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Aug 29, 2023 Ryan Humphreys

How Senior Leaders On Social Media Build Brand Trust

Research from Brunswick has found that people trust leaders who use social media more than those who don’t by a ratio of 6 to 1. Their research also showed that 82% of employees research a leader’s online presence when they consider joining a new company.

So, if your leaders don’t use social media, it could affect your brand trust – and everything that goes along with it.

Tribal chief Sarah Goodall recently chatted to Charlotte Lander, Social Media Director for Standard Chartered Bank, about how to encourage leaders to use social media and get the most out of it.

You can listen to the full interview below, or read the summary of what they discussed in this blog.


The Two Sides To Building Brand Trust

Charlotte started off by explaining that there are two sides to people’s brains: the cognitive and the emotional side. For any brand messaging to be successful, you need to connect with both.

The cognitive side is where people question your capabilities. Do they trust, as a brand, you can deliver on your product and services? And do that continuously?

The emotional side is where they judge your character. It’s your brand reputation. You need to answer questions like:

  • Can they trust what you say is true?
  • Are you authentic?
  • How do you make them feel?

Because you must speak to these two parts of someone’s brain, it takes time to build brand trust. Each positive experience is a micro conversion that slowly builds to form trust.


What Are The Challenges Of Building Brand Trust?

Trust can be quick to lose, and is something you continuously need to be building.

You also need to keep in mind what’s happening around you.

Fake news concerns are at an all-time high. People are worried about what they’re seeing and are more likely to distrust what they see as an initial reaction. Their circles of trust are also getting smaller.

People are more likely to trust their co-workers, colleagues, and their own CEO over government officials or journalists, according to the Edelman Trust Barometer.

That’s a benefit for anyone using employee advocacy. But it can present a challenge on other platforms in terms of how you communicate with your audience.


Why Brand Purpose Matters

68% of employees now prefer to work for leaders who use social media (Source: Brunswick). More and more people are choosing their employers (60%), buying (58%) and investing (64%), based on their beliefs and values (Source: Edelman Trust Barometer).

If you don’t have a clear brand purpose, that’s a huge challenge because the focus on beliefs and values will only increase as Gen Z’s stake in the workplace increases.

It won’t be long until Gen Z are our senior leaders, investors, and external stakeholders such as regulators and government officials. If a brand hasn’t convinced them by the time they’ve take those roles, it’ll be too late.

Find out why social media isn’t just for Gen Z  in our LinkedIn Live with Luan Wise, founder of thelighthouse.social.


How Senior Leaders Build Brand Trust On Platforms Like LinkedIn

Talent now expects senior leaders to be transparent and communicate the company culture and experiences online.

As much as marketers love a brand persona, it’s senior leaders who best reflect the brand, its culture and expertise.

With more and more people working in hybrid ways and global organisations, leaders need to be more visible and have a way of connecting with their peers and colleagues. Social media can help build and maintain that connection and employer brand, and therefore trust with current and potential talent. 

Senior leaders are also some of the best people to humanise a brand because they can bring emotion and personal experiences into the picture. People also want to hear from experts, with 90% of B2B buyers engaging with a person represented as a thought leader in their industry. (Source: StatusBrew).


Tips For Senior Leaders Who Want To Be Active

To activate leaders on social media, you need to understand their biggest challenges. What is it that keeps them up at night? What’s their biggest focus? 

If you pair that with the reason they’re hesitant – whether that’s time constraints, social skills, or knowledge – you can come up with a strategy that fits their goals and speaks their language.

It’s important to articulate the opportunities of social media, in a language that they’re familiar with. Social media impressions may not mean much to them, but staying top of mind until a customer is ready to buy (brand awareness, consideration, and lead nurturing), and attracting and retaining top talent to accelerate business performance will. 

Sarah summed up how to convince them by saying that it’s all about: ‘Pace, roles, and goals. Aligning your conversation to the role and the goal that that individual senior leader has but recognising their pace and comfort levels.’

Charlotte also said that you won’t get every senior leader onboard. And that’s ok. Instead, you should:

‘Go for quality over quantity. You’re not going to get everyone. Employee advocacy is not something you’re going to roll out to all staff, organisation-wide. But think about your strategy. Understand what business goals you want to achieve, and select specific objectives (use cases), focus on select individuals and small groups, then build from there.’


The Relationship Between Employee Experience And Customer Experience

With a wealth of information at their fingertips, buyers now control the relationship with brands, it’s why every touchpoint someone has with a brand needs to be consistent, as it plays into those micro-conversions that build trust. Without that consistent experience, trust levels start to fall.

Those positive touchpoints are also essential at every stage of the buying and share-of-customer/upselling cycle. Researchers from Carnegie Melon, MIT, and Standard University found that purchasing can trigger the pain sensors in the brain and so the value of a product can be calculated as Reward – Pain. You can’t eliminate the pain response, unless you give away your product for free, so the pleasure and value someone sees in your brand must outweigh the pain, or the purchase is unlikely to happen.

This is because money is seen as a resource. Our brains weren’t designed for purchasing, they were designed for survival.

As you start giving resources away, our brains see it as a negative.

If you don’t have a consistent and good experience that’s transparent, authentic, and aligned with that brand reputation that person won’t purchase from you and may never come back to your brand.


Grow Brand Trust, Grow The Business 

Brand trust is key to attracting and retaining the best talent and customers. Employee advocacy and leadership activation can grow your employer brand, driving overall brand trust.

And it’s social media that enables businesses to do this at scale, with 7x more leads generated by employees, over brand networks (Source: LinkedIn Altimeter Study). 

So now you know the power of employee advocacy, why wouldn’t you make it an essential part of your digital marketing strategy? 

To find out more about how you can get buy-in from your leadership team, check out our tailored LinkedIn management for senior leaders


How To Get Leadership Buy-In

About Tribal Impact

Tribal Impact is a B2B Social Selling and Employee Branding Agency.

We're a team of social media strategists, trainers, coaches, content creators and data analysts who are passionate about helping our B2B customers develop and scale their social selling and employee advocacy programs.

Learn more about us here.

Published by Ryan Humphreys August 29, 2023
Ryan Humphreys