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The Power of ‘Like Know Trust’ Method: What Most Marketers Miss

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Building a strong online presence is crucial for the success of any business.

With countless websites competing for attention on search engine result pages, it’s essential to stand out and connect with your target audience. One popular marketing strategy that many marketers employ is the ‘Like, Know, Trust’ method.

However, there are certain aspects of this method that often go overlooked. In this comprehensive article, I’ll dive into the method of the ‘Like, Know, Trust’, uncovering the untapped potential that most marketers miss.

The Foundation of ‘Like, Know, Trust’

The ‘Like, Know, Trust’ method was developed by Bob Burg and revolves around establishing a deep connection with your audience through three essential stages: likeability, familiarity, and trustworthiness.

Bob said the following famous quote in his book, Endless Referrals

All things being equal, people will do business with, and refer business to, those people they know, like, and trust.”

By effectively implementing this strategy, businesses have created meaningful relationships with their customers, resulting in increased brand loyalty and customer retention.

Let’s shine a spotlight on likeability, familiarity, and trustworthiness stage-by-stage.

Stage 1: Likeability

Building likeability is the first step towards capturing your audience’s attention. People are naturally drawn to brands and individuals they find relatable and approachable. To establish likeability, you should focus on:

  1. Authenticity: Being true to your brand’s values and showcasing a genuine brand personality helps align with your target audience. Does calling yourself a “prolific brand” help people align with your brand or detract from it? Use your brand words wisely.
  2. Storytelling: Sharing compelling stories about your brand’s journey or the people behind it humanizes your business. This is how you make your brand more relatable. Enough with the “BUY BUY BUY!” content.
  3. Engaging Content: Creating valuable and entertaining content that sparks conversations and encourages audience interaction can help foster a sense of likeability. Beware the brands that use this ploy to get comments and conversation going but don’t bother to join in. That’s call gaming the algorithm at your expense. RUDE. 

Stage 2: Familiarity

Once you’ve captured your audience’s interest, it’s crucial to nurture and deepen the relationship. Familiarity helps build a sense of trust and loyalty, encouraging customers to choose your brand over competitors. Consider the following strategies to enhance familiarity:

  1. Consistent Branding: Maintaining consistent visual elements, messaging, and tone across all platforms creates a cohesive brand identity that customers can easily recognize and remember. Ask yourself: “Does my content look/feel the same on every digital channel (website, email, social channels, etc.)?”
  2. Ongoing Engagement: Actively engaging with your audience through social media, email newsletters, or blog posts keeps your brand at the forefront of their minds. This isn’t just retweeting the nice things someone says about you or puff pieces; it’s engaging in earnest on the conversations happening around your brand. [See also: RUDE above]
  3. Thought Leadership: Sharing valuable industry insights and expertise positions your brand as a trusted authority, further strengthening familiarity and credibility. Again, this is not just about touting your brand assets that are gated or paid; it’s sharing relevant, timely, and truly helpful ideas for your target audience.

Stage 3: Trustworthiness

Trust is the cornerstone of any successful relationship, be it personal or professional. When customers trust a brand, they are more likely to become loyal advocates. They’re also more likely to buy more.

Establishing trust requires a focus on the following factors:

  1. Transparency: Being open and honest about your business practices, pricing, and policies builds trust and eliminates doubts or suspicions.
  2. Social Proof: Positive reviews, testimonials, and case studies from satisfied customers serve as powerful endorsements, enhancing your brand’s trustworthiness. Don’t forget: Online shoppers will look to brand conversations to see how helpful brands are during their path to purchase.
  3. Excellent Customer Service: Providing exceptional customer service and promptly addressing concerns or issues demonstrates your commitment to customer satisfaction, reinforcing trust. This includes social media customer service!

What Most Marketers Miss

While the ‘Like, Know, Trust’ (LKT) method is widely recognized and employed by many marketers, there are certain key aspects that often get overlooked.

Getting the like is easy. However, most brand miss the whole, “to get people to trust you, they have to know you” part. They go straight from ‘like” to thinking trust comes second. Hint: It doesn’t.

This is what most of my book, Conversations That Connect, focused on. Getting to know and trust a brand is like peeling an onion. You have to go through all the layers to get to the middle (trust).

conversations-that-connect-onion-theory

[Source]

Most marketers and brands spend their time on content that’s superficial; breadth. And breadth is boring. Depth is where know and trust happen.

To truly optimize the LKT method and surpass competitors, pay attention to the following:

Personalization

Tailoring your marketing efforts to individual customers can significantly enhance the ‘Like, Know, Trust’ experience.

Utilize customer data to segment your audience and deliver personalized content, offers, and recommendations. By understanding and addressing their specific needs, you create a stronger connection and build trust faster.

