Social Credibility – How can you grow it?

Are you currently interested in growing the social credibility of your company?

Despite the ubiquity of social media and digital experts, many corporations don’t use social platforms effectively to engage communities and build their social credibility. But what do we mean by social credibility, and how can businesses get better at it?

Social credibility is the ability to connect with and effectively engage an organisation’s communities. I use the term ‘communities’ purposefully because traditionally in marketing and communications we used the term ‘audiences’. However, an audience is usually broadcast to, a passive recipient of information.

This one-way style of communication is no longer valid in a social age. Organisations need to immerse and engage with their communities to enable a two-way (or more) conversation. Those that manage to break through the social noise with a crisp message, resonate most strongly.

Research by Gallup has highlighted the significant benefits to socially engaged companies:

  • Retain workers longer
  • Fewer morale problems
  • Attract best talent
  • Have more loyal, committed customers
  • Higher profitability

It seems obvious that social engagement must be an integral component of every marketing campaign to build credibility, trust and loyalty, with employees, customers and the public. But what are the essential steps needed to build social credibility? Plus how can LinkedIn play a role here?

1.     Champion social business across the organisation

Whichever function of the business you work in; digital marketing, corporate communications, innovation or HR, making business social must be integrated within the overarching strategy. Leading from the top is probably the most effective way to power your business’ social presence. A truly social leader will create a trickle-down effect, inspiring and creating behaviour change throughout the organisation.

2.     Identify and nurture a network of social leaders

Identifying a ‘pod’ or network of senior leaders who can spearhead your social engagement using LinkedIn has multiple benefits. The pod can like, share and comment on each other’s content, increasing the reach of articles and posts. LinkedIn now has a dedicated platform to facilitate this process. The pod will inevitably generate some competitiveness. This can positively motivate members to get better on the platform, as well as setting a great example to the wider organisation. Opening up the organisation, through the eyes of employees, allows outsiders to connect and communicate more deeply with the business.

3.     Create content with a distinctive tone of voice

Thought-leadership is still a hot trend in organisations. But in reality, not everyone can be a true thought-leader. Perhaps they are innovators or brand advocates instead. Work with your senior leaders to define and map their interests, passion points and communication style.  It’s important to help leaders develop a distinctive tone of voice, while aligning with the wider corporate values and mission. An experienced copywriter can help with this, as well as ghost write some of the longer form pieces.

4.     Engage and respond

I see a lot of content on LinkedIn that generates interesting comments and questions from customers which often go unanswered. It goes without saying that building social credibility requires a dialogue and people need to feel acknowledged. If time is an issue, someone else from the team will need to respond, even if it’s just a polite acknowledgement.

5.     Measure

Of course, it’s essential that you track and measure your LinkedIn marketing efforts as you would with any of your other marketing pillars. There are several metrics you can apply:

  • Engagement: According to LinkedIn’s algorithm, ‘good’ engagement with content is when 0.5% of followers engage with it. Achieving this rate will mean more of your network will see your articles and posts. I think a realistic and more aspirational rate for LinkedIn campaigns should be round 5-10%.   You can also look at shifts in sentiment and brand perception over time.
  • Brand awareness: via share of voice and brand recall
  • Consideration: brand favourability and how many people are taking action

Social credibility is a huge area to cover in such a short article. Getting it right by making it an integral part of the business strategy can enhance an organisation’s reputation. This is achieved by building trust and loyalty and showing the more human side of your organisation.

Find out more about Social Credibility

Why not speak to me directly about growing the social credibility of your company now?

A great resource for finding out general information about topics such as social credibility is Quora, do have a read of some Q&A threads there now to find out more.

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