By Chris Christoff, co-founder of MonsterInsights, the leading WordPress plug-in for Google Analytics.

Have you ever tried to form a friendship with someone you don't trust? Odds are, the answer is no. As a general rule, people don't spend time around people who they deem to be untrustworthy

Trust and relationship building are things that we focus on in our lives every day. But the same rule about not associating with people you don't trust extends beyond personal interactions. If consumers think a brand participates in shady activities or is simply not transparent, sales and user engagement will fall fast. 

There's no better place to build trust as a business than social media. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube are the perfect places to get to know your target audience and build a consumer-oriented business model. 

Let's explore several ways you can use your social media accounts to build trust with new and existing customers. 

Practice Social Listening

Social listening is the process of observing what users are saying about your brand on different platforms. Monitoring these conversations is vital to understanding what you're doing right while working on your areas of opportunity. 

Let's say you check your social mentions and see that most customers are complaining about your slow checkout process. You can take this information and assume that if these many people are having issues, there's room for improvement with your design. 

Now you can go back to the drawing board and work on improving the way your checkout page works. A couple of simple tweaks can dramatically improve your speed, and you can use social listening to see if customers are responding to the change. 

Understanding where your followers are coming from and changing their sentiment about your company can help build trust while giving you a competitive edge. 

Keep a Consistent Brand Voice

Consistency is another crucial element required to build trust with your audience. Consumers expect companies to keep a consistent voice across their website and all social media channels. 

Imagine creating social accounts and having totally different personalities on each profile. You wouldn't appear as one company working in unison. Instead, it would appear that there were multiple people behind the scenes who were simply not on the same page. 

These inconsistencies could cause people to second-guess their decision to follow your company, visit your website, and buy your products. 

Establish your brand personality as early as possible, and keep it consistent when engaging with customers, sharing new content and interacting with other companies on social media. When customers notice that you have the same voice throughout your channels, they will see you as a trusted brand that they can turn to if they have questions regarding your industry or products. 

Follow Through On Your Promises

The last topic we are going to discuss today is keeping your promises. Much like you would expect a friend to keep their word, consumers expect this same behavior from brands on social media. 

If you make a promise to share new content three days a week, make sure you keep your word. Trust is often something that grows over time. If you tell the people following your channel what to expect, they will check in to see if you've delivered. 

Imagine following a company because they said they would listen to feedback and make changes to their product. You participate in all of the polls and surveys and can clearly see the most requested features. After weeks of waiting, the business never bothers to mention the polls -- or their results. Would you continue trusting that brand? 

Now imagine the same situation, but the business communicated the changes and gave a timeline for their release. It's clear that the team is keeping their promise and honestly wants to improve experiences for their users. The result of this interaction is more consumer trust. 

Back To You

There are many ways to build trust with your audience on social media. It's important to remember that you'll have to regularly check your profile, engage with customers and share new content if you want to see positive results from your social media marketing campaign

When you do all of these things and make sure to meet customers' expectations, you'll see positive results in sales, traffic and user engagement. It's worth noting that building trust takes time, but losing trust takes one poor decision. Pay attention to what you're saying and doing across all platforms to ensure that you're delivering an unmatched customer experience founded on trust.