Why Brands Need to Create Content that Drives Trust



At SMWLDN, Toby Gunton, Edelman General Manager, shared research on the issue of social media and trust.

How do you reach, let alone engage with your audience when levels of trust in media, and social media platforms, in particular, are at rock-bottom?

At Social Media Week London 2018, Toby Gunton, Edelman General Manager, shared research on the issue of social media and trust.

  • 2 in 3 people think social media companies are misusing personal data
  • 1 in 5 people think monitoring life events, like birthdays, in order to target products should be illegal
  • 1 in 3 people globally are now deleting their social accounts because they do not trust the platforms to treat their personal information properly

Lack of trust is being driven by three issues; misuse of personal information, hate speech and cyberbullying, and fake news.

“Failing to address false information is the cause for concern”

Gunton shared what people do expect:

  • 66% think social media should do more to support high-quality journalism
  • 58% think social media must be more clear about data policies
  • 68% think governments should do more to regulate social media

Blurring the lines

Social media is at the heart of today’s consumer relationship; it’s the best place for brand love and brand discovery, said Gunton.

Brands are being held accountable when their content appears next to hate speech and fake news. The lines are being blurred for audiences and as such this content and also the distrust around data usage is impacting trust in brands. The bond between people and brands is therefore at risk.

Create content that drives trust on social media

Gunton outlined the key action for brands is to create content that drives trust.

Signal credibility through production, credentials, and transparency

  • Authors credentials or expertise
  • Quality of the writing or visuals
  • Easy to determine who paid for the content
  • Content is well designed and looks formal
  • The logo of the organization that produced the content is displayed next to the post

Build a strong relationship

  • Opted in to receive communication from the organization
  • Placed on a platform by a brand you buy from
  • Who liked, shared or sent you the content

The right media mix

Gunton also shared the importance of getting the right media mix and building frequency across various channels.

Trust is enhanced when the same information is seen on social media as well as on television or in newspapers. It also helps if a consumer sees the same information on several social media platforms.

Key takeaways

  • Be clear about how you’re using consumers data and help to explain the benefits
  • Integrate your message across multiple platforms and mediums to drive consumer trust in your content and products
  • Create credible, high quality easily identifiable content (without this you’ll lose your audience)
  • Think about where your message will appear (are you sure your platforms align with your values?)

For a copy of the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer special report on brands and social media, visit their website

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