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At Pluck, we cherish the opportunity to work with some of the leading brands, retailers and publishers in the world on a daily basis. Top of mind for our clients in late 2012 is the notion of trustability. Currently, most are striving to determine how they maintain and grow trust from their customers. And they’re grappling with means to help their customers understand and trust the end user content they facilitate, including product reviews, forum discussions, media galleries and more.
While trust is in the foreground via timely books like Extreme Trust and work by organizations like Edelman, we believe there’s an opportunity to focus on the trustability of social experiences – and to push for a new era of precision and experimentation around integrated social efforts.
Specifically, we offer that social trustability can be enhanced via efforts along five dimensions:
Identity: historically, communities and integrated social experiences on destination websites have encouraged semi-anonymous participation via pseudonyms. While certain communities (e.g. disease management environments) thrive with anonymity, product and brand-centric communities, such as those found on leading retail sites, become more trustable when users participate with real display names. Via Social Sign-On through Facebook and other services, coupled with proprietary Single Sign-On approaches, the Pluck team actively encourages market leaders to use real names for key social features like reviews and questions & answers.
Relationship: with real name participation, users can start to better understand how they might be connected to others. Market research consistently demonstrates that consumers trust friends and family most, across channels. With social bridging and syndication techniques, relationships can transcend sites and networks (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.), helping ensure that personally relevant information rises to the surface.
Attributes: when participants in a brand community, such as product reviewers, are able to identify themselves with structured attributes/characteristics, relevancy and trustability increases. For example, auto enthusiasts can identify driving styles and primary vehicle uses, camera users can indicate image manipulation skills, and book lovers can highlight primary reading preferences. With identified attributes from contributors, consumers of social content can filter key slices of information (like reviews) for attributes most important to them.
Experience: while attributes and relationships help with trust filters, experience can often be pivotal. Site experience (e.g. “featured reviewer”) based on quantity and quality of reviews is helpful. Product, category and skill experience is often even more important to consumers. Asking content producers to demonstrate and validate experience is often paramount to enabling customers to confidently complete a purchase.
Ownership: finally, verified product ownership is critical as consumers are diving deep into features and experiences. Owners can certainly work for manufacturers. And manufacturers often provide the best guidance and advice in Q&A and discussion environments. Ideally, though, real customers are badged with authenticated ownership and their content is promoted and available at critical stages of research, shopping and assurance.
Together, these five drivers of social trustability can be invoked to help applied social commerce move the needle, both for online transactions and through ROBO (research online buy offline) scenarios. We encourage you to go deeper to learn more about the Pluck Social Commerce Solution, our platform capabilities that power Trust, and key applications from Pluck like Reviews.
And as always, we’d love to hear your thoughts and answer any questions you might have. Please drop us a line.
SVP & GM, Social Solutions Group
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