The latest Advertising Trust report from Neilsen reveals some surprises, but least surprising is the fact that “Recommendations from people I know” is the single most powerful driver to product and brand trust AND more importantly, action taking. It’s true that trust and action are often hand in hand, and we can’t discount the value of trust, but its also hard to measure. However, what creates trust and what creates action can be different. For example, consumers report that humorous ads resonate most with them. We know that humor is a powerful tool, especially in social media. It might be more powerful than cats, dare I say . However, humor is rarely what makes people take ACTION.

The action taking piece is the one I’m always most interested in looking at more closely. And its really no surprise that word of mouth leads the pack. Ads on social networks have a lower trust score than they do action score. That’s actually true for several advertising types. With respect to social media, there are two key take aways:
1) Use social to build trust and be very aware of what motivations exist for taking action.
2) The power of your tribe: when they share what you’ve got, its a more credible source. So be very aware of what and why people share on social.

Now, the challenge with a report like this is that these results are all self-reported. The challenge with self-reporting is that people don’t always really know why they do what they do. I know, YOU always know why you do what you do. Or do you? Your motivations may not always be clear even to you.

Just remember, what type of message you use impacts trust and action. Decide what you’re trying to establish in every single post. Be purposeful in your social media practice and you’ll find that you can actually be more human.

PS: If you’d like to download the Neilsen Report for yourself: click here