Big brands – those with solid reputations as leaders in digital marketing – usually have a good idea of what’s happening in the industry. In fact, many actually control the trajectory of the industry. As such, you can learn a lot by simply observing what they do.

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Create Your Passion

The more personable and human you can be with your customers, the better reaction you'll get and the more they'll flock to you. Computers are excellent tools, but most people would rather talk with another person about their business goals and gaps than get auto-responses from a computer (even if that advice comes straight from their good friend Siri).

One of the key ways to build trust in your business is to admit your mistakes. Your business doesn't need to be 100% perfect, but you do need to be open and honest -- even transparent.

People who admit their faults and move forward build up a higher level of trust. Those who try to mask the situation or avoid confronting problems destroy trust.

Build a personal communications plan that will enable you to stay engaged with your community. You don't need to be the center of the conversation, but your community members need to know you are there and that you CARE.

Ongoing, reliable communication is vital in helping you build and maintain long-term relationships. If I try to speak with you, but constantly get the 'cold shoulder,' I will eventually give up trying.

Customers and clients who can't reach you will turn to someone more available.

Lead your social media community by connecting them with your passion and ideas.

Letting your community in on your plans for the future is a great way for your business to include your community in the process and help build trust.

Don't you love it when someone asks your opinion and truly listens to your response? Do the same for your community.

Storytelling offers your business a great opportunity to emotionally connect with your audience.

What makes your business unique? Why should someone choose your product or service? What's so special about you? And what's the STORY behind that?

So what are you waiting for... what’s your business story?

To help grow your social media community and spread the word about your business, make it easy for your customers to connect.

Tactics like these can help make sure you are found and accessible:
  • Place social sharing icons on your website.
  • Insert your website URL on your social media channel descriptions
  • Include your website URL and contact info on your business cards
  • Join social media groups in your niche and enter the conversation
  • Track mentions and associated hashtags to identify who is talking about you and your work

Consistent commitment is required to build a passionate social media community and to ensure the relationship survives and thrives.

Don't start a social media community if you don't plan to remain consistently devoted to it.

Don't "kiss and run." Kiss and hug and help.

If you want bigger results for your business, then look to solve a bigger problem for your customers.

With so many other businesses out there offering the same or similar services, you have to make sure you stand out. A great way to achieve this and build the trust of your community (without spending a fortune on advertising to get noticed) is to help people solve problems.

One of the surest ways to build loyalty is to be of real value -- and theirs no better way to do that than to solve problems for (and in) your community.

Be solution-focused.

Any business can romance a customer into the sale -- but it's what happens after the sale that separates the wheat and the chaff.

The better service you can deliver to your customers, the more you build trust and loyalty. Pleased and confident customers will tell others and drive word-of-mouth business for you. Unhappy customers will do the same (but in the wrong direction).