A guest post by my colleague, Dave Landry
Thanks to social media, the nameless, faceless company is a thing of the past. Consumers want to see the people behind the product — the human face on the other side of the customer service line. They want authenticity. They want transparency.
According to The Guardian, “authenticity is the quality of being genuine, and ultimately of being trusted. Transparency is the quality of making something easily accessible.
Transparency gets your brand attention; authenticity allows your message to be heard and believed.” One of the best ways to show your brands transparency on social media is with Twitter.
Twitter, the 140-character micro-blogging site, is no longer the weird new tech thing it once was. It has matured over the past few years into one of the most effective and interesting modern platforms . Not only does Twitter allow its users to engage one another, it also allows users to congregate around shared interests.
Twitter, for its part, appears to be attempting to embrace transparency. Earlier this year it released its fifth Transparency Report, a bi-annual update that aims to “provide more meaningful and constructive insight into the global government and copyright requests they receive, and their respective impact”.
Now that we agree on the approach and the platform, here are four suggestions on how you can market your brand’s message on Twitter with the power of transparency.
1. Personalize Your Profile
First impressions matter, even more so now in the digital age, which is precisely why your Twitter profile page serves as the perfect opportunity to properly present your brand. Thanks to the platform’s new features, including bigger profile pictures, header images, and avatars, brands can really make their Twitter page stand out from the rest. The more information you’re able to offer your followers, the more inclined they will be to trust your brand.
2. Share Your Challenges
For any professional, especially one that must juggle the responsibilities of managing a home, a family and a career, transparency – about the challenges involved – is key to developing authentic relationships on social media.
Twitter, and social networks in general, is a place where like-minded people gravitate to one another. If your followers feel that they can relate to the person behind the brand, they are more likely to support your business.
The Honest Company, co-founded by Hollywood actress, wife, mother and now entrepreneur, Jessica Alba, creates a suite of non-toxic, safe, clean products for parents. It is reported that Mrs. Alba first came up with idea when she was pregnant with her daughter, Honor, and realized how difficult it was for her to find such products.
There isn’t much room for error when you have the word “honest” in your company name. Thus, when another Twitter user began tweeting with handle “The Honest Baby”, Ms. Alba and company, in attempt to avert future confusion, legally requested that the user cease and desist. The company also used the lawsuit as an opportunity to promote its transparency and dedicated a website to the legal matter.
In an era of social media and transparency, where no organization is able to hide its head in the sand, it’s important to have the right people on your side (and at the right time) to help set the record straight when things go awry. Consider encouraging your employees from all departments engage in social media. Despite the fact that 20% of large corporations have disciplined their employees for violating social media policies, as it turns out, your employees can be your brand’s strongest advocates.
4. Use Twitter Tools
It can be a bit tricky figuring out what information your followers are most interested in. Luckily, there are several desktop and mobile apps aimed to help you track, schedule and get the most out of your Tweets, such as Hootsuite.
Hootsuite helps alleviate some of the stress involved with operating an engaging Twitter account. Among its many features, probably the most important one in regards to transparency is HootSuite’s ability to allow you to create tabs and streams so you can socially listen to the conversations that are happening about your company and brand. Engaging these conversations when necessary is key to building transparency.
These four suggestions will have you well one your way to becoming a glass house on Twitter. Never before has it been possible to have such personal relationships with your consumers. Start making the most of it today.