The Truth About Know-Like-Trust

Know. Like. Trust.

You’ve heard it before, right?

People buy from people they know, like, and trust.



How do you get known?

How do you get people to like you?

How do you earn their trust?


Those are Big Questions with long, complicated answers.

… or, are they?


I may be an audience of one, but I know I’m not alone in how I assess the people and brands I buy from. It’s not really all that complicated:


I get to know people by:

  • Reading their blogs
  • Sampling their social content – everything from Facebook and Twitter to Pinterest and Instagram to LinkedIn and Google+
  • Interacting with them on their blogs and social media (and, eventually via email, call, or video chat)
  • Checking out their body of work (products, cases studies, portfolio … whatever applies)
  • Looking at their associations with other people I know


I decide if I like them by asking myself:

  • Do their values align with mine?
  • Are they responsive when I reach out?
  • Are they generous with their time and knowledge?
  • Do they have a good sense of humor?
  • Do we have anything in common – hobbies, causes, pet peeves, lifestyle, etc.?


I decide if I can trust them based on:

  • Whether their actions are consistent with their words
  • How I see them treat other people
  • How other people talk about them



The bottom line is this: it all comes down to the old, writers’ adage: “Show. Don’t tell.”

You cannot tell people about yourself – they need to learn who you are by your actions. They need to form their own picture of you based on what you show, not what you say. If you say, “I’m an organic food guru” I may or may not believe you, but if you show me your incredible depth of knowledge and heartfelt passion through the information you share (blog posts, photos, curated articles, answering questions, etc.), I believe you immediately. I can see for myself that you are, in fact, an organic food guru. Each piece of content you create and share online is another piece of the puzzle that shows me who you are, what you do, what you care about, and so on.

You cannot make people like you – you can only put your best foot forward. You are not in control of how people judge you. (And, they will judge you.) Good rule of thumb: remember The Golden Rule. Think about the people you like. What traits make them likeable? Usually it’s not about them, it’s about how they make other people feel. It’s about how they listen, understand, and help. It’s about how they affect positive change for others – solving problems, providing answers, sharing insights, connecting people.

You cannot force people to trust you – trust must be earned. I may know you and like you, but do I trust you? Trust takes a relationship to a whole other level. Now it’s serious. Trust boils down to whether or not you consistently deliver what you promise. At a low level, this could be as simple as providing dependable content that always lives up to the hype. It might mean writing a story that exceeds expectations. Again, this is about actions, not words. Promises are worthless until they have been tested and kept.


At the end of the day, it all comes down to human relationships. The writer/reader relationship cannot be developed with a paint-by-numbers approach. There is no secret, failsafe formula you can follow to build a loyal audience. If you want to get people to know you, like you, and trust you, you’re going to have to do it the old-fashioned way. But, that’s only as it should be.

So, the next time you’re thinking about how to grow your audience and nurture reader relationships, ask yourself these questions:

How do you help people learn about who you are?

How do you put your best foot forward?

What do you do to merit trust?
Jamie Lee Wallace Hi. I’m Jamie. I am a content marketer and branding consultant, columnist, sometime feature writer, prolific blogger, and aspiring fiction writer. I’m a mom, a student of equestrian and aerial arts (not at the same time), and a nature lover. I believe in small kindnesses, daily chocolate, and happy endings. Join me each Saturday for the Weekend Edition (a fun post and great community of commenters on the writing life, random musings, writing tips, and good reads), or introduce yourself on Facebooktwitter, Instagram, or Pinterest. I don’t bite … usually.
This post was adapted from a piece originally published on

34 thoughts on “The Truth About Know-Like-Trust

  1. This is absolutely true for me as well. I’ll buy a more expensive product if I don’t know, like, and trust the brand of the cheaper one. I think the big companies are starting to realize this too. For instance, Walmart increased wages for many of its employees this year to earn good will.

    • Great point that it’s not just about what you say or sell, but about what you do – even outside of your business. The Internet (social media in particular) gives people great insight into who we really are. Makes it that much more important to be true to you.

      Thanks for the comment!

  2. Loved this.
    This holds good in every single area of our lives, whether it may be in relationships or about the customer satisfaction or the associations of new people in this scientifically connected wolrd through technology.
    Great one. Thank you.

    • Thanks so much. And, you’re right of course. This applies to life in so many ways – not just as a writer or a business, but as a human being. 🙂

  3. You make it sound so easy, haha! And I suppose in a way it really is pretty simple, but if you’ve never thought about how to get people to like you or notice you at all it might seem like a very difficult hurdle. This was very interesting, thank you for sharing 🙂 I agree with everything, especially the ‘are they responsive when I reach out’ part. I’ve been to so many blogs where the writers have everything between a couple of comments and near to a hundred comments, but they don’t reply to anything. It’s not easy to be liked or build a relationship if you never get back to people.

