It was this tweet from Jeffrey Gitomer, founding partner at Ace of Sales, that inspired this post about building trust and social media:

@gitomer: It may take two years to earn trust, but it takes only one minute to lose it. #gitomer #trust #business

Let’s face it.  One of your competitive advantages is how well your customers like and trust you.  Building relationships with happy customers will result in them sending you referrals.  The beauty of social media is it can help you build that trust, by talking, listening, and sharing ideas.

Everyone talks about content, creating and sharing meaningful content.  “Content is king” is constantly being shouted from the rooftops by the gurus.  The key to good content creation is to think like your customer and share content that’s neat to them.  Get inside their head.  Do you know what frustrates them?  Talk about that.  Or think about it this way.  Anything that happens to you in a day can be made into great content.  Talk to them.  Mix things up; it’s okay to be entertaining and fun too.  Share the informational stuff and definitely inquire from time to time.

Okay, sometimes it’s forgotten that customers are people too, they’re just another number or name in a database, especially if your current obsession is list building.  Being human and personable in social media bridges that gap, helping to better develop that know, like, trust factor.

Telling stories is another way to build trust.  How simple is that?  Some of the best stories are from your customers, so let them tell the story too.

Another way to build trust is to ditch the corporate-speak and mission statement.  When you’re at a networking event, you’re probably not spouting those off.  Doing so in social media is a quick way for your audience to unfollow you, because it’s meaningless to them.

Do you think having a few profiles in social media and posting occasionally is enough?  Think again.  It’s through your active, consistent participation that your customers and prospects get to know and trust you.  They may even come to think of you as a trusted advisor.

Building trust takes time; it simply doesn’t happen overnight.  Social media is a long process that is worth the time in this relationship-driven economy.