Some interesting research, right at the bottom of this article, that social media is based on trust. Isn't everything?
We expect brands and the people who represent them, so the sales and marketing people, to have the same ideas and belief systems that we do.
If you sign up for a white paper, you don't expect to be interrupted by cold calls and unsolicited emails. The same if you connect with somebody on LinkedIn, it does not give that person a right to send you unsolicited messages, either on LinkedIn or via email. If I sign up for something and you start spamming me, you lost my trust.
My partner and I recently went into Gap to buy some jeans. My partner loves her Gap jeans. All Gap wanted her to do was to sign up to their email list (I understand they can send 2 emails a week, every week) or their app (to send notifications). This is just pushing my partner away from the brand.
I was aghast, recently where I watched a presentation from Sky (UK TV Station) where they proudly told everybody that even if you had ticked the box where they couldn't call you or email you, they would find you on social and bother you there. And companies wonder why consumers don't trust them.
The best way for brands to gain and keep trust with customers and prospective buyers is to have a conversation with them. A conversation isn't "buy my stuff", a conversation is a two way dialogue.
The best was to do this is to empower your people to authentically have conversations. This isn't using your employees to stuff social media with a corporate message. Empower your teams to blog, to talk and be present on social and your prospects, your future employees and your customers will trust you.
Use real human voices, not marketing language. Most social media is predicated on relationships and personal networks. Even on professional platforms like LinkedIn, social media users are usually more interested in personal interaction.