Trust Building 101: How to Show the World That You Take Your Biz Seriously

Apr 11, 20176 comments

“Who you are speaks so loudly I can’t hear what you’re saying.”

 

Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

It’s no secret. When people don’t trust you, they don’t listen to you. Without trust, there’s no conversation, no relationship, and of course, no sale.

But trust is also hard to manufacture. Or outsource. Or fake.

Trust is irrational. People don’t trust you based on your professional resumé, your portfolios, and not even your testimonials. When they look at these things, they’ve already decided. These all are supporting, secondary trust builders.

 

In other words, we make a gut decision, and then we try to rationalize it.

 

From all the variables involved in the primal “trust or not” decision, I’ve chosen the one that I believe is the most important: consistency.

For your potential clients, any sign of inconsistency is the writing on the wall.

Consistency has many aspects. I want to talk about three of them: Publishing content regularly, always being the same person, and having a visually recognizable brand.

 

How to show the world that you take your biz seriously #trustmarketingClick To Tweet

 

Publish regular content

Regular content builds trust because it shows that:

✦ You are committed to your work and take it seriously.

✦ You are reliable and disciplined.

✦ You are active, here and now.

And of course, with every piece of content, you’re adding value and making yourself visible to the people who need you. With every piece of content, you’re learning, growing, and getting better at what you do.

 

Skipping a week or two is no disaster. Taking a content break once or twice a year to concentrate on your products can give your audience time to absorb your ideas and get excited about the new things that are about to come.

But if the gaps are more regular than the content, you will have a hard time making people trust you.

Hiding the dates of your posts is not a solution. It’s sweeping the problem under the rug.

The solution is this: have a plan, always be ahead of your schedule, and prioritize consistent content over epic content.

 

Consistent is better than good because by taking consistent action, you WILL get better.Click To Tweet

 

Always be the same person

A strange thing happened to me on Twitter the other day.

Someone flooded my feed with a stream of negativity.

The person decided to tell the world about everything that was wrong with her life, her clients, and her job (her own business). Twenty tweets in a row, full of hate.

I had no idea why I was seeing that. Why would I follow her?

So I clicked the link in her bio, and then I remembered. She’s a VA and has a lovely, feminine, pink (!) blog full of social media (!) tips and “be yourself” and “#girlboss” and “community over competition” mottos.

Suddenly, I saw her blog in a new light. It all seemed so fake. I didn’t trust her anymore.

Maybe on Twitter, she was just being herself. But by doing so, she turned her brand into a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

 

I get it. Everyone is in a bad mood, sometimes. Sometimes everything is wrong (now it’s time to sing along).

Anyway. Not everyone is in control of their mood swings. But everyone is in control of their brand’s reputation.

 

My Brand Manifesto Workbook includes an exercise that prevents the split personality disorder effect: you list your personality traits and then sort them into two columns: those you want to share online and those you want to keep for yourself (depending on how you want your brand to be perceived).

If you know that you tend to kvetch but want your brand to be cheerful and supportive, you can make a conscious decision to keep online laments to a minimum. It’s not dishonest. It’s professional.

 

Without trust, there’s no conversation, no relationship, and of course, no sale. Click To Tweet

 

Have a visually recognizable brand

Visual consistency builds trust because it evokes feelings of stability and safety. And inconsistency is the first telling sign of amateurish design. That’s good news!

I mean, design consistency is much easier to achieve than any other kind of consistency: publishing every week and managing your brand reputation—it takes effort. It’s easier not to do it.

But being visually consistent makes things easier. And faster. And less stressful.

 

Here’s how to achieve visual consistency (this is for non-designers):

Colors: Decide on your brand colors and stay faithful (here are 100 color combinations for your inspiration). Write down the color codes and use the same color palette on your blog and social media images. (If you’re using Canva for free, you can save three brand colors to your brand kit. That’s enough.)

Fonts: Use the same font everywhere. What font do you use on your blog? Find it in Canva and when adding text to your images, use the same font.

Photos: When choosing free photos, pay attention to the color palette and the atmosphere/kind of photograph. Choose one kind of pictures—people, everyday objects, technology, nature, and so on—or one mood. Stay consistent.

