Don Schindler

Digital Strategy & Executive Social Media Trainer

Can half a second on your website determine the trust of your brand?

judge your website in 50 milliseconds

Image courtesy of stockmonkeys.com

Our guts are pretty good indicators of trust. In fact, humans are hardwired to read a situation and come up with an impression in just 50 milliseconds. We get this “fight or flight” ability from our ancestors.

While not everything is a death threat, we use this ability without much thought to it.

So let’s talk about this “fight or flight” in reference to the internet.

When we are looking for a specific answer to a question, most of us trust Google (about 65% of searches start there) to deliver a website that will have the answer.

We scan the results quickly and decide to click on usually the first couple of links essentially our first impression.

Everything on the page (design, user interface, then content) will determine whether we believe what they say is true or we’ll bounce back to the results and click another link.

How you can adjust your website and online image to maximize your potential trust with a user was a SXSW workshop by psychologist and technologist, Vanessa Van Edwards.

Her workshop was called “Digital Body Language” and here’s what the description was:

digital-body-language

By the end of this blog post, you’ll know why this image looks this way.

“You have 0.05 seconds to make a good first impression online. In those 50 milliseconds you have to hook someone and convey your brand messaging, encourage clicks and build trust. Most important, this happens before a user reads any of your content, headlines or descriptions. You have to capture their attention with your website’s nonverbal cues or your digital body language.

Whether you run a business, work for a corporate brand or just want to better understand online human psychology this workshop is for you.

As a human behavior hacker, I’m going to show participants how to use the latest groundbreaking research to optimize advertisements, websites, social media profiles, online videos, print materials and emails. We will cover a wide array of online human behavior science such as:

*Using eye patterns to know how a user consumes your content.
*Using images congruent with your branding.
*The science of color psychology on customers and readers, and applying it to your brand’s online presence. Simple changes to your website like colors, text on buttons, people images, etc… can have a dramatic impact on its ability to convert customers and leave the best impression – in only 50 milliseconds.”

Her goals for the workshop were pretty simple.

  1. Be aware of what’s influencing YOU
  2. Take control of your cues.
  3. Supercharge your non-verbal branding.

Here are my notes from the class.

Vanessa Van Edwards has based her career on science-based application of 2400+ human behavior studies.

When people first meet you, they are sizing you up with many determining factors much like they do online digital presence.

These non-verbal cues are 12-13 times more powerful than the accompanying content.

So in other words, if you have all these awesome accomplishments on your LinkedIn profile but you have a bad head shot – the head shot will be more effective at trashing your reputation. I’ll give you points from her class on how to improve your head shots down below.

You must make sure your first impression does everything to build your trust indicators, your personal brand values, your credibility and your memorability so people will feel confident in making a decision in selecting you and your company.

Now what makes up your digital impression?

First, you do a Google search.

When people type in your name, what comes up?

Remember to logout of Google or use a different computer than what you normally use because search engines hold on to results so the results will be based on your history not what’s currently available.

Now what pops up?

Your websites, your images, your videos, etc…

don-schindler-google-search

Search changes all the time.

All of these should leave a good impression of you – we’ll discuss more of how these images will look below.

Let’s dig into the links.

If your first link is your company website, there might be little you can do to control the environment that surrounds your head shot and biography.

But maybe you can. You can send this link to your website designer and they can make sure they have incorporated some of these tactics on your website.

When it comes to a digital presence of your company, the first impression is made by your website. On it, users will find your logo, the colors and fonts, photos and/or video, user interface like search box and navigation.

This is what users expect and if things are missing or in unusual places, this will question the credibility of your website – even before they read a bit of content.

So how do you know if your website is trusted?

There are several different ways to measure the effectiveness of your website and I recommend that you have goals set up in your Google Analytics to do this.

But if you don’t have them set up, you can go into your analytics and check out if users are clicking on the right links, if the Bounce Rate is too high (I like to stay lower than 50%) and Time on Page is to low (more than 2:30 minutes would be great).

Users should be clicking on your Call-to-Action – if you don’t have one then I honestly don’t know why you have a website. Most Call-To-Actions I set up are Buy Buttons or Sign-Up for Email buttons. Goals are based on the Thank You Purchase Page or the Thank You for Signing Up Page.

