Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Like Business, Social Media's Foundation is Trust

For more than 15 years I have played the role of chief rainmaker at Strategic Communications Group (Strategic). In that time, I have helped bring in over $10M in business from more than 100 clients.

Yet, I have never once sold anyone public relations or social media marketing. Yes…those are the services Strategic provides. However, in a business-to-business sales environment what I am ultimately selling is trust.

If I fail to connect with a potential client, it simply does not matter how wonderfully qualified Strategic may be to represent their interests. For a relationship to commence, a client must believe in our ability, and have faith and confidence in our commitment to their success.

This same “trust” must be present for a connection initiated in a social network to naturally migrate into a relationship with measurable business value.

Personally, I like to take ownership of the trust building process by making an investment of time and effort. I constantly identify opportunities to enhance the professional development and accomplishment of my portfolio of social media connections.

In turn, I am candid about my expectation that they do the same for me. Do they have ideas about how Strategic can run more efficiently? Can they refer me to potential clients? How about suggesting a possible new hire?

I’m always amused by those who claim their networking motives are merely altruistic. Charity is certainly admirable, yet in a business setting it comes off as disingenuous, thereby damaging credibility and trust.


Todd said...

Well said and entirely true. Thanks for a solid reminder...

Davina K. Brewer said...

Posted a comment over at SMT as well; just agree that trust in business and social media is important, esp. with building relationships.

That said SM (marketing, PR) is not always about fluffy bunnies and free ice cream.

I post this all the time: Social Media serves a business function, with business goal$ and objective$. Trust in that.

Marc Hausman said...

@Davina -- thanks for the comment on the blog, as well as on Social Media Today's site.

FYI...I have added your blog to Google Reader and look forward to following your thoughts.

For those interested, here's a link to Davina's blog: