Social media has become an essential tool for modern businesses, and most brands now have a pretty good handle on posting content and responding to customer messages. But like many things in this digital landscape, social media is constantly evolving, and companies are always finding new and improved ways to use it.
One of the best ways brands can use social media is to give their followers an inside look at their philosophy, culture, and operations. Thirteen members of Young Entrepreneur Council offered some unique ways to increase transparency with your social audience.
Name one less-commonly known way that brands can use social media to increase transparency with their audience/consumers.
#1 Do Live Stream Videos
Facebook, YouTube, and several other platforms allow users to live stream video. Companies can take advantage of live streaming to give customers an insight into the way their company works and put a human face on the business by letting customers peep behind the curtain. – Justin Blanchard, ServerMania Inc.
#2 Respond to Negative Comments and Reviews—But Do So Intelligently
Barring trolling and nut jobs, leave negative comments intact. Apologize, address them and seek to fix them. The strongest opposition can become your most loyal customers. Often, the real issue is not with the product or service itself but the experience they got or what they felt. – Philip Michael, New York Equity Group (NYEG)
#3 Host ‘Ask Me Anythings’ with a Thought Leader/Influencer
This year I conducted over 100 personal AMA’s answering questions from people through Facebook and also discussing some personal reflections on topics in my industry. Celebrities, CEOs, and company thought leaders generally get great engagement out of their customers by talking directly to them, answering questions related to their industry and providing insight into personal and company news. – Kristopher Jones, LSEO.com
#4 Share Memes—But Do It Right
Attempting to brute-force the spread of an original meme tied directly to your company is a bad idea and will only further alienate people on social media. Instead, sharing funny memes—with proper attribution—is a great way to both increase your presence and demonstrate a more transparent humanity. After all, everyone loves memes! – Bryce Welker, CPA Exam Guy
#5 Create Polls on Instagram Stories
Instagram Stories allows you to create polls and receive feedback from your followers. You can create polls about the kind of content your followers would like to see and then deliver that content to them. This small, less-common trick helps create more transparency by making your Instagram profile more interactive. – Syed Balkhi, OptinMonster
#6 Create a Company Web Series
The television show The Office was a hit. That’s because many of us can relate to it. Almost every organization has their own version of the show. By recording a mini web series, you’re providing a type of transparency that not every business is willing to do. In the world of reality television, oddly, this is definitely a less common way to increase transparency with consumers. – Codie Sanchez, www.CodieSanchez.com
#7 Respond to All Facebook Messages
At my company, we diligently respond to any messages sent through our Facebook page. This has led to us landing new clients and helped us service existing ones. For our customers, knowing there’s an actual human on the other side of the screen has been a real boon to our authenticity and transparency. – Thomas Smale, FE International
#8 Don’t Try to Be Perfect
Social media is full of perfectly crafted Insta-shots. Everyone looks perfect on social media and everyone’s life is amazing. Break through this trend by doing something different: be real. Customers will appreciate that you do not conform to the status quo, that you are individual and that you are just like them. Don’t Photoshop every image you post—be yourself and show your flaws. – Diego Orjuela, Cables & Sensors
#9 Share Opinionated Original Content
One thing that we’re doing more of lately is creating content pieces that we call roundtables. These pieces take an opinion on a news topic or recent trend from interested parties around our office, and we assemble those opinions in a long-form content piece. This helps share multiple thoughts and perspectives all in one place, and we’ve found that very helpful in conveying transparency. – Kevin Yamazaki, Sidebench
#10 Give Away Free Information
We give away work on social media that others would charge for. This shows your company’s skill level and market awareness, and makes the reader wonder what else you might know if you are willing to give away such good information for free. Since implementing this approach, we have connected and signed contracts with a number of new clients that we would have never been connected to otherwise. – Mark Grignon, Kognitiv, Inc.
#11 Post Video Testimonials and Demonstrations
Videos are a surefire way to get clicks on your social media posting and can even boost revenue. Having an authentic testimonial will demonstrate the authenticity of a product or service. Including a testimonial and/or video demonstration that is captioned will definitely attract the attention of potential customers who often mute their volume. – Kate Hancock, OC Facial Care Center
#12 Leverage Your Team’s Personal Brands
It’s great when brands connect with customers. It’s better when people connect with other people. Identify team members whose personal brands appropriately align with the company’s values and mission. Then lean on these folks as brand ambassadors. Authenticity is key online, so your team members will be best equipped to provide an honest look into what your brand is about on a personal level. – Ryan Wilson, FiveFifty
#13 Prove You Stand Behind Your Values
Whatever your company stands behind, prove it. If your business stands by sustainability, post stories and videos of how your company is doing its part to support this mission. By letting customers and visitors into your world, you are keeping them engaged. This gives you a chance to boost brand loyalty and provides a level of trust to your consumers by showing you practice what you preach. – Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker
These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. YEC has also launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.