Is Social Media Replacing Traditional Media in the Public Trust?

5 10 2009

Trust

Does the drop in public confidence in the press mean a corresponding rise in confidence in social media?  I’ll leave that question in the broadest sense to other bloggers to arm-wrestle over.  In the context of  Enterprise Social Media Marketing, the answer is, “yes.”

A survey published by Pew Research shows that public confidence in the ability of the press to “get the facts straight” and “deal fairly with all sides” is at an all-time low.  A large part of that is due to the increasing political polarization of America.  But, there is also a significant social media trend at work as well.

For Enterprise Social Media Marketing, a similar trend is taking place on a smaller scale.  I believe that enterprise buyers trust their sources of information in the following order:

  1. Trusted industry peers
  2. Vendor Web sites
  3. Other Industry Experts
  4. Blogs (from people in the industry)
  5. Press
  6. Analysts

This order of trust is based on interviews with enterprise executives plus two surveys I have read:

PJA Social Media Index (June 7, 2007)

Forrester Research.   Trusted Media for B2B Buyers (see page 8.)

Conclusions

Social media has taken priority over traditional media.  I believe that this is because people have always trusted their peers the most.  Social Media simply makes it much easier to find their peers and get their opinions on subjects of professional interest.

It is not so much a matter of “replacing” traditional media as the level of priority.  The issue is this; Where do your customers look first for trusted information?

What Should Marketing Professionals Do?

  • Validate this order of trust with your specific customer base.
  • Poll your customers constantly on their trusted sources of industry information.  You will need to communicate with them on the forums they frequent and trust the most.

Previous related blogs:

See also What Sources do IT Executives Trust?

See also  Who Are Your Customers Listening To?

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