If you are an individual, organization or brand, and have a presence on any digital channel, building and sustaining trust with your audience is a key success factor in the growth or erosion of your business.

The actions you demonstrate across a number of different online touch points determines your level of trust. Using a banking metaphor, positive actions and audience experiences increase your trust “value” while negative actions and audience experiences devalue your trust.

What trust factors are most important to you? What would you add? Drop by the comments and share your thoughts.

digital trust

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About Mark Smiciklas

Mark Smiciklas

Mark Smiciklas is a Digital Strategist, author and President of Intersection Consulting; a Vancouver based digital marketing agency that teaches organizations how to leverage the dynamics of the web to achieve business goals. Mark is also the managing editor at Solopreneur.ca and is an established marketing and social media practitioner recognized for his visual thinking and practical strategic approach. You can connect with him on Google+.

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Comments & Reactions

Comments Policy

Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • http://www.basati.com Basati

    In Business Trust is very important. You will succeed in your business if you follow this  8 aspects.

  • http://twitter.com/cksyme Chris Syme

    Love this, Mark. Good stuff. 

    • http://twitter.com/intersection1 Mark Smiciklas

      Thanks Chris – much appreciated!

  • http://twitter.com/p_schwan Patrick Schwan

    Hey Mark, great overview and nice visualization! Hope it’s okay if I share this in my blog?!?


    • http://twitter.com/intersection1 Mark Smiciklas

      Thank you Patrick. Share away!

    • http://twitter.com/intersection1 Mark Smiciklas

      Thank you Patrick. Share away!

  • http://www.3hatscommunications.com/blog/ davinabrewer

    Good one Mark.. will have to add inaction and indecision to go along with the indifference under Respond. I think people trust when the see, hear something, some action, they respond to leadership, to those who step up and make decisions. Perhaps the 9th thing I’d add: be human. In all of these, being open, not hiding behind policy.. you’re dealing with people, so it helps to act like a person. FWIW.

    • http://twitter.com/intersection1 Mark Smiciklas

      Thanks for dropping by with a comment. Leadership is key – actions speak louder than words, slogans, mission statements, etc. Humanization is a great addition. I believe audiences give brands some slack if they feel they are dealing with a real person that is listening to what they have to say. 

  • http://twitter.com/tristanelosegui Tristán Elósegui

    Great infographic!!! very clear!!
    May I share it in my blog? I’ll publish in 12h (tomorrow morning in Spain). Please contact me if there’s any problem, Ok?? thank you!

    • http://twitter.com/intersection1 Mark Smiciklas

      Thanks Tristan – please feel free to share the infographic on your blog.

  • http://twitter.com/BHSMITH Bradley H. Smith

    Very nice.

    • http://twitter.com/intersection1 Mark Smiciklas

      Thanks :)

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  • http://aliciavaz.com Alicia Vaz

    A great point, #3 is my personal favorite. It
    speaks to a situation I’m facing right now.

    Without going into detail, I’ll say this; I
    don’t like looking at a brand in mere pieces but as a whole. There is such disconnect
    from what we see online and the physical store. Time should also be spent on
    creating experiences inside the physical store, experiences that are in line
    with what is being promoted online, which helps to reinforce the brand’s position.
    In other words, you visit someone’s website and it’s truly awesome but if you
    were to visit their physical location, it’s a complete mess.

    For those brands that manage a brick and
    mortar store in addition to a website, that lasting feeling should be the same
    online and offline. 

    • http://twitter.com/intersection1 Mark Smiciklas

      Thanks for the comment Alicia. I couldn’t agree more – consistency of experience across all touch points is really important.

  • http://www.online-business-virtual-assistant.com/ Virtual Business Assistant

     Great post once again Mark.
    You always are on the edge of thinking outside the box and very clever.

    • http://twitter.com/intersection1 Mark Smiciklas

      You’re most welcome – and thanks for the compliment :)

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  • http://twitter.com/jwongjk Jan Wong

    Whoa! You made it look so simple by using the diagram to explain the entire process. Amazing work over there :)

    • http://twitter.com/intersection1 Mark Smiciklas


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  • http://hrsoftwaresystem.com/ laura

    I love your infographic! Well done! May I just say, this path can be applied to any kind of business, not only the online ones. Don’t you think? I think honesty is always the way to go forward. Cheers. 

