This morning my daughter had her favorite cereal  — Cheerios!   And I was looking at the bowl,  I noticed the circles swirling and thought of the social business circle of trust that is required in Social.


The “circle” of trust?   Yes!

The Circle of Trust

Every Social Business has to generate trust in its brand, employees, and products. I still remember the movie Meet the Parents, in which the father explained the concept of the “circle of trust” to his future son-in-law where trust in his family revolves from person to person. While we can laugh at the situations of this funny movie, the context of the message is one that is very real and very important.

Trust, while often overlooked, is crucial in the Social Business world. People want to do business with someone they trust, and with the social tools, all relationships depend on this concept. Our common sense tells us that trust is earned and not easily given. How do we survive in today’s business world in relation to trust? “Who do we trust” and “Who trusts our company” become critical questions to answer.

Trust Guards Your Social Business Digital Reputation

Trust guards your Social Business digital reputation. That digital reputation is how people view your company from the online content available in the blogosphere. This trust varies with the relationship, whether for employees, customers and partners. For example:

  • Employees build social capital through interactions that can happen naturally through work. The social environment can be provided by the company and built into work processes (hence the power of social enablement of business processes).


  • Building trust and a reputation with customers and prospects requires a different kind of thought and focus. There is no shared “platform” (although LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Wikipedia, and so forth, are shared by all) that guarantees interaction. Targeting, use of analytics, and engaging with honesty and value are key. It’s not enough to simply focus on the customer’s interests, but trust is built by understanding where they spend time and their motivations. Trust and a digital reputation are built by making the customer successful.


  • Partners and channels have aspects of customers and employees. A business partner who has more than 50% of their business with your company might be deeply integrated into your core processes and have a social interaction pattern somewhat like a customer. Other partners, however, can also be hybrids[md]a bit of a competitor and customer. Their business relationship is not integrated into your business processes as deeply, so it takes on a different type of relationship.


Below is an example of trust at the highest level where every night my client is processing all the feedback from clients and making changes — trusting their clients with their innovation!

the loop