I Trust You, Rand Fishkin

Trusting people on social media can be a tricky thing. In face-to-face conversations, it’s much easier to gauge a person’s trustworthiness than when they’re hiding behind a computer screen. Although I tend to trust too easily in life, it takes a special type of person to earn my trust on social media.

Rand Fishkin

If you were to poll everyone at the Internet marketing company I work for and ask them who they trust most on social media, they would be unanimous with their answer – Rand Fishkin. Rand is the founder of Moz, a Seattle-based company that sells inbound marketing and marketing analytics software subscriptions. And on top of that, he follows Steve Rayson’s proposed social media trust formula to a tee.

With that in mind, it’s time to evaluate his trustworthiness.

Social Media Trust Formula

A is for Authority – In the Internet marketing world, Moz is king when it comes to SEO. Being that we always want to stay on our toes when it comes to Google, Rand is the perfect person to follow on social media. Every Friday, he puts out a short, educational video on his website called “Whiteboard Friday” that touches on a new SEO topic. In it, he provides tips and best practices. His videos are funny, laid back and usually no more than 10-12 minutes long. In case you missed something he said in the video, but don’t have time to rewatch it, you can read the transcript right below the actual video. He also frequently blogs about current SEO issues on his website.

On his Facebook and Twitter, Rand is just as knowledgeable, often providing his fans and followers with the latest in SEO and Google. He currently has 10,779 likes on his Facebook business page and 226,000 followers on Twitter, so it seems that others have taken notice of his vast knowledge in the Internet marketing arena.

H is for Helpfulness – No matter how busy he seems to be, Rand always finds the time to be helpful. In addition to putting out a new “Whiteboard Friday” video each week to educate his followers, I’ve also seen him write back to people in the comments section of his site, respond to comments left on his Facebook posts and reply to his followers tweets. Up until January of last year, he was the CEO of Moz. How many CEOs have you seen that actually take the time to respond to user comments on their blog posts? I’d venture to say not many. While Rand could simply just say something along the lines of “Thank you for commenting,” he, instead, writes a detailed response that shows that he actually read the person’s comment. Additionally, Rand isn’t just partial to Moz.com. On his social media channels, you’ll see him promote information from all types of sites. As long as he finds a piece of information useful, he’ll share it, no matter where it originated.

I is for Intimacy – Rand doesn’t pretend to be perfect, which makes me respect him even more. Earlier this month, he wrote a blog post that really stood out to me called, “On Being Wrong and Not Knowing the Answer.” In it, Rand is not only intimate with his fans but also honest and sincere (genuine), which are two of the characteristics I believe a trustworthy person should possess.

“Not having answers is natural. Not having a certain type of experience or enough of that experience to make a smart-than-average guess is going to happen, even if you’re the most coveted, respected expert in your field. It’s what you DO when you don’t have that answer that separates the high-integrity experts from the rest of the pack.”

Just because Rand is an SEO guru, doesn’t mean he knows all or that he doesn’t need to seek advice from other trustworthy people. It’s nice to see someone be so intimate with his fans. If only other high-level executives could learn from Rand’s humility.

SP is for Self Promotion – Rand likes to share his experiences with others who could learn from them or might even be able to relate to them, but one thing he doesn’t like to do is make things all about him. In his most recent blog post, “The False Narratives We Tell Ourselves,” he explains that he’s not “sharing this for sympathy.” He’s sharing it because he thinks ” we all carry these false narratives with us.” In other words, if Rand feels that someone will be able to benefit from him sharing something about himself, he will. Otherwise, he’s very humble and low key.

From what I’ve come to know of Rand ever since my company encouraged that I follow him on Twitter, I’d say that his No. 1 priority is teaching people, be it through his blog, his Twitter or his Facebook. To Rand, gaining his followers’ trust validates what he’s doing.