates to venture out on the social web and recommend on their behalf.

Check out these success stories of companies empowering their Advocates:

To learn more about leveraging your trusted and influential Brand Advocates, download “Turning Fans and Followers into Brand Advocates.”

Zuberance Founder/CEO Speaks at TedxConstitutionDrive

The theme for TEDxConstitutionDrive 2010 was "Trust". Trust as both a noun and a verb. In a small venue with about 60 people, the event explored different perspectives on trust that went beyond the basic morality and reached into business, technology and neuroscience to arrive at sometimes surprising conclusions. Zuberance Founder/CEO, Rob Fuggetta, spoke on "Consumer Trust in the Social Media Age." Take a look at the video below.

Click here to view more videos from TedxConstitution Drive.