    • http://twitter.com/intersection1 Mark Smiciklas

      I totally agree Laura. Trust is THE crucial element of any relationship, business or personal, online or offline.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Antonio-Leite/100000066458711 Antonio Leite

    I love to read your posts regards http://www.cuponbank.com

  • Carrie

    very well done. thanks for sharing. 

    • http://twitter.com/intersection1 Mark Smiciklas

      Thanks Carrie…and you’re welcome :)

  • Lily

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  • http://twitter.com/RyoatCision Ryo Yamaguchi

    This is a great infographic Mark, thanks for sharing! I especially like the design here, this sense of veering left and right, perhaps, in and out of trust. I think many of these points are fundamental and I agree wiht @lauHRa:disqus that these are valuable characteristics of any business relationship. However, I think online, social in particular, is showing us how far transparency and honesty can really go. I’ve seen so many examples where companies blunder, fess up, maybe even make fun of themselves, and are all the better for it. 

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  • http://twitter.com/stenkate Stephan ten Kate

    Great post and visualization!

    From a social science perspective, I would add that the first step to build online trust is to be perceived as trustworthy. Trust builds gradually (and often slowly) and people first evaluate others’ trustworthiness, based on dimensions such as ability, integrity and benevolence.

    If you’d like to know more about these dimensions and their perceptions within social netwerking sites, have a look at the abstract of my academic research: http://stenkate.blogspot.com/2009/03/trustworthiness-within-social.html

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  • http://twitter.com/pointcg Chris Greco

    Great post Mark. I think I would add something about ‘being authentic’ as it relates to building trust.  Be clear about who you are (and who you aren’t), what you do well (or not), and how you are contributing to the greater good (or not). The phrase ‘be human’ also keeps popping into my mind. Not that a company can be ‘human’ per say, but treat people with dignity and respect, and don’t be afraid to have a little fun. Know these point touch on the 8 pillars you have outlined, but hopefully they help. 

  • Anonymous

    This is a great brand of computer graphics, thanks for sharing! I especially like the design here, that feeling of turning left and right, perhaps in and out of confidence. I think many of these issues are fundamental and agree with lauhra these are the interesting features of any business relationship. However, I believe that online social, in particular, shows how the transparency and honesty can really go. I have seen many examples where companies blunder, cut, maybe even laugh at themselves, and are even better than her.

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  • Amnuai Beckenham

    Mark what an excellent post. Your 8 steps to building trust are so easy to understand yet so many fail to be able to live up to these universally accepted principles. Thank you for sharing and I especially appreciated your “brand promise” point. At our Thai village silk business we continually have to tell people that we cannot create certain colours as we are committed to the use of only natural dye materials. We never use chemical dyes and sure we may lose some prospective customers but we can still feel proud we are doing our bit for the environment.

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  • Anonymous

    I would love to track your future posts pertaining to the said topic we are able to read.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/susan.payton Susan Payton

    Mark– Loved the infographic. I think a big part of building trust is simply being a person. You work for a brand, but you bring personalization to the brand, so show it. And be consistent in your messaging. A little work will go a long way. Here’s a great post with some tips for creating trust through different online platforms. Enjoy! http://blog.pgi.com/2012/5-ways-to-create-trusting-relationships-online/

  • http://twitter.com/wwwel7lcom yasser

     nice article, i just finished bookmarking it for future reference. i would love to read on future posts. how do i configure the rss again? thanks!

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  • http://twitter.com/CaitlinMarketng Caitlin Roberson

    Mark– Loved the infographic. I think a big part of building trust is simply being a person. You work for a brand, but you bring personalization to the brand, so show it. And be consistent in your messaging. A little work will go a long way. Here’s a great post with some tips for creating trust through different online platforms: http://blog.pgi.com/2012/5-ways-to-create-trusting-relationships-online

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  • http://www.it-sales-leads.com/ Barbara Mckinney

    Love the infographic Mark and agree to it.

    Trust can’t be built overnight. You have to be HUMAN in order to gain the trust you want. We all know that gaining the trust and loyalty of your customers or your target prospect really counts a lot. Start building it right now.

    • msmiciklas

      Thanks Barbara – glad you enjoyed the infographic!

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