Corporate Twittering increases consumer trust, but many don’t want companies to listen to them


A few days ago I asked the question How much do people want to know their conversations are being monitored?, given how brands such as Gatorade boast about how well they listen to online conversations. As it happens, someone has an answer.

Fleishman-Hillard has just released their Digital Influence Index report for 2010, with a wide range of interesting research and conclusions.


Source: Fleishman Hillard

The results above squarely address my question, with in fact a significant proportion of Europeans not comfortable being monitored, despite their conversations being in the public domain. Chinese and Japanese are the happiest to feel listened to. A hefty proportion of people across most countries feel that monitoring is just for show and is unlikely to result in any action (and they’re probably right in most cases).


Source: Fleishman Hillard

Taking a different slant, Corporate microblogging (primarily on Twitter in Western countries) overall has a significant positive impact on trust. This relates to the broader trend of reputation shifting from companies to individuals. Having a personal, human voice engenders trust, and indeed the fact of trusting individuals to Twitter on the organization’s behalf makes them more trustworthy themselves.


Source: Fleishman Hillard

One of the other interesting aspects of the report was its research into the role of the internet in influencing decisions. Across countries, the vast majority of people use the internet to compare options, as well as in many other aspects of their personal decision-making process. Every company must do what they can to be present and visible on the web when this research is being done by consumers.