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Building Trust in Your Online Community

Building trust in your online community isn’t a short or easy journey. Like any other relationship, it requires a solid foundation and a decent amount of time and patience. First, people need to know who you are and see you as a resource worthy of their time. After that, give them a reason to like your brand and see all of the wonderful things it can offer them besides a single product. If you can accomplish these things and then consistently show up, you’ll pave the way for community trust.

Here are three things to remember in order to build trust within your online community:

Demonstrate thought leadership within your online community

The more you add value on your digital channels, the more your audience will like and eventually trust you as a reliable resource. Demonstrating your own original thoughts can be accomplished by consistently adding to blogs and then including these pieces in your monthly newsletter. Showcase thought leadership by developing and producing a video series for your YouTube channel and social media accounts. Design your social media strategy to include repurposed pieces of your blog and video content, and weave these items into your social calendar regularly to train followers to expect consistent content. It won’t take long for them to consider you as a dependable resource for knowledge.

Establish an engagement plan

Social media is meant to be social. If your brand is going to put forth the effort to create different social media profiles, make it a priority to engage on each platform to deliver diverse, meaningful content within each space. When people take the time to engage with content and begin conversations around a topic, it shows that they value what you’re doing as a brand. Taking 15 minutes a day per social media profile to react and reply to comments helps build connections with your audience, and in turn builds trust. When you like a post someone has made about your brand, ask the content creator if you may repost it to your own social channels. This seemingly small action brings your social media community closer together and allows your fans to be heroes of the brand story.

Be genuine when you show up

Behind every social profile, there is a real, live human. When brands show their human side by demonstrating empathy and remaining approachable, trust from the customer base follows fairly easily. Own up to mistakes, celebrate customer wins and milestones, and show up consistently with value. Don’t be afraid to show behind-the-scenes moments via Instagram Stories or Reels. This type of content is growing like gangbusters right now. So the earlier that brands adopt short-form, genuine video content, the faster communities will grow because it shows a more approachable side of the brand.

Take Five With Jennifer

At any given time there are countless ever-changing tasks and projects in motion when you take a peek behind the scenes at Greteman Group. No matter how many moving parts there might be, the glue that binds them together at our agency is none other than project management extraordinaire Jennifer Herring. Amid the task lists and countless check-ins with team members, Jennifer was gracious enough to sit down with me to share what makes her tick. She took the time to answer these five questions:

What initially drew you to a career in marketing and advertising?

I originally started out with an interest in design. My college courses took me through everything from websites and photography to print design. I loved having a creative outlet but when I was hired by a printing company and quickly ushered into project management, I found my true calling. While I can be creative, I prefer to keep that for my personal hobbies and focus on helping creatives stay organized in my professional life. Where better than in marketing and advertising?

Who has inspired you along your professional journey?

I’m lucky to have worked with many people that have inspired me. Many in ways that were not dictated by their role. When I first started working, I had an amazing boss who showed me that kindness and encouragement can motivate a team. My time networking within the Wichita community has inspired the entrepreneurial spirit within me. Something that I have learned can be implemented both on your own and within a company. I have also been inspired by co-workers. I’ve seen them take chances, lead the way, ask for help, support each other (even beyond their time working together), show empathy, and stand in their power. Those are the things that inspire me.

What is your favorite thing about your role at Greteman Group, so far?

I thrive in developing and implementing processes, something I’ve been able to do here at Greteman Group. Plus the team is always open to new ideas. I love collaborating with everyone and developing ways for us to grow.

What has been the most surprising thing that you’ve learned in your career?

In the time that I’ve been working, there has been a shift in culture. When I started you took whatever job you could find that was even remotely in your area of interest then fit yourself to that role. You studied the perfect answers to interview questions instead of answering them honestly and you definitely didn’t tell your boss what you really thought. My surprise was that once I started answering both them and myself honestly the jobs got easier and the culture was a better fit. You may have to turn down a job offer, walk away from a current job, or take the risky option but if you don’t match both your skillset and your personality to the role and company culture you will never be happy.

For those considering a career in project management, what piece of wisdom would you like to share?

Document the projects you work on, what your wins and challenges are, dates, and the metrics related to the project. This can come in handy if you choose to get your PMP certification or in interviews. People want to hear measurable results and that can be hard to show from a project management role when others are usually the ones actually implementing the project.