There are also some tools like trymyUI.com that can help you get feedback on what people think of your website.

And don’t get me wrong – text on the page is very, very important but it’s usually what people look at last after they quickly scanned the page for signs of trust like testimonials or third party logos.

Make sure the text you have is positive as this can lead to prime people to believe what they see on your page – negativity breeds mistrust of others but will affect your brand.

Now once they’ve decided to look over the page, what are some important elements that people will focus on?

People’s faces.

Yep, our brains are wired to look for the human face and then the patterns on the face (even when you physically can’t recall seeing the face you will have an impression about it).

Once we have recognized a face, we will quickly analyze their expression to see if they are friend or foe. And since we all study human faces all the time, we can easily pick out what they are feeling. In fact, there are a few expressions that are involuntary that we pick up right away and they can help or hurt your website’s credibility.

Vanessa went over three common expressions that influence trust and they are:

  • Contempt – a smirk or raised angle smile will cause mistrust.
  • Happiness – an honest smile will have crows feet in the eyes. Fake smiles don’t and can help just as much as contempt.
  • Fear – if the user sees the upper whites of eyes (even if the face is smiling, it will seemed forced).

contempt-twitter

Check out the pictures on your website of people. Get rid of the fake stock photos and put in some genuine happy faces.

Next is the gaze.

Vanessa wanted us to know that there are particular ways that people look at other people as well as looking at websites so there are multiple ways you need to take gaze into account.

First is how people look at your website.

They use an F-pattern as first discovered by Jakob Nielsen in 2006 and it still works today.

People scan the site, looking for normal patterns.

Logo, navigation, search box, social then down the page to images and content, then they quickly scroll down the page.

Your crucial information should be placed within this pattern to make sure it is found. Many times I see Call-To-Action buttons or boxes at the very bottom of the page or in an unusual spot. It’s ok to be unusual if you are going to draw attention to the button with color or an image.

But there’s another gaze that we pay attention to.

The gaze of the people on the website.

You can direct people to different places on the website by simply aiming the gaze of the person on the page. People will automatically look in the direction of the person on the page – make sure your call to action is in that gaze.

Another great way to make a good digital impression is to have video on the page or within your search results.

Video is powerful communication vehicle and people tend to watch videos more than anything else online (notice the growing popularity of Facebook videos and YouTube).

But to have a good video that can earn you trust, you must pay attention to the psychological best practices.

Van Edwards just released a great study on the best and worst TED talks. They analyzed over thousands of hours of TED talks to find out the commonalities of these speakers and have come up with some remarkable studies.

Going back to our gut reaction, we decide within the first seven seconds whether we trust the subject of the video. Seven seconds.

If you don’t get them to trust you in the first seven seconds, you won’t get them to trust you the entire talk.

So what are the best practices of the best TED talks?

  • Hands – the study found that the use of your hands in a presentation determined success and trust. 465 > 272 best to worst. If you talk with your hands in videos, then keep doing it. If you don’t, you need to start using them. Things to do with your hands are pointing out growth, counting numbers (1, 2, 3) and personal passion (touch your heart).
  • Vocal Variety – You have to change your tone. Let it flow with your emotion and definitely change your cadence to keep the audience engaged. They never know where you are going next.
  • Smile – Add jokes, tell stories you can smile at even if the topic is serious and use that smile. The best speakers smiled 36.25 sec vs. 9.15 sec of the worst ones.

From her blog post – you can also add Enthusiasm (people liked speakers even with the sound off – so gestures and constant movement), and not using scripts (makes people too stiff and like they don’t know what they are talking about – politicians should take note).

Next let’s talk color.

Now if you are like me, you might have picked the color of your logo or your website based on your favorite colors. But remember you are trying to make an impression on someone so colors and font choices mean a great deal to the user – not just what you like.

Research reveals people base between 62-90% of their assessment on color alone.

So what do certain colors mean to the user?

  • Blue – loyalty, stability, tranquil
  • Red – passion, aggression, sex, metabolism
  • yellow – happy, optimism, youth
  • green – healing, success, hope
  • Black – power, mystery, professional
  • Purple – royalty, spirit, luxury
  • Brown – stable, natural, reliability
  • Orange – energy, fun, warmth
  • White – purity, cleanliness, innocence
  • Gray – neutral, practical, quiet

twitter-color-wheel

What you need to do is limit or eliminate off brand colors, confusing color cues, or purposeless colors. Everything is intentional whether you mean to do it or not.

Wow, are we ever going to get to the content on the page. Yep, now we are.

When it comes to the content, people are going to be looking for authenticity cues. That you are who you say you are.

Now how do you do this?

Authenticity comes from personal stories embedded within your profession information. The “WHY” you do what you do is just as important as they stuff you do. It needs to match up.

But you need to make sure you are eliminating grammar errors (tough for me), spelling errors (even worse) and anything vague that could be a lie so be specific.

You can add social proof to build trust with testimonials, reviews and certifications as well as recognized logos.

Then she spoke about confidence cues.

She said that when we meet someone new we are always sizing them up.

It’s our Alpha thought – are they awesome or am I?

Power body language (body position) has a halo effect – use more space and you will effect more than just you.

If you want people to think you have more confidence then use your body language in ways that are expansive. You are staking claim over territory, keep your head high, arms wide, shoulders back, chest open. The more space you use, the higher people perceive your confidence.

People perceive low confidence as your body is contracted, less space, the more your head is down or bowed and shoulders rolled. Hey, do you know what we look like when we are looking at our phones. You got it – low confidence.

Again, how do we take this to your website and your online presence?

Let’s talk about your head shots – a good headshot according to Vanessa was one that is viewed from below, aim your torso and toes toward the person and eyes gazing at the camera – you will look more trustworthy, open-minded and sympathetic.

If you need to look helpless and get sympathy, be viewed from above and don’t meet the gaze of the camera.

She did a great job in explaining how cereal boxes do this to kids (and adults) with their branding and mascots.

twitter screen shot

Finally, Vanessa spoke about capturing attention.

She spoke about a spectrum of attraction that users are on when they visit your website or online presence.

When you have too much or too little, you can really hamper people from making decisions.

Sounds and animations (like gifs and auto start videos) can grab attention, but too much and they annoy or distract people from the surrounding content.

Too few or too many choices will also cause a user to pause when making a decision.

There’s always an issue with dropping too many links in an article. You have to find the right balance so you should always be testing.

They did find out what kind of things and buttons people like clicking on. Start Here, Entry Level Products, Freeiums, etc…

We started to run out of time toward the end but I’m telling you it was one of the better workshops I attended at SXSW and I was very impressed with amount of information.

It’s not “If You’ll Be Disrupted”, it’s “When You’ll Be Disrupted” – Crowd Companies at SXSW 2015

you-wont-have-a-brand

Customers don’t care about your brand if you don’t care about them.

The quote above came out of a private session with Edelman and Crowd Companies and I thought it was very appropriate to the food industry.

Many things are changing with our customers.

Are you keeping up with the changes or just wishing things would go back to what they were before?

My grandpa used to say “You can wish in one hand and spit in the other, which do you think will fill up first?” Well, it might be a little different than that but this is the G version.

Anyway, Crowd Companies with Jeremiah Owyang (you should follow him) pulled together a great lineup to speak about disruptions in their industry and how they were handling them.

Whole Foods spoke about their relationship with Instacart. – for those of you that don’t know Instacart deliveries groceries to you in an hour. Instacart was also featured in American Foods 2.0 (another session I attended).

WF was noticing more and more Instacart employees in their stores getting groceries.

This could have been seen as highly disruptive to Whole Foods – I mean, their stores are meant to attract people and keep people inside to enjoy their shopping and sampling experience (this is why they spend a lot of time on educating their employees on customer service) and clearly Instacart is taking away the customer experience.

Instead of kicking them out and banning them from the stores, Whole Foods met with Instacart and figured out how they could work together. How could they make the Instacart/Whole Foods experience like going to Whole Foods.

So they started experimenting with things like they have set up remote registers so Instacart can easily ring things up as well as putting refrigerator units near the doors so Instacart people can get things quickly and efficiently. They worked on integrating their customer service people so Instacart could answer food questions like Whole Foods does. How smart is that?

One of the speakers said, “How can we figure out how to disrupt ourselves before someone else does?

That’s important as you look at the image above with gallon jugs in the refrigerator section. The dairy industry is ripe for disruption in all aspects of farming, production, packaging and experience.

