I was sitting at Starbucks with my Iced Venti Caramel Macchiato discussing with a friend the "Like, Know, Trust" discussion and how it works in the realm of social media. He is a visual person and asked me to describe the life cycle of "Like, Know, Trust" in social media engagement. Here was the picture I painted for him ...
A brand builds a social profile with the intent of opening up a social conversation with someone outside of a static website. Generally, a website doesn't have much engagement. You've invested in your website, spent time telling your story and sharing information about your company, services and how best to contact you. In ecommerce spaces, you have the purchase opportunity, but in most cases, the only pages to start engagement are centered around a Blog (if it is open for comments), a Help Section (with real time support) or Contact Us. Realistically, the real back and forth conversation isn't happening on your website and engagement is mostly limited.
So you decide that launching a social media campaign will provide your viewers with more opportunities to engage in platforms where they are present; sometimes daily. Surely this would benefit because you know they aren't choosing to visit your website daily. You build your profiles, add the links to your newsletters, add links to your email signatures, create prime real estate on your website for your social links and now you are open for business socially. Well, not completely.
Now you need to build your relationship.
The first step in any relationship is the introduction - "Like", "Follow", "Circle" ,"Subscribe" in social media terms. In the "Like" phase of your relationship, they are open to learn more about you, your updates start to feed into their notifications or wall much like sending a text or sending a letter to someone you have met. You are open to see what their interests are, how you might be compatible and although they aren't open to "live life" hanging out with you yet, you are open to learn more.
You are in the "Getting To Know You" stage of your relationship. When your viewer starts to keep up with the things you are sharing in social media, they are becoming more familiar with you, starting to expect certain things you might be sharing, finding value in your mutual interests and they are finding there are things you both have in common during this "Know" phase. Similar to feeling out what might be a potential for opening up that phone call to schedule a visit to talk over coffee to get to "Know" them better in a private message; but aren't comfortable yet with opening up to you. This stage of your relationship takes time, consistency and you need to show value in what you have to offer your new "follower" for the relationship to build further.
Once you get to the place of "Trust" you will know your relationship has transformed to a new level as your viewer will begin to "Like", "+", "Favorite", "Pin","Comment", "Retweet" or "Share" your post. Your viewer feels comfortable enough to engage either because they have watched others engage in your activity or they are now at a place where the consistency has encouraged them to take the step to share their feelings, perspectives or opinions with something you have posted. In a face to face relationship, this may look like attending an event together, sharing in a recommendation, testimonial, purchase of product, or just simply valuing your information enough to open it up for their network to see and also share as well.
The life cycle of an online relationship is very similar to building trust in real life. If you maintain visibility and connection, you have optimal chances to engage in the relationship further.
How are you building "Like, Know and Trust" for your brand?
Hollie Clere, of The Social Media Advisor is a social media manager, trainer and author in LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Blog, Google+ , Pinterest and the tools to manage them. Click here for her Social Media Links
Sign up for your Free Social Media Analysis