3 Content Distribution Strategies that Build Trust

June 7, 2017

Girl working on laptop

To win the trust battle, tech marketers need to augment their current content distribution strategies to gain more credibility. This means thinking about who tech buyers trust most, who they want information from, and what types of distribution garner the most trust.

Use Social Selling to Build Trusted Relationships

In our latest report about the evolving composition and expectations of the tech buying committee, we discovered that most decision makers are using social media to learn about technology (65% of younger Millennials versus 59% of older Millennials, and 56% of Gen Xers).

In fact, approximately three in five tech buyers want their sales reps to use LinkedIn for social selling actions. Globally, the majority of technology buyers (72%) say that it’s important that their sales rep demonstrates social selling behaviors across four distinct categories: having a professional brand, having a network of trusted connections, taking a relevant approach to the sale and leveraging valuable insights.

What can you take away from this preference?

  • Sharing relevant content on social media improves trust, especially for Younger Millennials – 80% of whom say they value reps who share content applicable to their roles compared to 78% of Older Millennials and 76% of Gen Xers.

  • Tech buyers want personalized communications with 78% of Younger Millennials compared to 73% of Older Millennials and 68% of Gen Xers saying they value personalized content.

  • Social media provides a way for tech buyers to consume content and easily share it with others in their network and on the buying committee. Our research showed that Millennials and Gen Xers influence through collaboration — exchanging opinions and learning from each other.

Social selling is effective and drives key sales outcomes because it’s built from trusted relationships. Don’t overlook it in your marketing toolkit.

Tap Your Employees’ Networks

You may think that buyers view employees with the same skepticism they may have for a company, but that’s not the case. When employees advocate for their company, by sharing content with their own networks, it’s viewed as three times more authentic and typically sees a click-through rate that is two times higher than when their company shares the same content.

But there is an even greater trickle-down effect from employee advocacy, especially when their social networks are interconnected with those on the buying committee. For instance, 59% of Younger Millennials, 50% of Older Millennials and 42% of Gen Xers all say they value having connections in common. And, they talk frequently with their professional and personal network when evaluating a major tech investment decision. This includes other colleagues outside of IT decision making (45%) and professional peers (70%). What does all this tell you? Connected employees are in a strong position to influence the buying committee’s decision-making.

To make the most of the opportunity your employees represent, keep these tips in mind:

  • Start by identifying employees who you believe will be good advocates for your brand. These will likely be employees who are already active on social media or thought leaders within the company.

  • Help employees see what the return on investment is for them – as they share more content, they are likely to expand their own professional network and reputation.

  • Create a balanced portfolio of content for them to share. The content should be a mix of company, industry, and general news (see below for why this is important).

Collectively, employee’s networks are about 10 times larger than a company’s followers, so tapping into this amazing resource can greatly expand your reach and your credibility with decision-makers.

Don’t Forget About Influencers

In addition to seeking advice from those in their professional networks and other individuals on the buying committee, decision makers also talk with individuals they trust to have some expertise with the technology solution they are considering. This includes 51 percent who say they chat with end-users.

When considering what types of content you should distribute and where, keep these points in mind:

  • 61% use opinions/reviews as top sources

  • 42% use industry-specific news and trends

  • 47% use how-to or learning guides

To win trust, make sure that you distribute content from a number of different sources—from end users to industry experts—and that these content pieces are published and promoted on reputable sites.

Trust Takes Work, But Attaining It Is Invaluable!

Trust isn’t something that can be manufactured overnight. But the good news is that with a little strategic planning there is a lot you can do to increase the trust of your content and your company in the eyes of the buying committee. Just remember that in addition to distributing your content through trusted individuals and sites, trust is also higher when the content itself is original, well-crafted, factually true, and relevant.

Looking for other helpful insights about the evolving tech buyer, their expectations and how to up your relevance? Check out the section of our blog written exclusively for tech marketers!