Blog image: Find a template in Canva that you like (or create your own), adjust the colors, and always use the same template.

Social media images: the same as above.

 

Your design skills will improve, you will cultivate your taste. After some time, you’ll need to rebrand. But you can’t rebrand every month. Try to experiment with the style you’ve chosen, and do not change it too often. It takes months for people to start recognizing your brand visually. Give them time. Stay consistent.

Also, playing with one template or style will teach you more than limitless experimentation. Design is about working with constraints.

 

Why should you care about design, anyway?

“There’s a notion among non-designers that design is ornamentation. I was trying to make the case [in the book] that design is more than that, that it’s problem-solving—and that design has consequences… beyond something not being pretty.”

 

Dan Pink

 

Many times, I’ve heard people say, “You know, I have more important things to do than making it pretty. I can always sort it out later.”

But design is not about making things pretty. It’s not just the surface. Design is everything. I believe that today, design literacy is just as important as language literacy.

You don’t have to turn into a pro designer overnight. But by learning the very basics—like being consistent—you show your people that you care and that they can trust you.

 

Trust Building 101: The (Not So Secret) Formula

In summary, you build trust by showing up and doing the work.

Putting one foot in front the other, carrying the weight of your fears, moving towards your vision.

Even when you don’t feel like it, even when you’d rather do something else, even when you could get away with not showing up, even when nobody’s watching.

No matter the shiny objects, the raised eyebrows, the crickets chirp, the wins and failures. 

You just don’t change your direction, let yourself go, and you never, ever stop.

Hey, no one said it was going to be easy!

My questions for you

Why do you trust people and brands you trust, online and offline? Do you agree that consistency plays a huge role? Let me know in the comments.

What can you do today, this week, and this month to get more consistent? Write down your answers and then do it.

✯ If you found the article helpful, could you please share it on your favorite social media? It helps me a lot. Thank you!

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6 Comments

  1. Heart take the Wheel

    Shared on twitter! I find that from a consumer perspective, I trust brands that post quality content often more than brands that post anything just to be consistent. However, there’s a balance. That quality needs to be at least aiming for consistency! haha

    Reply
    • Veronika

      Thank you for the shares and for your comment, Glady!

      I agree that publishing something just for the sake of it isn’t the best way. But I didn’t write about quality (another aspect of consistency) on purpose. Many of us read “blogging gurus” and then we live under the impression that every post has to be 2k+ words long, SEO optimized, 10x better than anything else in the search result, contain a content upgrade, mention big names (so that you can let them know and ask them to share it), and about a million of other things that would make it “epic”.

      That’s the reason many people don’t write at all. They think that if it’s not epic, it’s not worth publishing. And that’s how they lose trust (among other things). When someone wants to contact/hire them and see that the last post is epic, but 6 months old, they assume that they aren’t in business anymore, or that they don’t care anymore, and leave.

      So, as you said, quality needs to be at least aiming for consistency – well put 🙂

      Thank you!

      Reply
  2. Estefy

    This is just what I needed to read, Veronika. How do you do it? I’ll work on those 3 questions starting from today. Thank you so much.

    Reply
    • Veronika

      Thank you so much, Estefy!

      I’m also working on the answers. There’s no shortcut to consistency. But I think that one of the most important things is to give up perfectionism and unrealistic expectations. (Which is not easy…)

      Thank you for your comment, I appreciate it 🙂

      Reply
  3. Elena Mutonono

    Hey Veronika! You were probably reading my mind when you wrote this post (although that’s not surprising 🙂

    I’ve never really had issues with content consistency, but I’ve never heard much about branding consistency until recently. Maybe because I’d focused more on getting my writing published or maybe when I got started there wasn’t as much materials available.

    Or maybe people just assumed that everyone knew what that was… Anyway, I didn’t have that until I hired you 😀

    Maybe you should write something more in-depth about choosing colors, fonts and “look” for your blog. I mean, you’ve already been sharing lots of valuable advice, but digging deeper would help many who have no eye for design (like me).

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Veronika

      Hey Lena,

      We were visited by the same idea again 🙂

      Thank you for your suggestion, I will dig deeper into the topic of visual branding. You’re right, it’s often taken for granted, and there’s not enough non-designer friendly resources. Thank you!!

      Reply

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