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2012′s Edelman Trust Barometer was released a few weeks ago, the latest instalment of the global trust and credibility study. It shows an overall decline in trust globally, with steep declines in the levels of trust in government and business. Government is now the least trusted institution–trailing business, media, and NGOs.
Media generally saw an increase in trust, but the greatest increase in trust relates to social media. Social-networking, micro-blogging, and content-sharing sites (Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr) witnessed the most dramatic percentage increase as trusted sources of information about a company, rising by 88, 86, and 75 percent, respectively. This is especially the case in China, where trust in Weibo grew by over 500% during 2011.
The report also reveals that people now trust ‘people like yourself’ and ‘regular employees’ much more than companies, and especially their CEOs:
The by-product of this is that companies clearly need to be structured for social media. To quote Marshall Manson:
In a world where employees, whether technical experts or regular folks, are a company’s most credible spokespeople, every business simply must understand how to organize and empower employees to interact successfully in social media.
Influxinsights highlight what the report shows about what organisations need to do to gain trust now and in the future, with a shift away from operational attributes to people focused attributes:
Companies need to find the right social media channels and platforms to connect with consumers in order to genuinely solicit their input and demonstrate and update customers on how this input is being used, but also to find ways to bring the people behind the company and the humanity of the business to life in a real and transparent manner.
If you don’t have time to look through the whole report, then here’s a handy infographic summarising the findings: