Want to Build Trust in Your Business? It All Starts Online Creating a positive, compelling brand experience online is the best way to cultivate trust and build a brand consumers turn to first.

By Adam Petrilli

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Successful entrepreneurs know that consumer trust in a brand is critical to standing out from the competition. Trust is what keeps customers returning to your business time and again. It is also instrumental in generating new and repeated sales. But "trust" can seem hard to quantify. What exactly is it, and how do you build it?

Regarding commerce, trust is the customer's feeling that your brand fulfills its promises. Does your product live up to expectations? And if something goes wrong, will your brand respond quickly to put things right?

These days, a quick Google search is often all that's needed to score a brand's trustworthiness. From customer service ratings to cohesive social media and good PR, a solid online reputation is vital in earning the trust of existing and new customers.

Related: Is Trust or Innovation More Important for a Brand in 2021?

Focus on your website and social media

When building trust online, one of the first places to focus on is each area in your immediate control. These include primary platforms like your website or social media channels. Such platforms are powerful tools for your brand, allowing you to shape your messaging to be cohesive and positive. It's crucial to keep your brand's aesthetic and core mission statement the same across all owned platforms, as these are often the first sites consumers seek out information on your product or services.

Be sure to post regularly on social media channels. Also, consider adding a blog section to your website and share detailed brand updates on that page whenever possible. This allows you to humanize your brand by sharing important brand insights and providing customers with a glimpse into company culture, fun behind-the-scenes developments, and other events that help strengthen bonds with your business.

Related: How to Create Authentic Relationships and Build Customer Trust

Build up good press

Outside of the resources under your control, consider investing in secondary sources to reinforce your reputation. From photography to press releases, interviews with local journalists and thought-leadership articles, any online media showcasing your brand helps populate search results while putting your product in a positive light. And the more recent these pieces are, the higher they will likely show on search results pages, providing higher visibility and better opportunities to engage customers.

Beyond traditional "press," like interviews and photoshoots, consider partnering with influencers on social media. Such partnerships can provide an authentic seal of approval from another trusted online and highlight your brand value to new customers. Whether on Facebook, Instagram or TikTok, influencer campaigns offer an excellent opportunity to leverage audiences in any market.

Related: 4 Things to Know About Online Reviews (and Why You Can't Afford to Ignore Them)

Provide excellent customer service

As mentioned earlier, an essential aspect of building customer trust is being responsive to questions and concerns. Be sure to give customers various options for reaching your business, such as phone numbers, emails, a website portal, social channels and more. List accurate contact info everywhere, from your website to your social media.

It may also help to have social media moderators to answer direct messages and public comments, as so many online consumers now interact solely with brands through social media.

And while you can't hide potential negative reviews, you can still demonstrate that you care about customers by responding to issues on various review sites politely and quickly. Even a simple response shows you're listening to concerns and can go a long way toward easing customer stress and worry!

You can also create a customer review section on your website to highlight positive online feedback. Many sites offer this capability, making showcasing and promoting glowing reviews easy.

Related: How to Build Rapport With Customers Online

Invest in SEO management

When you've done the above work, you want to ensure your existing and prospective customers see it. Unfortunately, it's easy for a brand's online footprint to get buried in a sea of search results. This is where search engine optimization (SEO) comes in.

An experienced SEO team will often supplement SEO and put paid spend campaigns behind your marketing efforts, helping move your brand messaging to the top of search pages. SEO can be a technical, even highly challenging field and is often something SMBs and smaller brands don't have the expertise or time to tackle most effectively. Though hiring an outside firm to assist with SEO comes with extra costs, the payoff in trust and online authority can often be significant.

Investment in SEO marketing not only showcases the right brand messaging but also helps your business stand apart from local competitors. After all, your target audience needs to know if you're doing the work on your website and social media, generating positive press, and investing in excellent customer service.

Adam Petrilli

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

CEO & Founder, NetReputation.com

Adam Petrilli develops and executes winning strategies while inspiring teams to embrace change to promote business excellence. He thrives during challenging situations and in making high-risk decisions with a strategic revenue-focused perspective to generate growth.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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