27 Sep

How can social media affect consumer trust?


The release of training guidelines given to Facebook’s content moderators earlier this year, brought further into question the effect social media has on our trust in media and news. If the social media firm, which is effectively the largest media company in the world, can control what we see, what they deem ‘fake’ or real’ and what is considered suitable or not, how can we trust the information we are shown?


The struggle to gain consumer trust is one felt by most businesses, and with the ever-blurring lines of paid for and traditional marketing techniques, consumers are looking to brands to be more transparent than ever.


Social media is the lowest budget marketing technique, with the highest ROI, meaning brands take advantage of it more than other channels. However, the growth of influencer marketing, fake news and chatbots mean our trust in brands is lower than ever. In fact, according to a recent study from Trinity Mirror, almost 70% of consumers don’t trust advertising and 42% distrust brands – not a great figure.


How have the lines got so blurred?

It started with the invention of ‘paid for’ adverts – advertorial vs editorial, the likes of Google including adverts that looked remarkably like organic search results and programmatic ads popping up wherever you went. But now you can’t scroll through an Instagram or Facebook feed without a cleverly disguised ‘sponsored’ post popping up, advertorials look no different to normal copy except for a tiny declaration that ‘this post is sponsored.’ Add to that, the latest trend of ‘influencer marketing’ where only a simple #ad is required to let the viewer know that the person is being paid to post about their use of the latest ‘charcoal toothpaste’.


It seems you cannot read a newspaper now without seeing something about combating the fake news phenomenon. Facebook’s hiring of a ‘Head of News’ has done little to combat this according to a new study from Yale as attempts to flag “disputed” news has been in vain so far.


And just as all this would suggest brands need to do more to introduce a human element to their customer relations, along come the chatbots.


What is the solution?

All is not lost, as consumers are still engaging with social media content – especially video – more than ever. Brands should still take advantage of these channels but the key here is Transparency. The use of influencers and ads are efficient marketing and customer service tools but just be clear when it is a paid for promotion.


At our next brand > Agency speed dating event, agencies will be meeting with 14 brands looking to develop effective social media plans across one afternoon. The brands attending will be looking for innovative and agile agencies that can support their social media requirements. Each of the brands send their specific briefs and requirements to us and these will be sent out to the participating agencies.


If this sounds like something you offer, we have a few agency spots available, so if you’re interested in being involved drop our events team a line on events@ingenuitylondon.com

Ingenuity holds monthly new business chemistry session events at Stamford Bridge that offer the opportunity to meet decision makers that are in the market for new agencies.

Every event has a theme that is aligned with current trends and client needs. They address all the major channels, disciplines and issues facing marketers.

If this interests you, head to the website to find out about our upcoming events or email events@ingenuitylondon.com. Alternatively, fill in your details below to keep up to date with all future events.