How To Build Brand Trust And Credibility Online

building credibility onlineCredibility is everything in a crowded marketplace. As a new brand or a brand in a competitive niche, you need to build trust with customers to succeed. Without a foundation of trust, your whole brand falls apart.

Building trusting relationships with consumers, partners, and stakeholders will take you far. However, it can be a challenge to know what to do when you’re starting from scratch.

Keep reading to learn about the benefits of online credibility, how to build brand trust online, and how to rebuild it when it’s lost.

Why is Online Credibility Important for Businesses?

A brand’s credibility online plays a critical role in consumer behavior. 

Once a consumer loses trust in a brand, data shows they are likely to stop doing business with them. Consumers often decide to opt for a competitor’s products or services instead.

why is online credibility important for businesses

When customers lose trust in a brand, they tend to stop purchasing from that brand. Online credibility is critical for businesses because it helps you keep your customers. Data from

Essentially, when your brand has high credibility, customers will want to buy from you. Here are some others ways online credibility boosts business:

  • Builds a strong brand that can withstand reputation crises
  • Provides an advantage against competitors
  • Enhances the customer experience & increases customer satisfaction
  • Boosts organic search performance (SEO)
  • Increases your Net Promoter Score & build brand loyalty
  • Draws in new loyal customers through recommendations

High credibility is like an endless positive feedback loop for businesses. The more people trust you, the more satisfied and loyal your customers will be. With more loyal customers comes more positive recommendations and online buzz. 

With more online buzz comes more new customers, and so on. Building your credibility is a smart long term investment. 

10 Ways to Build Trust Online

Here are ten ways brands can build trust and credibility with their customers and target audience.

  1. Know and Understand Your Audience
  2. Respond to Negative Reviews
  3. Encourage Reviews and Testimonials
  4. Use Social Media to Engage With Your Audience
  5. Create valuable content 
  6. Ensure Content is Accurate 
  7. Be Transparent in your Messaging
  8. Promote Qualifications and Awards
  9. Ensure Your Branding and Messaging is Consistent
  10. Monitor your reputation

1. Build a brand that understands your audience

Building credibility online starts with having a deep understanding of your audience. You can’t pretend to know what your audience wants and needs; you have to actually understand them. To do this:

  • Conduct market research to learn about your target audience’s demographics, preferences, behaviors, and pain points.
  • Create a buyer persona based on the data you gather, and tailor your content to them.
  • Listen to the conversations happening on social media in your niche.
  • Use analytics tools to gather data about your website visitors.
  • Build a website that your consumers love, and use language that speaks to them.

2. Respond to negative reviews

Getting positive reviews is important, however, negative feedback is inevitable. Many business owners’ first instinct is to ignore them, but that is actually the worst thing you could do.

When negative reviews happen, it is important to respond to them in a professional and timely manner. Show empathy for the dissatisfied customer, take responsibility when appropriate, and try to fix the situation. It shows others that you put real time and effort into improving customer service.

how to respond to negative reviews

Tradesmen Coffee Shop & Lounge, an otherwise well-rated Boston coffee shop, received a 1-star review. The owner responded professionally to the customer’s complaint.

3. Encourage reviews and testimonials

We can not stress enough the importance of customer reviews and testimonials. 86% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends and family. The more positive reviews you have, the more people are willing to buy from you. Here’s how to get more reviews:

  • Ask customers directly to leave you a review on platforms like Google My Business. Use email follow-ups, post-purchase thank-you messages, or in-store signage to encourage reviews.
  • Prominently display customer testimonials on your website where web users can see them.
  • Respond to all reviews and show your appreciation.
the importance of online reviews

Data shows that the majority of consumers trust online reviews, even as much as personal recommendations from friends and family. Having online reviews of your business is critical for establishing credibility.

4. Use social media to engage with your audience

Odds are, your target audience is on social media, so you should be right there with them. Build a following on social media platforms by creating great content that gets people engaged and interacting.

Gaining credibility and building trust on social media is all about consistency. This means consistently posting content, but also being consistent with your brand messaging.

One mistake on social media can cause your brand to lose credibility quickly. Check out our social media do’s and don’ts article.