Moreover, better personalization means gathering insights about how customers are feeling, and then using that information as a way to nudge their customer journey towards connection, conversation, and conversion.

Try these three ways to get hyper-personal with your customers:

  1. Get granular. Instead of saying, “our customers are counting on us to deliver!”, try: “Plumbers Supply Co [client name] is counting on us to fill their pipeline with 10 qualified leads in Q1 [client goal]. Without our paid leads [your service/product], they won’t be able to keep spending on paid media service [what will happen to your service/product].”
  2. Next, include customer impact in your own company’s decision-making. This is as easy as asking, “how will this impact our customers?“, as you make your own critical selections.
  3. Finally, (our fave!), Think Conversation when it comes to your customers. As in, talk to your customers! When is the last time you did this? We strive to make this happen quarterly, and it truly makes a difference.

Emotional Connection

Emotion plays a powerful role in decision-making.

For example, take the onion pic I shared above and then think about most of the content you see posted by brands on social media. If you apply that theory — and what most marketers miss — when it comes to the LKT method, you get dismal results.

onion theory content building b squared media
Create content that evokes emotions, whether it’s through compelling storytelling, humor, or empathy.

In short, by striking an emotional chord, you can forge a deeper connection with your audience, making them more likely to remember and trust your brand.

Consistency across Channels

In an increasingly omnichannel world, maintaining consistency across all touchpoints is vital.

Your brand should convey a unified message and experience, regardless of whether customers interact with you through social media, your website, or offline channels. In other words, be the same ‘brand personality’ on every channel, all the time.

If you don’t have a style guide that underscores what your tone, voice, writing style, etc. looks like, start there.

Consistency builds familiarity and reinforces trust, ultimately boosting your brand’s reputation.

Go Beyond ‘Likeability’

The ‘Like, Know, Trust’ method is a powerful marketing strategy that can help businesses establish meaningful connections with their audience. But don’t stop at the ‘like’ — which is what most marketers do.

By focusing on likeability, familiarity, and trustworthiness, you/your brand can cultivate loyal customers who not only make repeat purchases but also become brand advocates.

To truly excel in leveraging this method, it’s crucial to go beyond the basics (ahem, likeability). It’s far better to be known and trusted than it is to be liked. Similarly, personalize your approach, tap into emotions, and ensure consistency across all channels.

By implementing these often overlooked aspects, you’ll position your brand as a leader in your industry and create a lasting impact on your target audience.

FAQs on the Like Know Trust’ Method

  1. What is the ‘Like Know Trust’ Method? The ‘Like Know Trust’ Method refers to a marketing strategy that emphasizes the importance of building relationships with customers in three phases: getting them to ‘Like’ you or your brand, ensuring they ‘Know’ you by sharing valuable content and interactions, and finally establishing ‘Trust’ through consistency and authenticity.
  2. Why is the ‘Like Know Trust’ Method essential in marketing? It’s a foundational principle in relationship marketing. Ultimately, by focusing on establishing a genuine connection with customers, marketers can foster loyalty, increase conversions, and create long-term relationships, making the sales process more organic and less forced.
  3. How does the ‘Like Know Trust’ Method help in building customer relationships? Most importantly, it breaks down the relationship-building process into actionable steps. First, by ensuring your audience likes your brand’s personality and values. Second, providing valuable content to make sure they know what you stand for. Finally, by proving your reliability to earn their trust, you create a solid foundation for lasting customer loyalty.
  4. Can the impact of the ‘Like Know Trust’ Method be measured? Definitely. To start, look at metrics such as engagement rates, customer testimonials, referral rates, and even sales conversions. These metrics can give insights into how well your brand has implemented this method.
  5. Are there specific platforms that best support the ‘Like Know Trust’ Method? While the core principles of this method can be applied across platforms, social media channels like Instagram work best. Additionally, Facebook, and LinkedIn are particularly effective due to their emphasis on content sharing, storytelling, and direct engagement with audiences.
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Brooke B. Sellas is an award-winning Customer Marketing Strategist and the CEO & Founder of B Squared Media. Her book, Conversations That Connect has been recognized nationally and is required reading for a Customer Experience class at NSU. Brooke's influence in digital marketing is not just about her accomplishments but also about her unwavering commitment to elevating the industry standard of digital customer experience and customer marketing.
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Category: Branding, Digital Marketing
Tags: automated customer service solutions, B Squared Media, brand authority, brand credibility, brand familiarity, Brooke B. Sellas, Brooke Sellas, Conversations That Connect, Conversations that Connect book, customer experience, hyper personalization, , , likeability, , , The Onion Theory, The Social Penetration Theory, thought leadership, transparency
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