Examining Trust in Social Media August 17, 2010 by Michael Olson research Scott Monty, who heads up social media efforts at Ford Motor Company, recently wrote a great blog post about trust in social media. Monty cites data published by eMarketer displaying the most trusted sources of information for people who use social media. It comes as little surprise that the three most trusted sources of information are all peer-generated, and two of the three most popular channels are driven by friends in social network feeds. 64% of people trust posts by friends in their Facebook news feed, and 55% trust tweets from friends in their Twitter stream. This underscores the benefit of Janrain Engage social publishing, and many of our customers are experiencing an average of 9 new visitors to their site each time a user publishes a post to their social network. We’re all aware that social media has flipped the paradigm for marketers. Whereas brands used to have direct control over their message in traditional marketing (advertising, direct, email), social media has democratized communication and dissemination of information. Essentially, the battleground for marketers is shifting from owned and paid media to earned media. The result is that consumers, whose opinions are expressed through blogs, microblogging sites (such as Twitter) and social networks (like Facebook ), now command great influence over how a brand is perceived by other consumers. Brands seeking to tap into this trend can leverage peer-to-peer word of mouth marketing from their website. The social publishing features of Janrain Engage enable a company’s consumers to share activities such as comments, purchases and reviews directly with friends in a channel where trust is greater – the social network stream. Because social network news feeds function as a recommendation engine, this strategy results in an influx of highly qualified referral traffic from the social networks, helping brands break through communication barriers to reach new audiences. For those interested in reading more about this trend, Edelman’s annual trust barometer also maps the power shift in the trust continuum between corporations and individuals.