Ouch, this is very true.

Trust is key, not just on social media but also in several other facets of life. Overall, I agree with Steve Rayson’s formula for social media trust presented in lecture:

Trust = Authority x Helpfulness x Intimacy x Reliability/Self-Promotion

But rather than talk about the factors I agree with, I would like to talk about two large pieces that need to be added to the equation.

Time. A source/brand/individual needs to become an established part of the conversation before I can trust them. I’m not going to automatically trust Joe Blow who just joined Twitter yesterday and has no profile picture. But if Joe Blow keeps putting out quality content day after day, year after year, he’s going to gain a following. And that takes time.

Accuracy (and a dash of honesty). Some may argue that this goes along with reliability; however, a source could be reliably inaccurate. Whether you’re talking about a news organization or a company, putting accurate information on social media is very important. When inaccurate information makes its way on to a source’s social media page, the information needs to be corrected as soon as possible (this is where the honesty comes in – own up to the fact you made a mistake). It is probably best to follow the advice put forth in Twitter’s Terms and Conditions: “think before you tweet.” Consistently putting out inaccurate information will definitely lead to a loss of trust.

With these two factors in mind, here is what my revamped formula social media trust would look like:

Trust = (Authority x Helpfulness x Intimacy x Reliability) x (Time2 x Accuracy2) – Self-Promotionx

Here’s my reasoning behind the formula: I think time put into social media and accuracy when using social media are extra-important factors, so I weighted them more heavily (by making them squared) in the formula.

Also, instead of dividing the amount of self-promotion an entity does, I subtracted it from trust. Let’s be honest: Our organization can have the best of intentions, but one of the main reasons we are all on social media is to promote ourselves on some level. Yet there are ways to promote oneself without being overt, so that is why I made it possible to multiply self-promotion to the x power.

I’m no math whiz, but without trust, love cannot blossom, many say. And don’t you want people to love your personal/professional brand? So don’t give people a reason not to trust you!