5. Create valuable content 

Tailor your content to the audience you are speaking to. Building trust with your audience involves educating and informing them by answering their most pressing questions. Valuable content is the point where your expertise and your audience’s curiosity meet.

Use the knowledge you now have about your audience from the market research you did in step #1. Take that and think about how you can solve their problems, answer their questions, and offer them something they want through your content.

Google EEAT content guidelines

Google uses their E-E-A-T guidelines to rank content based on its quality. Use these concepts of experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trust to build credibility with your audient.

6. Ensure content is accurate 

When creating trust online, you have to make sure the content you put out is accurate and up-to-date. This means:

  • being skeptical of sources and using reputable sources for statistics, facts, and figures
  • making sure your data is reliable and relevant to your topic
  • fact-checking all of the details in your content, and using fact-checking tools as necessary
  • going back through old blogs and updating them with new, more relevant information

7. Be transparent in your messaging

Credible brands are open and honest in their marketing messaging. Transparent marketing practices naturally build trust with your customer base. Your position as a brand within an industry is all about your messaging. This means:

  • not hiding things
  • not overpromising while underdelivering for consumers
  • disclosing all of the information your customers need to make an informed decision, such a pricing, additional costs, terms and conditions, etc
  • being open about how your products are made
  • highlighting your brand’s values and reflecting them in your business practices

8. Promote qualifications and awards

Awards and qualifications are trust signals that provide credibility. You did the hard work to earn them, so you might as well show them off. You can:

  • dedicate a section of your website to qualifications, awards, and certifications
  • share your achievements on social media
  • publish a press release for significant awards
  • announce the award in an email newsletter
  • incorporate your qualifications into your marketing materials

Remember to tell the story behind the reward. Explain what the award means and why it matters, highlighting the hard work that led to the recognition.

9. Ensure your branding and messaging are consistent

No matter what platforms you choose to invest in, make sure your branding is consistent across all platforms and marketing channels. This reinforces your brand promise, ensuring customers know what to expect from you. 

Your brand voice should be recognizable no matter where people see it. It should reflect your brand’s personality and values, making your brand feel relatable and trustworthy.

10. Monitor your reputation

Monitoring your reputation is critical to maintain your credibility among your audience. You can’t control what people say, but you can control how you respond.

To be able to respond promptly, you have to keep on top of what people say about you. Try these:

  • set up Google Alerts for your/your brand’s name
  • check Google search results for your/your brand’s name
  • use social media monitoring tools to track mentions across platforms and measure brand trust
  • regularly check relevant review sites
  • check up on discussion in online forums
set up Google Alerts

Set up a Google alert and get email notifications when new search results about you come up.

The sooner you find that negative article, review, or press release, the sooner you can respond. Strategies do exist that you can use to prevent your audience from seeing negative content about you. For example, search engine suppression is a tactic that pushes down negative search results in Google.

Rebuilding Trust When It’s Lost

Mistakes can happen. After all, we’re only human.

As a brand, being prepared can be your biggest advantage when a mistake happens. Having a PR crisis management plan is helpful in maintaining trust with your stakeholders.

A few tips:

  • Be open and honest by acknowledging the mistake or problem. Ignoring or denying it will only further damage your credibility.
  • Publicly offer a straightforward, sincere apology without making excuses. Demonstrate that you understand the gravity of the situation and regret the impact it had on stakeholders.
  • Take accountability for the mistake and avoid blaming others.
  • Outline the steps you are taking now and in the future to remedy the situation.
  • Implement the changes you committed to and provide updates on your progress.
  • Use the experience as a learning opportunity for your brand.

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Don’t Risk Losing Credibility Online

When you lose trust and credibility, you risk damaging your business reputation. Once you lose consumer trust, it is difficult to overcome. 

Monitoring and managing your reputation online is critical for organizations to remain credible to users. If you feel your business is losing trust with your audience and your reputation is at risk, we can help.

The experts at Reputation911 can take measures to control your reputation online. Learn what we can do to take control of your reputation to maintain credibility with your consumers.

About The Author

William DiAntonio is the Founder & CEO of Reputation911, a reputation management firm he founded in 2010 that has earned the trust of its clients for over a decade by helping individuals, businesses and brands control their online search results.

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