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In an era of fake news, how do customers know you’re a trustworthy company?

With fake news now a widely-recognised term, how can we know that what we read online is accurate and that we can trust a brand's content?

Most consumers browse the internet for instant access to information, and make key buying decisions based on what they find.

Whether they’re seeking a hairdresser or a wedding cake, they’ll want to know that the company they choose, for whatever service or product they need, is trustworthy.

But when they’re saturated with information online and with the constant threat of fake news, how do your potential customers make an informed and educated decision?

Business trust issues

This year’s Edelman Trust Barometer  revealed a flatline in trust across government, business, media and NGOs in the UK. Surveying more than 33,000 respondents across 28 countries, its UK supplementary survey found that trust in UK business fell to 43%, while the other three institutions saw no change at all.

Less than a quarter of those surveyed said that they trust social media as a source for news and information, with 53% concerned about being exposed to fake news on social media.

One barrier to trust cited was ‘dishonesty and a lack of transparency in business dealings’ (45% of respondents).

But it’s not all doom and gloom. One positive can be taken from the apparent renewed optimism about the credibility of leaders (CEOs), with 60% of respondents believing that CEOs lead on change, rather than waiting for regulators to impose it.

So, how can my start-up build customer trust?

The onus is on businesses to earn the trust of consumers through their actions. This will help give customers confidence that they’re making decisions in their best interests and are not being manipulated by shadowy organisations.

There are a number of ways to do this:

Be active on social media

Being active and accessible on social media will help to give your brand a human side. Be prepared to connect with customers on platforms whether they are reaching out to you for positive or negative reasons.

If it is negative, act quickly to address their issue and message them directly, rather than escalating the discussion in public.

This approachability drives engagement and lets consumers know your interest in them goes beyond a purely transactional relationship.

Remember to be authentic in your communications on social media: speak and act in a way that feels true to your brand image.

Customise a profile on The Gazette

Every company registered with Companies House has a profile on The Gazette, the UK’s official public record.  This means that each individual company profile page provides a transparent and unbiased picture on this trusted platform.

You’ll see an at-a-glance timeline of key information, such as when a company was incorporated, director names, the nature of the business, its location, and filings with Companies House. You can also use the profiles as a useful free tool for conducting due diligence checks, competitor analysis, and reviewing market trends.

If you go on to customise your company’s profile, you’ll help to further demonstrate good standing and compliance. Customisation includes adding your company logo, website URL, links to social media pages, a phone number, and a short introduction to your company, including three website links to highlight products and services. It also includes a digital badge that you can add to your website and email communications.

If your business has no website, you can use your profile to direct prospective customers to a page containing key details about your company.

Highlighting your company information on the official public record will be one positive step towards your customers and suppliers trusting that you are a solid company to do business with. And what better foundation on which to build customer trust than that.

Find out more about company profiles, and how to customise your profile