We’re human—we want others to be honest, authentic, and transparent. When we know someone lies often, ignores questions or makes decisions to withhold information, we’re less likely to trust that person. The same holds true for businesses. Because of the abundance of fake news, data breaches, and recent scandals—transparency carries significant weight.
According to a study done by Sprout Social, 86% of people said that transparency from businesses is more important than ever before. Transparency builds trust—and trust builds relationships. If you can’t build either, it’ll be hard for your business to perform at its full potential.
This shift in expectations among users presents new challenges and opportunities. In a lot of ways, this change continues to push companies to reinterpret what transparency looks like and how they can show it. Instead of being a faceless brand with no personality, people are beginning to create content and conversation that relates to their audience on a more personal level.
We keep talking about how important transparency is—but how can your brand meet the new demand for it through social media? To avoid falling behind, it’s important to follow these tips to focus on transparency and incorporate it into your strategy.
Keep it authentic
One of the best ways to sell your product or service is by selling yourself and your business. Show off the faces of your company, humanize your brand, avoid robot-like talk, and get personal to build a stronger relationship with your audience.
Focus a part of your efforts on sharing the people that make up your business. Office photos, team outings, special milestones like birthdays and anniversaries, and behind the scenes looks are all great ways to show that your business consists of real people.
Avoid blurring the line between who you are and who you’re not, especially on social media. It won’t take long for your audience to realize that the image you’re upholding doesn’t accurately reflect your business. You know your business and what it stands for, so show them.
Withholding information, ignoring customer questions and ignoring employee questions are the top three actions that users say demonstrate a lack of transparency. Avoid these mistakes by making it a point to respond to all questions, comments, and concerns on your social pages.
One way you could stay transparent is by holding regular Facebook Live Q&A sessions to answer any questions that your audience might have. This method opens up the door of communication and makes your brand more human. Giving your audience the opportunity to educate themselves will lead to a better understanding of your business.
Admit your mistakes
When something happens that could damage the reputation of your business, it might be tempting to sweep it under the rug and pretend it didn’t happen. Believe it or not, the cover-up method can actually cause more harm than good.
Sprout found that 89% of people said a business can regain their trust if it admits to a mistake and is transparent about the steps it will take to resolve the issue. Our guess is that number is much lower for companies who make the decision to keep things from their audience.
Owning up to your mistakes makes your business more human. By doing so, you’re showing your audience that you’re willing to admit your failures for the sake of others.
Few people believe brands are already transparent on social, so what do you have to lose? Make transparency a normal practice on social media and you’ll begin to build stronger relationships with your audience. Looking for more tips to use towards your social strategy? Check out these five trends you should watch for in 2019.