Every modern business uses social media to reach its audience. But using social media today goes far beyond simply touting what your company does or offers. The brands with the most successful digital presence use social media to improve brand communication and transparency with its stakeholders and customers.
Not sure where to begin? To find out what works best, we asked a panel of Young Entrepreneur Council members the following:
What is one way brands can use social media to increase transparency? Why does this approach work so well?
1. Create Blooper Reels
Everyone loves a good blooper reel, so if you have some fun outtakes from any videos that you’ve already shot, it could be fun to actually present that on your social media. It’s also a nice way to humanize your staff and brand a bit more and bring some realness back into it. – Nicole Munoz, Nicole Munoz Consulting, Inc.
2. Offer Sneak Peeks
Brands are always creating new products or content on their website. You can use this as an opportunity to increase your online transparency. For example, if you’re releasing a new product line, you can post photos of the prototype with the labels removed. This will allow customers to get a sneak peek behind the scenes, and build trust with your business. – Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights
3. Share Content From Your Audience
Showcasing stories and content directly from your customers can tell people a lot about your business. You’re giving your audience peer-made content that has no agenda behind it. Testimonials, reviews and blog posts are all great sources for customer content that builds trust. Try to get your customer’s approval to share their experiences on social media and you’ll create more transparency. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner
4. Add Authors
We’ve seen great success with having authors under our social media posts, instead of just seeing them posted “by the business.” Whether it’s Shirley from customer service, Frank the founder or Rob from marketing, we get better traction on posts with authors. People seem to relate to it more and it also creates a lot more engagement, especially as your fans get to know the team. – Karl Kangur, Artbove House
5. Tell Humanized Customer Stories
To increase transparency on social media, make your business profile or your company profile more human. Share a story of how a consumer connected with your product or service beyond its functionality, or about that obstacle you faced in your company and how you were able to overcome it. We forget that behind a screen there’s also a human, like us, with dreams and challenges. Connect with them. – Alfredo Atanacio, Uassist.ME
6. Converse With Customers
The more active and engaged you are on social media, the more of a response and attention you’ll be able to spark. Customers love when brands communicate with them, especially on social media where they’re active. Use this to your advantage by encouraging interactions and responding to customers who reach out. It increases your transparency and makes you more approachable. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms
7. Answer Questions Honestly
Customers use social media to speak to brands about how much they love their products, to ask questions and bring up concerns. You can use that as an opportunity to increase your brand’s transparency, which includes its honesty, openness, and clarity. When you’re active with users on social media, it humanizes your brand and makes you more approachable as well. – Jared Atchison, WPForms
8. Introduce Your Team
You don’t have to include people’s social media handles, but create posts that have photos and names for your employees, as well as what they do. Putting a face to the people who make products makes a brand feel transparent, especially for growing businesses that have a small ecosystem. Let employees share stories that align with your company values and let them talk with interested customers. – Patrick Barnhill, Specialist ID, Inc.
9. Chat on Stories and Live Video
One of the best ways that companies can use social media to humanize brands is to be honest and genuine. Chat openly with your followers via Instagram Stories and Facebook Live and give your followers an exclusive look at how your company does things — whether it’s your office, a photoshoot or some other intimate aspect of your business. – Kristin Kimberly Marquet, Marquet Media, LLC
10. Host Webinars and Live Q&A Sessions
Live webinars and Q&A sessions by company executives can be truly inspirational both within the organization and externally. This format is a lot more personal, building trust and credibility internally and bridging the pre-sales gaps for prospects! – Mario Peshev, DevriX
11. Move the Support Department to Social
Creating a public-facing support department on social media, usually Twitter, helps bring transparency to the brand. If you can discuss your “issues” and how you resolve them publicly, then potential clients or prospects know that the company is honest, transparent and has nothing to hide about their product or service. – Jeff Keenan, LeadsRx
12. Have Employee Takeover Days
A fun way to increase transparency is to have a different employee take over your social media account every week. This lets your audience meet new team members while experiencing their personalities based on how they opt to run the accounts. This may sound risky, but I find that it humanizes your business and makes the content fun for people to follow. – Rana Gujral, Behavioral Signals
13. Post Interactive Content
Use social media to share product demonstrations and testimonials from customers. Interactive content is more likely to pull in an audience, and when the content is from a real customer they will be thrilled to be featured, feel like a contributor to your cause, and share it with their community as well. This is an easy way to broaden your reach and engage more deeply with current customers. – Matthew Podolsky, Florida Law Advisers, P.A.
14. Show the Face Behind the Product or Service
Social media can show everything, including behind the scenes. It doesn’t matter what type of product or service you offer, you can highlight the work you put into it. For example, you can use your Stories to show how products are created and the people behind the creation. You can even produce longer videos for IGTV. This helps your brand be transparent and honest with your audience. – Chelsea Rivera, Honest Paws
These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year, and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.