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2010 Edelman Trust Trends. 7 Destiny-Accelerators and YOU.

Social Media Doesn’t Work As Well As Some Think.

For real estate agents, it’s even better or worse! Read on to find out who’s doomed and who’s charmed.

Is Social Media A Hope Hoax?

Ad Age Headline

In The Age Of Friending, Consumers Trust Their Friends Less

Edelman Study Shows That Only 25% of People Find Peers Credible, Flying in Face of Social-Media Wisdom

Who Do You Trust?

Ad Age Article pull quotes…

“If consumers stop believing what their friends and the “average Joes” appearing in testimonials say about a product or company, the implications could be significant not just for marketers but for the social networks and word-of-mouth platforms selling themselves as solutions to communicating in a jaded world.

Platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have allowed people to maintain larger circles of casual associates, which may be diluting the credibility of peer-to-peer networks. In short, the more acquaintances a person has, the harder it can be to trust him or her. Mr. Edelman believes the Facebook component has “absolutely” played a role in diluting trust levels.”

“Richard Edelman, President and CEO of Edelman, believes it’s a sign of the times — and the lesson for marketers is consumers have to see and hear things in five different places before they believe it.”

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What’s Really Going On?

The 2010 Edleman Trust Barometer reports that people who trust their friends and peers as the source for trustworthy source of information about companies has swooned from 45% in 2008 to 25% in 2010.

Oddly, the publicly released report does not have the chart above, but, there is lots of interesting information in the report. It’s worth reading.

The survey reports that people like you and me, we’ve lost trust in just about everything; companies, politicians, banks, etc.  In times of trouble, we look for safety, leadership, certainty and expertise.

Here’s a quote from Mr. Edelman…

“The events of the last 18 months have scarred people,” Mr. Edelman said. “People have to see messages in different places and from different people. That means experts as well as peers or company employees. It’s a more-skeptical time. So if companies are looking at peer-to-peer marketing as another arrow in the quiver, that’s good, but they need to understand it’s not a single-source solution. It’s a piece of the solution”

“Consumers are a distrustful bunch in general — the credibility of TV dropped 23 points and radio news and newspapers were down 20 points between 2008 and 2010.”

I believe it’s true!  Recent cataclysms cause us to trust less in general.   Specifically, we trust companies, government and corporations less than ever.  But (Behold the Underlying Truth), I believe these troubled times make social media more important than ever, for real estate agents.  Here’s why, in the yellow box above Edelman shares…

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“People who say their friends and peers are credible information sources about companies is down from 45%.”

I bolded two words, “about companies”.  The survey question and answer is about companies, not an individual REALTOR®.  I believe that citizens choose their real estate agent 180 degrees differently than choosing a company/corporation/institution.  As you know, in real estate, citizens generally choose the agent first, not the company.  That an agent is partnered with a brand name company enhances the odds of being chosen.  Company brand can be an important consideration, it’s rarely the defining factor in choosing the agent.  An agents personal brand is the most important factor, and, correctly using Social Media enhances an agent’s personal brand.

Plus, Social Media is not a Money-Getting-Machine, it’s a Destiny-Accelerator. If a person sucks, Social Media accelerates their downfall.  If a person is remarkable, Social Media will accelerate their success.  Since Social media accelerates your destiny, here’s…

Seven Destiny-Accelerators For The Charmed

  1. In troubled times, people clamor for expertise – use social media wisely to demonstrate your expertise.
  2. In troubled times, people need to see it a few times to believe it – use social media to share and show what other experts say and how it supports what you believe. Don’t TELL!  Do SHOW!  Use 3rd, 4th and 5th party proof.
  3. Long term success in real estate is dependent upon healthy relationships – for business, use social media primarily to stay in touch, share, conversate, educate and entertain.  Go slow on the selling.
  4. In troubled times life, trust is a differentiators – beam trustworthy behavior in all your social media efforts.
  5. Use Social Media to strengthen Top of Mind Awareness – Relevant, Remarkable, Repetition.
  6. Social Media accelerates the inevitable.
  7. Use Social Media to position yourself for what’s MOST IMPORTANT:   In-Person, On-Purpose Contact > Conversation > Discovery > Connection > Service & Help.

Here’s What Others Have To Say About The 2010 Edelman Trust Barometer.

Consumers Trust Friends Less? I don’t agree

Mark Twain & Benjamin Disraeli

Global Advertising: Consumers Trust Real Friends and Virtual Strangers the Most

A Pretty Cool Report from Razorfish

What Do You Think?


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Thanks for reading.  Cheers.

Photo Credit.

Bonus: Edleman’s Digital Visions – 10 New Ideas For The New Decade (These may be new to some, perhaps you know this already.)

Written By

Ken Brand - Prudential Gary Greene, Realtors. I’ve proudly worn a Realtor tattoo for over 10,957+ days, practicing our craft in San Diego, Austin, Aspen and now, The Woodlands, TX. As a life long learner, I’ve studied, read, written, taught, observed and participated in spectacular face plant failures and giddy inducing triumphs. I invite you to read my blog posts here at Agent Genius and On the lighter side, you can follow my folly on Twitter and Facebook. Of course, you’re always to welcome to take the shortcut and call: 832-797-1779.



  1. David G

    February 15, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    Ever since the Walmart fake blog debacle I’ve been very weary of anything Edleman puts out in this space and this report is no exception; it really has my BS-filter on red alert. Why didn’t this chart appear in the original report? Maybe it’s because all of the trust metrics saw an equally major dip (i.e. undermining the insight they wanted to lead this news in the press.) It looks to me like Edleman is cherry-picking the juicy story when all the chart says is … “consumers trust companies less than they did 2 years ago.” Now that’s not nearly as big of a story … but there’s more here; the large and totally linear change in all of these measurements also calls the study into question for me. To me, it looks like they simply changed the way they asked or scored the trust question. Maybe Edleman should start measuring how much consumers trust their studies.

    • Ken Brand

      February 15, 2010 at 2:25 pm

      I’m with you David, I thought it was sorta lame. Ummmm, hear ye, hear ye, people are less trusting! No kidding. Thanks for sharing your take as well.

  2. Karen Brewer

    February 15, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    Rubbish. Social media is invaluable as a “keeping in touch” tool.What you do once a friend needs you is the key-where the rubber meets the road if you will. I could NEVER keep in touch with as many people as I do thru blogging, FB etc otherwise or have the opportunity to prove myself to them.
    So whats the converse in this cynical time….trust a stranger first? Nah……

  3. Ken Brand

    February 15, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    I’m with you Karen, I do believe it’s like oxygen for real estate agents, for companies and institutions, it’s a must, but not as powerful, not because Social Media doesn’t work, but because people connect with people not a logo. Cheers and thanks for sharing.

  4. Janie Coffey

    February 16, 2010 at 5:53 am

    Hi Ken – I think this is one of your masterpieces! Great info and I really like how you position SM not as a business MAKER but a relationship STRENGTHENER!

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