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Transparency is crucial for businesses today. Consumers value brands that are trustworthy and honest, but it’s not always easy to express authenticity through a carefully constructed brand image.
If you want to find ways to be more open with your customers on social media, there are a lot of approaches to consider. To discover what works, we asked a panel of Young Entrepreneur Council members the following question:
Q. What is a less known but effective way to use social media to improve company transparency? Why does this approach work?
Here’s what they advise:
1. Openly Admit When You’re Wrong
Admitting mistakes is the best way to improve your business’ transparency on social media. Making a mistake and owning up to it humanizes a business. When businesses are willing to do this, consumers appreciate the honest, up-front approach. They will often be more understanding of mistakes instead of abandoning their relationships with the brand. – Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker
2. Answer Questions
Many companies want to build their thought leadership around their product or service but don’t want to take the tedious step of answering questions. This is an easy way to build that industry expertise and instant trust. Most customers don’t like to buy from a company without knowing what they can deliver. This is why answering questions is an indirect way to build that initial trust. – Sweta Patel, Silicon Valley Startup Marketing
3. Show Off What’s Working for You
I’ve seen this technique used in startups that want a good spread of content growth, attract funding, and cater to a B2B audience. Basically, show off and teach others about what’s working for your business. Social groups are a great platform for this as many people may be in a group dedicated to learning. So, go on, tell them how you got your first 500 or 50,000 users. – Nicole Munoz, Nicole Munoz Consulting
4. Pull Back the Curtain
Social media is too often a slick and stage-managed production. While social media is essential to building a brand, and a brand is artificial to some degree, customers enjoy seeing beneath the surface. Behind-the-scenes videos, webinars, and podcasts, promoted over social media, allow customers to get an authentic sense of the people behind the products. – Vik Patel, Future Hosting
5. Share Your Progress
Sharing your progress and growth as a company on social media is a great way to improve transparency. Customers want to know where you started and how you’re growing as a company, so share milestones with them on social media. Share company anniversaries and photos of new team members. If you’ve upgraded your office space, show that off, too. Your customers will be proud of your wins. – Blair Williams, MemberPress
6. Create Content and Give Credit
Creating content that teaches your audience something they did not know is a great way to build a following. The key to creating transparency here is to give credit where credit is due. If you write a “how-to” blog post and got inspiration from other sites, make sure to link to them and refer them in your article to build trust. – Jared Atchison, WPForms
7. Highlight the Team
I like to focus on our team members and what they bring to the table. By highlighting the people in the company, you make it more relatable and personable to those who may not know much about it. People tend to have a more favorable opinion of a collection of individuals, rather than a faceless corporation. – Justin Lefkovitch, Mirrored Media
8. Create Videos and Live Streams
Videos are a great way to show your audience how the company functions and what goes on behind the scenes. Think: videos introducing staff, explaining processes, or revealing new products. Showcasing unknown elements about the business increases transparency and allows people to connect more with your business. Take advantage of social network live stream options for more unedited transparency. – Peter Boyd, PaperStreet Web Design
9. Don’t Be So Serious
If you want to promote company transparency on social media, don’t be so serious all the time. If you’re all business all the time, your customers will never feel like they know who you are — and letting them get to know you is important to building trust. So show your personality off on social media and make them laugh once in a while. This lets customers see the human behind the company. – Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights
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.