You may be asking yourself, “why is being transparent important to organizations in social media?” This is an excellent question — something that all companies need to take into consideration. First, we need to define “what is business transparency?”
Ask.com defines what is business transparency as:
” Business transparency is the openness, communication and accountability. It is the full, accurate and disclosure of information in good time. Transparency makes it more likely that business assets will be accurately valued.”
When we first started this week’s module we learned about social media etiquette, the meaning and importance of interactivity and engagement, and their different levels. We also learned about brand storytelling, the 90/9/1 rule and, my personal favorite, transparency! Transparency is an excellent way for companies to build and gain the trust of their customers. I also believe that if a company and/or brand is being transparent they are encouraging engagement with their customers in one way or another because it, too, is another key ingredient in building relationships with customers. When a company has successfully adopted transparency, engagement should naturally follow; earning the trust and loyalty of their customers. And what does a loyal customer who feels appreciated do??? Three words: word of mouth. They are going to go running off to their friends and families and spread the word about this amazing company and/or brand that is not only engaging with their customers but is honest and true to their word.
Mashable made a post by Sharlyn Lauby on 5 Ways to Make Your Business more Transparent that I thought was extremely insightful and an interesting read. There is one point that Sharlyn talked about that I’m going to discuss with you guys because it made me stop and think… “she’s totally right, that makes so much sense to me; how come I didn’t think of that!”
1) Don’t fake it – Talk about what you know
A great example of this is when lawyers are calling an expert witness to the stand. As we all know from watching TV series like “Law and Order”, “Boston Legal” and my personal favorite “Suits”, an expert witness will provide an opinion with respect to the facts of a case which will help the judge and jury reach a conclusion. So say for example your case is regarding a murder, you don’t want your expert witness’ back ground to be in agriculture if you need their testimony to be related to bone fractures because they likely aren’t going to be able to provide an accurate statement. You want an expert that can provide the judge and jury an expert opinion on the injuries that the victim sustained during the crime.
The same goes for any businesses using social media. If you want to enhance your company and/or brand you need to stick to what you know and be truthful and honest with your customers. You have to remember that your customers are listening to what you are saying so businesses need to take ownership of their messaging. Also, when business’ stick to what they know they’ll be able to engage with their customers with 100% certainty that the information they are providing is accurate.
We’ve talked about being transparent and how it’s important for business’ to be open and honest with their customers but it’s also true that they need to extend that same courtesy to their employees and share holders. Business’ don’t need to share every little aspect of the business but they do need to stop and think what would their customers want and need to know, would this information be of any value to them, and would it enhance your relationship with them. If the answer is yes, then those are the things that companies should be disclosing.