Social Media Transparency Guidelines

Transparency in a Social Media World: Can You See Me Now?

Social media transparency is like cleaning your windows. While you want to open the shades to let the sunlight in and show your home off to its advantage, you don’t want your neighbors to see your mess or leave your valuables in plain site where they could be stolen. The same holds for your social media marketing interactions.

Here are eights guidelines to achieve social media transparency.

  1. Listen to the social media conversation. As you learned in school, you have two ears and one mouth and should use them in those proportions. Don’t jump in to the conversation just to broadcast your latest marketing promotion. When engaging in social media discussions, your goal should be to take note of what your prospects, customers and the public are saying about your firm, products and brands.
  2. Don’t go incognito on social media platforms. Understand that social media participants trust you and take you at your word.  Realize that given the level of social media participation, someone will eventually find you out. If you want to find out more before your dive into the conversation, lurk without engaging.
  3. Participate in a human voice. Check your corporate speak at the door. On social media platforms, act and sound like a real person. While your company’s social media representative doesn’t have to be the CEO, this person should have senior support.
  4. Remain ethical in your social media interactions. Know what you can and can’t discuss regarding your firm and its transactions. Being transparent doesn’t mean telling the world everything you know. Also, be sure of your facts and don’t jump to conclusions; it’s okay to say that you don’t know something. To these ends, its useful to have social media guidelines.
  5. Use good old-fashioned manners. Show other participants respect. Appreciate the time that they’re taking to engage with you on this interactive platform. Be polite and avoid foul language. In written communications, use good grammar. (Remember this reflects on your brand and business!) This doesn’t mean that you have to be overly formal.
  6. Be responsive to others. Reply to questions that are put to you and acknowledge other participants. Even a simple, “Hi how are you doing today” goes a long way. Remember that social media platforms enable one-to-one, one-to-many and many-to-many communications.
  7. Play well with others on social media. Don’t pick fights with your competitors, the media or the public.  Don’t go on rants because no one wants to listen to your angry complaints. No matter how good your products are, remember no one likes a bully.
  8. Don’t over-share. Even your mother doesn’t want to know everything you’re thinking or doing. Consider how much more provocative a long sleeve blouse that’s unbuttoned an extra button is compared to a skimpy tank top.

In the social media ecosystem, people trust people who listen, are respectful and are responsive. While a few facts about your personal life make you human and provide the basis for building trusted connections, bear in mind that more people are listening than the vocal few with whom you’re interacting. Consider that every social media contact doesn’t need to know your entire life story. Whether you’re representing yourself or a firm, remember that the Internet is forever. What may seem useful to say in the heat of the moment will become part of a permanent record.

Is there anything else that you’d add to this list of social media transparency guidelines? If so, please include them in the comment section below.

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen


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Photo credit: Sashapo via Flickr

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