That’s why I think the Common Voice network (if you want to know more about Common Voice, just email me) along with many of our new initiatives are important to the industry overall. Common Voice brings up these kinds of questions and we work together as an entire industry to figure out solutions.

You have to anticipate where the customer is going and meet them there with the products they want at the time they want it.

The gallon jug? It’s still useful in bulk capacity for some customers but there’s a lot of other ways people could get milk or a milk beverage. But right now, there are tons of other choices and few are milk based.

Hallmark was also there presenting and they spoke of the new maker movement – where people create speciality items and sell them online for special occasions.

Instead of ignoring this new movement of creators, Hallmark embraced them and showcased their goods right alongside the standard Hallmark fare as well as brought in these artists to teach others how to make these speciality goods.

They didn’t have to do this – they could fight the good fight and keep wishing that their past customers would come back and fill the stores wanting the exact same experience in identical stores – but they did and it’s successful at getting people back in the stores.

This showcases Hallmark as an organizer of hard to find handmade goods for special occasions not just “dustables” as they referred to them. Love that term by the way.

Next up was Verizon and they spoke about their special projects in helping the auto industry use their technology to turn car ownership into car rental-ship by using their mobile devices. This from a telecom?

 

Finally, I’ll finish with Jeremiah’s Crowd Companies Disruption chart. He’s charting out companies that are disrupting industries and could possibly end up becoming the newest leaders in our new economy – the sharing economy.

 

crowdcompany-honeycomb-ver2-0

Courtesy of Jeremiah Owyang and Crowd Companies

What do you think?

And if you think that disruption isn’t really a thing – that’s it’s still too new – consider that I used Lyft instead of traditional taxis almost the entire time I was at SXSW to get around. I was more comfortable having a stranger pick me up in their car vs. waiting on cab.

Why?

Because I love the technology. It’s shows me the driver and his car, the ratings, it tracks where they are on their way to get you, and I don’t have to use cash or credit card. And they were faster. They changed my habits and I’m happy for it.

Is ag ready for this disruption?

I think we should be thinking about how to disrupt ourselves before someone else comes along and does it. Get involved with Common Voice. It’s the smart disruptive thing to do.

Want a 13% Increase In Sales? Boost Your Word of Mouth Marketing Efforts – SXSW 2015

wom-image

Great session at SXSW 2015

Another session I attended at SXSW 2015 was the landmark study of the Return on Word of Mouth (you can get the study by filling out their form) by the Word of Mouth Marketing Association.

Yes, I know this is what they do and, of course, the study was probably pushing towards a good return but I was impressed with the results and the fact they used some major companies to prove their point.

Here are the five points from the Return on Word of Mouth Study.

Word of Mouth has a 13% increase in sales.

We always knew that WOM increases sales but we really didn’t know by how much. A 13% increase is nothing to sneeze at.

Paid marketing on the other hand account for 20% in sales.

Paid marketing is everything you are doing internally – even the stuff to get your Word of Mouth going. But then consumers take care of the rest. So 27% of your sales can be attributed to paid and WOM.

Word of Mouth amplifies the effect of paid media by 15%.

The good thing here is that if you want a boost to your paid marketing you need to incorporate social media. It’s worth the time and effort considering how much you would need to pay paid efforts to get that boost.

When you break down WOM into offline and online (and most WOM is offline – estimates are around 90%), online accounts for 1/3 of the boost to sales.

That’s a great statistic for online Word of Mouth especially when it’s only 10% of overall WOM.

Finally, WOM has an immediate effect.

A common myth of word of mouth marketing is that it takes forever for you to see the effects but this study shows that WOM after two weeks of exposure to a product, offline word of mouth has 65-80% of total impact while TV ads have only a 30-60% of total impact for the same time.

So what does this mean for the dairy industry?

When it comes to product marketing, you need to be tying all paid marketing with social media to get the boost you need.

For instance, instead of laying out my traditional buys for product marketing first, I would look at how I could drive word of mouth both online and offline and then use traditional marketing/advertising to drive awareness to the word of mouth campaigns.

Normally, we use in store samples. How about instead of thinking about in-store samples, we use online store samples – can we ship to customer’s homes and then ask them to share their experience online via social networks?

Can we use our TV advertising to drive people to online sign-ups to get the product to test?

