I always talk about fostering a know-like-trust relationship to build trust with your audience. This foundation helps you create true connection and a community that leads to loyal buyers of whatever it is you eventually sell. And it seems pretty straightforward, right? If people like you and feel endeared to you, of course they’ll want to engage with your content and eventually invest in your offer.
But what’s less straightforward is: the how. How do you get your audience to actually trust you? Enough so that they stick around and believe that your product or service is worth their time and money?
Building trust online definitely looks different for everyone depending on your personality, brand, and voice. But I know of a few important rules of thumb to follow that can get you well on your way to building a community of diehard friends and fans on social media. Here are my top 5 tips for nurturing your audience and building a really solid foundation with them.
Tell a story with your content
This might seem simple, but telling the stories that make up your days and seasons is such a great way to shed light into your life. Talk about the journeys you’re overcoming or past obstacles you’ve faced or big wins you’ve experienced. Talk about the small and the mundane things, like what ordering a scone from a super-friendly barista taught you this morning.
When we share our own stories, it makes us so much more relatable to our audiences. It shows that you’re a real human being behind the social media account, and not just another business trying to make a sale. I committed to showing up in my IG stories for at least 1 minute a day to share raw and real pieces of my life. It’s not always filtered and I’m rarely made up, but that’s kinda the thing that we all love seeing, right? It’s more about showing up with honesty and intention than showing up perfectly.
Show empathy and realness
Empathy is a hard emotion to come by in a digital world. It’s the ability to connect with others by putting yourself in their position, and it’s super powerful in creating meaningful connections with others. You don’t have to have the same experiences and background as someone else to show empathy, either, which I think is a common misconception.
Share empathetic messages online by addressing what you know are your audience’s biggest pain points. Show you can understand and feel for the setbacks and obstacles and problems your audience faces. It will position you as a compassionate person who is on their side (which knowing you, you are!), and nothing builds trust faster.
But be careful, because on the flip side, nothing backfires faster than inauthentic empathy. Don’t just post how you *think* you should feel or act or respond. Really put yourself in the shoes of your followers. Find that common ground where you can understand the emotions or situations they’re facing, and share with vulnerability and truth.
Don’t be afraid to share your face
Yep, showing your face actually can build trust! It’s not “weird” or “selfish”, these are the reasons I hear people saying why they don’t want to face the camera. And while it may feel awkward at first, it’s a major way that people can envision having a real conversation with you and get to know your personality, sense of humor, challenges, and quirks. And they WANT to get to know the real you, anyway!
Be intentional about showing up in your stories and feed to begin developing a conversation and really showing the individual, funny faces and all, who makes up your content or brand. People connect with other people, so give your audience a face to get to know and begin understanding. (Check out how much my IG growth accelerated JUST by showing my face more here!)
Build trust with your audience by interacting with them
Trust deepens when we feel heard and understood, right? Think about any relationship you have… How good does is feel when you get individual attention and feedback from a loved one? It creates this joyful sensation of being understood, and you can give that to your audience by speaking to and interacting with them one-on-one.
I’m not saying you need to have an hour-long phone convo with each of them, because whoa, who has that kind of time? Simply responding to comments and DMs when you can is major. And thanking your people for being there with you for this journey can go a LONG way, too. Even if you only have time to like a person’s comment and shoot them an emoji, that sort of attentiveness will show your audience that you care to take the time to interact with them individually.
Pay attention to your copy and what it communicates
Words matter, and the words you use in your branding, on your website, in emails, to create captions — they carry the message of your heart in so many ways. What message do you want to communicate to your followers, clients, or customers to build trust? Do the words on your pages communicate that message accurately and well?
Create a tone that’s consistent. Craft a story that’s relatable to your perfect customer. And don’t deviate, even if you have a bad day and really want to go on a venting storm about traffic or the weather or your kid’s tantrum. Look, I get that things won’t always be rosy, and the challenges are definitely important to share, too.
But be sure your copy is always communicating your underlying message and goal of your brand, whether that’s to encourage, inspire, educate, entertain, or beyond. Having a consistent message will allow your audience to know they can turn to you for whatever it is you serve them with, so stay clear and intentional in your content.
Okay friends, you should be all set to rock and roll with authentic, trust-building content that endears your audience to you! This stuff isn’t just important to build your business or make more sales… This intentionality in how you show up creates a community of likeminded individuals that’s irreplaceable. It’s a way to forge this deep and lasting impact that will contribute to your legacy, and that’s worth being purposeful about.