    • And here I am … getting back to your lovely comment SO late. It’s not an excuse, but my world (as reflected in my weekend edition posts) has been a bit topsy-turvy lately.

      Apart from letting crises and exhaustion keep me from doing so, I’m a die-hard when it comes to responding to reader comments. I believe that if you are going to invite comments, you should respond to them. Last year, many blogs (including several very well-known ones) removed the commenting feature all together. That’s one way to go, but I think that a big part of what makes blogging such a great medium is the chance to have conversations like this one. 🙂

      • Oh don’t worry about it, the world outside these screens comes first. I’m sorry to hear things got a bit topsy-turvy, I hope you’re okay.
        I agree, I usually invite reader comments and it wouldn’t feel right if I then didn’t respond to them. They don’t have to read my blog, much less come up with a comment, so it’s common decency if I then take the time to reply to them since they have made the time for me. I’ve seen some blogs which have removed the commenting feature, which actually makes me quite sad! I like commenting, especially when I’ve enjoyed an article.

  4. This rings so true, many time so use this in my own life but forget how important it is to use in my business as well. People will not buy you products if they don’t know like and trust you. Instead they’ll go to someone else that they have a relationship with.

    • It is about relationships, isn’t it?
      It’s funny that we expect to be treated differently as a business than we do as a human being when businesses are made up of human beings.

  5. It always amazes me when exactly what I need to read is written by someone — and I find it — just when I need it! I’ve been asking myself this question: If no one reads what I write, am I still a writer? If I answer honestly, I know I’d say I want people to read what l write. On the other hand, I keep writing (and tweeting and instagramming and responding and feeling grateful) and not many readers have bumped into me along their way. I hate the idea of promoting myself. Like really hate it. I’m not sure how to find other people, like me, who want readers, feedback, and writing friends. Your blog is a great place to begin. Thank you for your recent Twitter follow!

    • Synchronicity is the best. 😉

      Glad you’re finding what you need here & appreciate you stopping by to share.


  6. what comes to mind is earlier this year I was really putting a lot of energy into building my readership and a very well meaning friend gave me a lecture about not having enough pictures on my blog. That pictures got attention. So despite the fact that I hate blogs who do this, I put a funny picture in my blog that day. I had the lowest readers/views in months. I think it speaks to the need to be true to one’s own compass, whether it be moral or blog. (LOL) Being true attracts others who are interested in that compass and that’s really what I want. (what most people probably want.)

    • Yes to the “blog compass.” 🙂

      There is so much advice out there about blogging and content marketing. Worse, much of it is conflicting and/or confusing. I advise my clients to take everything they read with a grain of salt and always think it through in the context of their own situation, personality, vision, etc. There is no silver bullet, no one-size-fits-all solution. You have to make your own path your own way, and then – just like you said – you will be like a beacon to others who are looking for what you have to offer.

    • It is a time-consuming effort, Shana, no question. Luckily for me, I enjoy this part of what I do. Call me crazy! 😉

      TKS for coming by. Glad you liked the post.

    • Exactly. And respect, and understanding, and practicing the art of listening. All that.
      I know this is a rather bespoke way of going about it, but for me it’s important to connect on that level as much as I can. Plus, as I mentioned above, I enjoy the process, the conversations, and the relationships.

      Always nice to see you, Sara. 🙂

  7. What you mean is, invest time and thought in all your communications. I’m a writer of fiction, both short stories and novels with historical material. I often write strangers with questions. I’m amazed at the kindness that I’ve been shown by people in places I’ve never been to and whom I’ll never meet. The Internet can indeed be a power for good between people from all walks of life, from many different backgrounds, all around the world. Unfortunately, we mostly only hear of the misuse made of this wonderful means of dialogue. @henrytobias2646

    • Well said, Henry. And I love your example of the “Good Internet.” Strangers can be surprisingly kind and generous … and then – guess what?!? – they aren’t strangers anymore. 😉

      Thanks for the lovely add.

    • Thanks, Janet. I’m happy to hear you think so. I often wish I was funny, but mostly I’m funny by accident.

  8. Absolutely brilliant.

    When you know, like and trust someone, you are also willing to forgive them when they do disappoint you. Because they always work from a place of positive intention and love.


    • That is such a HUGE and important observation, Kitto.
      Yes – when you’ve earned respect and trust, you’ve also opened the door to patience and forgiveness … in business relationships as in personal ones. You must be careful not to abuse this leeway in either case, but I believe that there is a karmic balance at play. The more patience and understanding you give, the more you receive. 🙂

      Here’s to positive intention and love.

  9. Pingback: Friday Fun – I Have a Blog. Now What? | Live to Write – Write to Live

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s