Has the pandemic changed who UK audiences trust online?
Ipsos MORI’s 2020 veracity index shows that in comparison to 2019, we changed a little in who we trust to tell the truth. The unfortunate news for government ministers and politicians is that UK public trust in their profession remains relatively low at 16% and 15% respectively, despite – or perhaps because – of all the exposure they’ve received.
Ministers and politicians aren’t the only people we’ve come to see on television. Doctors and scientists regularly front announcements too – and that’s linked to trust. Doctors and scientists are high up on Ipsos MORI’s 2020 trust barometer – and they were in 2019 too.
Social media accounts from trusted voices really help to amplify key updates. An example of this is the announcement of the authorisation for the Oxford/AstraZeneca Vaccine. The message received much a much higher level of engagement when quote tweeted from the Chief Medical Officer, Chris Whitty, compared to the original from the NIHR account.
Today regulators at MHRA have approved the use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. Many thanks to NIHR-funded researchers from @UniofOxford and @AstraZeneca who developed the vaccine and all the volunteers taking part in trials https://t.co/lnRjgTOCnY#priorityCOVIDresearch pic.twitter.com/ny2BDjatAf
— NIHR Research (@NIHRresearch) December 30, 2020
This is good news, it significantly increases supply and flexibility of vaccines to combat COVID in the UK and internationally. Many thanks to the scientists, research funders (including NIHR), research clinical staff and above all the many volunteers who took part in the trials. https://t.co/QzF3aRzKIZ
— Professor Chris Whitty (@CMO_England) December 30, 2020
Nurses on social media
The most trusted profession in Britain is still nursing. Although it’s not just down to COVID-19: nurses were the most trusted profession in Ipsos MORI’s 2019 Veracity Index as well.
Research conducted by Edelman in April 2020 also shows that there is a strong public demand for expert voices, as people want to hear from the most trusted sources of information on the pandemic: doctors (80 per cent), scientists (79 per cent) and national health officials (71 per. cent).
This was also supported by The Open Knowledge Foundation’s study earlier this year, who found 64% of us are now more likely to listen expert advice from qualified scientists and researcher. So in short, medical professionals and scientists, unsurprisingly, are some of the most trusted voices in the UK.
What did change in 2020 is the arrival of new professionals who we trust. Home delivery drivers and care home workers featured in the 2020 results, ranking above 75% trustworthiness. Professional footballers appear at 30%, perhaps spurred on by Marcus Rashford’s campaign for school meals.
7️⃣0️⃣2️⃣7️⃣7️⃣3️⃣3️⃣ meals per week.
Distributed to the most vulnerable across the UK, thanks to your donations. It’s quite overwhelming. I don’t even think you realise just what difference this will make. I really can’t thank you all enough. Incredible.@FareShareUK
— Marcus Rashford MBE (@MarcusRashford) October 30, 2020
It will be interesting to see if our attitudes to trust will change again. We’ve come to rely on people who we might not have known much about before, such as our local Directors of Public Health. Various Directors of Public Health have used Twitter as a way of sharing local information with audiences, including:
Using video to explain lockdowns
What we can expect from lockdown 2.0 https://t.co/b3RbyJYnT6
— Natalia Clifford (@CliffordNatalia) November 2, 2020
Participating in live Q&A
Thanks for the interest and questions for tonight’s broadcast – I hope you found it useful. And thanks for everyone’s efforts in keeping infections as low as possible in the #dorset and #bcpcouncil areas https://t.co/VGVLzNLaM8
— Sam Crowe (@sam_crowe27) October 22, 2020
Information for local residents
Help protect your family and community. Asymptomatic rapid community test for Covid now available to all in our city centre 👇it's free and no need to book in advance. https://t.co/mKRmBLwEww
— liz gaulton (@GaultonLiz) December 15, 2020
In 2020 we witnessed how powerful digital channels can be, when messages are constantly evolving.
Social media is a direct and accessible way to reach a number of audiences, these channels require commitment to keep audiences informed. Building a following online and establishing rapport with an audience takes time – it’s not a task that can be done quickly overnight. Trusted voices need to be comfortable and confident when communicating with audiences online. This takes time and support from colleagues.
This is a core part of our work with communications and leadership teams. Because, as we’ve learned from the pandemic, we want to hear from authentic, trusted voices.
Trust data from Ipsos MORI Veracity Index 2020 – all professions
The 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer Spring Update: Trust and the Covid-19 Pandemic
Brits demand openness from government in tackling coronavirus, Open Knowledge Foundation