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.