How Do You Gain Trust in 280 Characters or Less?

Person using a social media marketing concept on mobile phone with notification icons of like, message, comment and star above smartphone screen.
(Image Source)

It resonated with me in reading this week’s module that a strategic element for gaining new followers is to craft posts that are approachable and trustworthy, in order to be authentic to your audience. This had me questioning; “how can I curate more authentic content so I will come across as more trusting to increase my following?” And how the heck do you do that in 280 characters or less? In theory, this seems like a relatively easy concept; in practice not so much.

Am I posting content regularly? Check

Am I engaging with people who interact with my account? Check

Am I using reels, and GIFS and video to try to be more engaging? Check

Am I seen as an authority in my field? (I post on behalf of a hospital) Check

So if I’m doing these things and my followers are still sitting at 0.008% of my potential audience pool what am I doing wrong? How can I get more out of this amazing marketing tool? How can I build trust in my platforms and grow my reach? Here are four strategic concepts that I discovered that might help answer these questions.

1. The 80/20 Rule

According to an article written by Social Post, follow the 80/20 rule.

“80% of your content should be informative and non-promotional, while the other 20% can talk about your brand or product.”

As an advertiser, this goes against my nature and seems like a wasted opportunity to promote. but I get it. So let’s try it.

Key Take Away: Posting credible content that is of benefit to your audience makes you seem less spammy when you do post call to actions.

2. Utilize Social Media Management Tools

One of the main points I keep coming across to build trust, is posting thoughtful content regularly. The solution? Manage your social media channels using a free social media scheduler like Hootsuite.

(Image Source Hootsuite Via Youtube)

Well, the truth is, that is really time consuming, and not always realistic. If you posted on your four most common channels, as I do (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn) once a day, every day (excluding weekends); and it takes you 30 mins to craft each post, that’s 10 hours a week! That’s more than an entire day of your work week dedicated to social media marketing. That’s not including engagement, research, following and liking other people, posting informational content that isn’t promoting your business.

Using Hootsuite is essentially like having a personal assistant for your social media. It takes the work out of posting. You can link all your accounts, schedule posts months in advance and the algorithm will recommend what time of day to post based on engagement levels. Most importantly, it tracks your social media analytics in one spot so you can access downloadable reports to compare what posts are preforming and how your channels compare to each other.  Once I understand my data, I can replicate what is engagement my current audience and rinse and repeat.  

Key Take Away:  Make posting regular content super easy by utilizing a free third party social media manager site like Hootsuite. If I data mine to get current followers to engage more with my content, then they will share it. In my mind, a share is just as good as word of mouth advertising.

3. Create a Link Post Instead

In an interesting article by Kevin Lee, via our module two course reading, Facebook conducted a study citing

“When sharing content on Facebook, the choice is often between sharing as a link and sharing as a photo. It would seem the best results will come from links.”

So what does that look like? The second photo is an example of a post that I would create for work. I am guilty of thinking this is the norm. But, it seems in order to be seen as more credible (and therefore more trustworthy and authentic) link posting is the way to go.

A screen shot of a linked post on facebook
A screenshot of a Facebook post showing a graphic and a block of text with a call to action.
(Image Source Angela Endicott)

Key Take Away: Don’t always post an image, video or GIF and then write some block text that includes a link to my call to action. When possible post the article to our website first and then share it.

4. Don’t Overuse Hashtags

There isn’t much about the hashtag I actually understand. According to our module two course material,

“A hashtag allows you to include your tweet as part of a larger discussion…, or for [you] to create a discussion about [your] campaign exclusively.”

I’ve seen posts that include a dozen or more hashtags. This seems excessive. Me being no real expert on the matter, who am I to judge. Research via data from TrackMaven, shows that with Twitter,

“a sharp drop in engagement for tweets using anymore than two tags.” Further they found that “ hashtags with 18 characters perform best on Twitter.”

Likewise on Facebook, “one is the optimal hashtag use with character length up to 20 performing well.“

Key Take Away: Anything more than this comes across as spammy and therefore not worth engaging with.

Facebook Post

Twitter Post

Is anyone already using any of these strategies? Comment below if any of these have worked for you or if you might consider trying them the next time you post.


Adaask. (Photographer). February 18, 2022. White hashtag sign symbol on red speech bubble stock photo (digital image). Retrieved July 15, 2022 from

Bamrung, Chatree. (Photographer). Social Media [digital image]. Retrieved July 15, 2022 from

Bokij, Alexandra (July 4, 2022) Module 2- Content Writing for Social Media and Web. (Lecture Notes). Retrieved July 11, 2022 from

Hootsuite (January 19, 2022). How to Use Hootsuite | An Overview of the Hootsuite Dashboard. Retrieved July 15, 2022 form

Hutchinson, Andrew (Oct 21, 2016 ). New Report Looks at Optimal Hashtag Use of Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Retrieved July 15, 2022 from

Lee, Kevan  Anatomy of a Perfect Facebook Post: Exactly What to Post to Get Better Results. Retrieved July 14, 2022 from

McGrath,Louisa 10 Surefire Ways to Build Trust on Social Media. Retrieved July 13, 2022 from

5 thoughts on “How Do You Gain Trust in 280 Characters or Less?

  1. Hello Angela,

    I love how you’ve added key takeaways, quotes, and media to support/emphasize each strategic concept! You’ve clearly done your research and I appreciate how you’ve incorporated your personal experience into your post. 🙂

    To answer your question, if I were to manage a social media account, then I would certainly consider trying the four strategies you’ve identified.

    Thank you for your informative post!


    • Thanks for commenting Laura 🙂
      I chose the topic because it was something I was genuinely interested in as well. I have not put into practice most of these concepts as well, (except for Hootsuite. I use that daily, and it is a game changer) So I will be adding these to my tool kit and will report back on if they make a difference.

  2. Wonderful blog! It really resonated with me as I have struggled with this on my business account. You want to find followers organically, avoiding “cold following” anyone and everyone you can, but it isn’t always easy or fast enough for me.

    I struggle with posting as regularly as recommended, because if clients find my presence too overbearing, I believe they’re more likely to unfollow. Such a fine line to be found!

    • Thank you for your insight Hayley! I agree and I think I have just found my next blog topic thanks to you. Maybe magnifying that fine line might be beneficial to me, you and others.

  3. Pingback: Meta- A Must Have in your Social Media Toolbox – Algonquin College Social Media Certificate Program

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