Building trust and credibility with your audience is a key requirement of any firm. Those you do business with need to know that you understand their problems and believe that you'll be able to provide the solution.
But building trust provides a real challenge as buyers are better informed, more sceptical and influenced more by other sources of information themselves than by the official company channel.
Every year Edelman, a global leader in PR, produce a report into what people find credible. Their Trust Barometer is a global indication of which sources of information are being listened to and believed.
The top three on this list for 2019 are:
- company technical experts
- academic experts
- people like yourself
65% of people consider Company Technical Experts as "Very or Extremely credible".
Year-on-year the trustworthiness of company technical experts has also increased. This is very much in line with previous annual Trust Barometer Reports. This is fantastic news for firms who are stacked with exactly those experts (lawyers, accountants, advisors of every hue).
Also good news for these firms is that coming in just after technical experts as a trusted resource is 'A person like yourself' and a 'regular employee'. All firms need to do is activate these voices and empower their experts.
When it comes to making use of these channels to build trust with a firm's audience there are a number of employee advocacy strategies available. But successful employee advocacy requires three elements.
- Give employees a voice
- Create opportunities for shared action
- Empower them with information
I would argue to truly empower your employees demands focus and deliberacy. Give your employees the ability to showcase their professional knowledge to those who are important to them. Then, armed with authentic, expert knowledge from the colleagues they trust, those close to clients will share it. They will do it even more readily if they have the power to suggest which content is needed to build relationships with clients and prospects.