What is your online experience of trust? How do you trust online? Is it all about the avatar? Faces in blocks are not often the true picture of the whole person. We all know people are social networking online. A recent peek at Facebook statistics reveals 800 million active users who manage to upload 250 million photographs on average per day! It is clear there is a shift in how we communicate online. Has there been a shift in how we trust online?
Building trust the old-fashion way with a face-to-face encounter or a hand shake is beyond challenging to do online. Now think about brands, organizations and businesses for a moment. How can you LIKE your coffee company, your wireless provider, your favorite search engine? When was the last time you met them or even had a voice conversation? Today, if you LIKE something or someone, it translates online to some form of virtual trust. It often means market by numbers rather than a trusting relationship.
Why is any of this important in our industry? The last time I checked, real estate is still a people business even though it is online 24/7. People do business with people they know, like and trust. And social media sites are now our new tools for communication. However, our focus and training is often about “how” to use them, rather than how to be “trustworthy” on them. Look what happened to the word “trust” in banking when Bank of America chose to increase fees without being aware how their customers were connected online?
The LIKE faces or number of followers do not always translate into online trust. It is a good way to stand out if you are a marketing machine. How do you stand out if you are a person? Remember, what is online stays there forever. We are talking and listening to each other in bold new ways. What is important to you? Is it trusting relationships or has trust become a numbers game?