Gaining Experience in Emerging Media
IMC 619 – Emerging Media

A Matter of Trust

Word of Mouth.  Think back to the last major purchase you made.  If you’re the research-before-you-buy type, how did you go about finding the pros and cons of the purchase you were considering?  Did you Google it?  Did you read about the product on the company’s website?  Did you ask around your circle of friends for their impression?  I’m willing to wager that you probably did all three.  Which of those is the most commonly utilized reference?  WORD OF MOUTH.  That WAS your answer–right?   We used to call that a ‘referral’.  People who were satisfied with their service, or a product would commonly refer the purveyor of that service or product to others.  That’s how products and service providers built their business reputation, by referrals or more specifically by instilling TRUST in their services or products.

Consumers & Businesses — the Ultimate Trust.  Consider the current mortgage crisis where lenders duped borrowers, foreclosures were all too common and consumers basically lost trust in businesses whose business was to lend money on the American Dream.  Where would you go as a new borrower to learn about a lender?  Have you ever been asked for a referral such as this?  One author proposes that consumers will emerge from the current recession more cautious and more demanding of business relationships with trust being held as the gold standard.   I agree with Russ Alman in his article “A Matter of Trust — Social Media: Alternative Marketing for the 21st Century” when he says “unlike its face-to-face roots, this new wave of personalized business marketing will contain a technological element: the Social Media.  Business will once again focus on networking, referrals, and trust.  As a complement to these time-honored marketing systems, businesses will also rely heavily on Social Media to directly communicate with their prospects and customers.”  (Alman, 2009)

I echo his comment, “I personally welcome this shift and am excited about what it holds for the future of commerce.  Thanks to the Social Media, for the first time, small businesses will be on an even playing field with large corporations.”  (Alman, 2009)  

Reference:  Alman, R.  A Matter of Trust — Social Media: Alternative Marketing for the 21st Century. July 1, 2009.  Retrieved on November 9, 2009 from

Slideshare presentation on social media, it’s differences with traditional media and specifically the trust factor differences between the two:


One Response to “A Matter of Trust”

  1. Social media is definitely the new, technologically advanced version of word-of-mouth. Where I would once seek out friends for referrals on the phone, or visit brick and mortar stores to research products I’m interested in purchasing, I now do all of this online. I visit not just a company’s website for information, but also sites like to read reviews and comments about products from those that have used it. Sites like Facebook and Twitter allow me to ask a question of the few hundred people in my network. For instance, when I’m traveling on a planned business trip to an area I’m unfamiliar with I may post a general question of where the best steakhouse in “x” city is. Chances are someone in my network has been there and will have a referral for not only a great place, but those to avoid as well. That being said, the mom and pop shops now have a chance against the larger, more advertised chains.

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