Today’s world is fast-paced, uncertain and becoming even more demanding. This goes for businesses certainly but also for individuals. Consumers’ lives are packed with real-world complexities and more online and offline distractions than ever before. Some believe this is why we have had such a strong uptake on social networks as studies show that 1 in 4 people have no one they can turn to in a time of need. Overall, a recent Pew study reveals that, on average, people have only two people they are comfortable confiding in. While people may have very few confidants and sometimes may not have anyone to turn to in the physical world, many take solace online with social networks.
According to the study:
“Internet users in general score 3 points higher in total support, 6 points higher in companionship, and 4 points higher in instrumental support. A Facebook user who uses the site multiple times per day tends to score an additional 5 points higher in total support, 5 points higher in emotional support, and 5 points higher in companionship, than internet users of similar demographic characteristics. For Facebook users, the additional boost is equivalent to about half the total support that the average American receives as a result of being married or cohabitating with a partner.”
Along with companionship and emotional support the study makes a case for an increase in trust as a result of online social networking activities citing that heavier Facebook users are more than 3 times likely to feel that most people can be trusted. If you combine these factors, you can start to get a much deeper sense of why people go online. Whereas many like to dismiss social networks as a place to waste time and play senseless games, there is growing evidence that online social networks are as important within a person’s social graph as any other activities. Understanding this consumer psyche as a Brand can bring a much different perspective to how to engage and approach building relationships through social networks. If consumers are going to be more trusting online, one might also conclude they will be less forgiving if that trust is broken.
Are all social networks created equal? According to the Pew study, Facebook users seem to be more supportive and trusting. Other social networks that were mentioned included Twitter, MySpace and LinkedIn. What was not included were networks related to health, fitness or other hobbies. It seems these networks might even carry higher levels of focused companionship and trust. Does this information affect how Brands should approach building online relationships? Brands have different reasons for participating in social as some are looking to promote a new product, better manage customer service and even develop better relationships with their customers. Are some social networks better for developing relationships than others? It probably depends on the type of Brand you represent and what you are trying to accomplish. To help us work through the topic of building trust online through social networks, we got the most trustworthy person we know (at least online). Chuck Hemann is currently VP of Digital Analytics for Edelman Digital. For the past six years, he has provided strategic counsel to clients on a variety of topics including online reputation, social media, digital analytics, investor relations and crisis communications. For today’s chat, Chuck will cover the following topic and questions:
Topic: Building Relationships: Choose Your Social Network Wisely
Q1: A new study from Pew says Facebook users are more trusting than other people, Agree? Why/Why not?
Q2: Which social networks are best for brands to develop relationships on?
Q3: Developing online relationships, do Brands have to message 1-to-1, Brand-to-1, Brand-to-many?
Please join us in this online chat on Tuesday, June 21 at noon ET. Follow #sm116 from your favorite Twitter client or simply go to our LIVE page at www.hashtagsocialmedia.com/live. The format will stay the same with the first question starting at noon and a new question coming every 20 minutes at 12:20 and 12:40.