Or maybe we decide to do the in store sample. Then if they like it, we offer them the whole product if we can get them to take their picture with the product and post it online? Or write a favorable review of the experience on our website?

Traditional advertising and paid marketing is a necessity but when combined with the interaction of social, we can drive some serious ROI.

And here’s a cool infographic they put together for it.

return-on-WOM-study-2015

You are wrong 50% of the time or what I learned at SXSW’s “What Marketers Can Learn From Political Campaigns”

blue-state-digital-obama-results

These are some impressive results from the 2008 presidential campaign.

On my first day at SXSW, I attended “What Marketers Can Learn From Political Campaigns”.

I was thrilled to hear Rich Mintz talk again – I first met Rich at Notre Dame when he came to speak with us about Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. Rich went over how they used their digital programs to build a very energized and active community of advocates in a short period of time and then used this community to get the president elected.

Now I don’t know where you fall in politics and frankly I really don’t care. You can check out my social media posts if you want but I never really discuss politics. To me, we get it from both parties way too much but that’s about as far I get with politics.

When it comes to how a campaign community was built and then used to activate people – I’m all in. And Blue State Digital is one of the best at doing this.

Here’s what they said the panel would be about and they didn’t disappoint.

“From the emergence of mass media via Television, political campaigns have used the medium with great effect to build belief in their candidates. From Eisenhower’s patriotic “I like Ike” campaign, to LBJ’s “Daisy Girl” commercial, campaigns used the broad appeal of television to create belief.
Today, technology has democratized conversations and put power into the hands of real people—emphasis on real.

What can Madison Avenue learn from this transformation?

In this panel, we’ll discuss how brands and marketers can adopt the road-tested tactics of successful political campaigns, including smart data segmentation, rapid response, emotional storytelling, and influencer engagement. By moving supporters up the ladder of engagement and asking them to take more and more meaningful actions on behalf of the things they care about, brands can create a community of advocates prepared to act on their behalf anytime, anywhere.
Presented By Team Detroit.”

Here’s who was on the panel. You should definitely think about following these smart people.

David Murphy – President Team Detroit
Michelle Mullineaux – VP of Marketing, Blue State Digital
Peter Bouchard – Director of Media, Civis Analytics
Rich Mintz – Executive VP, Blue State Digital

tweet-blue-state-digital

Here are my key takeaways from the panel that could help the dairy industry as it works to build advocates via their farmers, industry professionals and our wonderful customers.

1. You need to have the big data captured with the proper tools then turned into smart data to be able to adjust with the speed of campaign.

In order words, you need to make sure you have the proper infrastructure in place. Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Email, Social Media, Advocacy specific tools all connected together then tie this to your listening and analytics tools so the big data turns into smart data.

This is a big change for the industry who has traditionally allowed other partners within the industry (mainly retailers and some processors) to have those trusted relationships with customers. We need to be connecting directly and engaging as well.

Because with data today, everything is knowable and the data and analytics of it can create a culture of curiosity in an organization.

2. SPEED and OPPORTUNITY are everything to a campaign.

Continue reading

What to do when a friend turns into a troll

mom-internet

She said she was going to tell your dad!

A friend of mine asked me what I would do when they came across someone hating on social media (not hating social media but being mean to someone online).

First, I hate that crap. There’s really no reason to not be decent to everyone. Even if they are being mean to you, take the high road or just laugh it off. Nothing upsets a troll more than if you just don’t care.

But I wanted to give my friend some practical advice.

So what do you do when you come across someone going off on another person online.

1. First thing first. Remember that you are not the decency police on the Internet. Unfortunately this type of thing happens and you can’t control the actions of others. If you insert yourself into the conversation in a you-can’t-do-that tone, you’ll likely get both of the people upset with you.

2. If you have a relationship with the person spewing the hatred, then feel free to reach out as a friend privately and speak to them about how others might see their attack or hate post. Is this something you want others to think when they think of you?

3. If you don’t know the person, check for a friend in common then you might want to ask them (not point it out) about the post in question. Something like “wow, I’ve never seen them post like this. Are they ok?”

4. If the attacks are personal and getting heated to the point where it could turn into something violent, then don’t hesitate to report the issue to the social network. But I see this as only a last resort.

Hope this helps.

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