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social media mathAt the Driving Sale Executive Summit I had the opportunity to meet Chris Brogan and to hear him speak on social media trends. I received a free copy of his book Trust Agents and have been reading it in between flights and work and it's really a great resource to focus your thought on social media strategies. The book is a must read for anyone in your organization tasked with managing your social media campaigns. On Page 79, Chris cites a "Trust Equation" created by the authors of a book called "The Trusted Advisor" which reads like this:

Trust = (Credibility  x  Reliability  x Intimacy)  /  Self Orientation

The formula stuck out in my mind because it demonstrates the relationship of "self promotion" (S) in creating trust with the social community.   For those of you who loved math, Self Orientation is in the denominator of the fraction.  The higher this number goes, the lower your trust "result". This formula should be taped on the computers that are used by your employees that manage your Twitter, Facebook or blogs.  Remind your social media managers that too much self promotion will weaken the net effect of their social media efforts.

Social Media Topics That Can Build Trust

Things that build creditability
  • posting manufacturer recalls and safety warnings
  • acknowledging where your dealership has failed and how you fixed the problem
  • admitting when your competitors have done something better than you
  • pointing out third party sources than can help the members of your social community
Things that can build Reliability
  • provide car service tips for things that customers can do themselves
  • warn customers about extended warranty scams via phone or postcard
  • respond to people who post on your social media accounts promptly - without a pitch
  • provide online self-service documents that can help answer common questions
Things that can build Intimacy
  • Post a story of an employee winning a customer service contest and their trip to Hawaii
  • Share you staff's work in the community or with non-profit organizations
  • Post videos of your customers getting delivery on their cars
Everyone needs to create a list of things that they can do in each of these three categories.  Inspect what you are posting to see where your social media posts fall. If the last paragraph of every blog post is a reminder of how great you are or how wonderful your organization delivers "the goods", then you'll flunk social media math.  Review your posts and see how many times you reference your company in a blog post or in a response/comment.  Do the math.

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