Edelman’s Trust Barometer has highlighted that trust in individual experts is increasing. This is because subject matter experts can add a lot to organisations.
They bring a different lens, educate others and have different networks. People also hear them differently and tend to take note.
However, there are many other individuals who have a valuable contribution to make and it’s critical we both empower and support them.
This can go really well or horribly wrong.
I’ll give you an example.
I recently sat in the conference room of a very large corporate and listened in horror as the Head of Social Media told the 200 or so people in the room to “Get on social media, just start posting stuff, write some blogs, tweet, share our content and get LinkedIn Premium, it’s tax deductible.”
I cannot think of a bigger brand and reputation risk than telling people who are not trained to “just start posting stuff”.
By all means empower your people to be active on social media, where they might provide informed and intelligent insight, and share their knowledge, but educate them about the process, the risks and quality control.
Show them where their voice will have the right impact.
My advice: steer clear of social media and build networks with real people.
Meet with people who inspire you, to ask their advice and learn from them.
Attend industry events, learn and form a view. Talk to people, ask questions, maybe share a post about what you learned at the event.
This is all far lower risk than posting random stuff on LinkedIn, and it’s both cheaper and more valuable than signing up to Premium.
Because, while trust might be increasing, it doesn’t take much to crush.