The need for transparency



As any person who engages in social media knows, your reputation and success is basically measured in the equity that you’ve built up and the conversations that you’ve had across the plethora of social networks. With the interaction happening in a virtual world, a lot of stake is put in putting yourself out there and being as transparent as possible.

That same transparency holds true when businesses enter the state. They need to be ready to take the good with the bad while mixing customer service, real-time feedback and bond building with the soft-sell of their wares. However with brands it seems at times that they need to build trust in the community and show that they are ready to engage while also keeping up with their online reputation.

As a PR pro and practitioner of social media, I often find myself at the crossroads of being as open as I can for a publicly traded company and earning the trust of our customers and keeping them happy. The more interactions that I have on behalf of the company, the more the followers grow. The challenge that I face is coming back and tying the work to an overall ROI, but that is a conversation for another day.

Earlier today, Mashable ran a piece from Sharlyn Lauby from Internal Talent Management entitled 5 Ways to Make Your Business More Transparent that outlines steps that can help businesses as well as individuals looking to increase their social presence.

Perhaps the most useful section in the piece was on being timely:

Because social media is so immediate, you need to start or participate in conversations as they happen. Recently, a fairly high-profile Twitter user was in Miami for a business meeting. The meeting was extended and he needed to find a hotel for the night. He sent out a Tweet asking for hotel recommendations and got very limited response from local hotels. Since I live in the area, I retweeted it for him, and three days later a Miami hotel got in touch to ask how they could help me. Major FAIL.

If you are going to be a part of social media, then remember that timeliness can often mean the difference between success and failure.

Timeliness is also important when a crisis or controversy is occurring at your company, Weil told me that, “you can always blog and/or Twitter that you are aware of the situation, working on the problem and will get back to people as soon as possible.” That’s better than leaving people hanging to draw their own conclusions.

Click here for the full story.

In my corporate account, I try to respond to Tweets from customers within 30 minutes, an hour if I am in meetings, while retweeting messages from the following and passing along relevant stories every now and then. This has built some good will and saved customers who were on the verge of dropping off as a customer.

Is this something that you find yourself doing in your personal or business account? Or are there other methods that you find more effective?

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