I was recently in Oman helping a local regulatory body set up their first foray into social. Over the course of three days we worked together to get their Facebook page up and running, draw up a social media policy and some posting guidelines for their Facebook page. We also made sure that each one of the team had posted a comment onto their Facebook page by the end of the workshop.

What I found fascinating was that I knew they could set up their Facebook page without me. This got me thinking about what my value to them was? And my answer probably hasn’t changed since I first got into social a few years ago. The value I offered was not that I knew which buttons to click, or how you could add an image, or remove or edit a post if you needed to. My value to them was whatever they wanted it to be. And that ‘value’, that ‘whatever they wanted it to be’, resided in the fact that I was a safety net for them, a trusted adviser, someone whose hand they could hold, someone who was simply there when they needed it.

But how do you quantify that? How do you get someone to pay for trust? How do you get someone to understand that they aren’t really paying you for your time to set up a Facebook page, but for trust? The Facebook page becomes a proxy for that trust. I can quantify my time to set up a Facebook page, to create a social media policy or posting guidelines. I can put a cost against these things. But who would be willing to pay for trust? And yet that is exactly what you are really paying for…