Five Things Your Brand Must Embrace for Social Media Success: Part 5

Transparency is important in social media efforts.

This week, I’m passing along the five things your brand or client must embrace to increase its chances of executing a successful social media strategy, based on Geoff Livingston’s book Now is Gone with my own take and additions.

1. Give Up Control of the Message (click here to read)
2. Participate Within the Communities (click here to read)
3. Stakeholders Who are Social Media Savvy (click here to read)
4. Dedicate the Resources (click here to read)
5. Ethics and Transparency

People want to participate within communities with people they can trust. That also applies to your company or the community relations managers who lead your social media efforts. Social media communities have little patience – if any – for unethical actions or smoke and mirrors.

Ethics Schmethics?
The first part of that equation is conducting your business in an ethical way. This isn’t about what you tell your audience. This is about how you operate as a company. Making mistakes is acceptable – depending on the mistake, of course – as long as you own them and make changes to lessen the chance of it happening again. Having a positive corporate reputation about the way you do business will help soften the beach for your social media effort.

Increased Transparency
Likewise, the social media community expects more transparency than you may be used to providing. The one-to-one relationships that these networks provide empower everyday consumers to ask direct questions and receive direct replies. You don’t have to give away total access to your business, but if you have a reputation for hiding issues, spinning facts and skirting responsibility, then you’re online outreach will most likely fail.

As Geoff says, “If your company has not traditionally been open in its dialogue with consumers, this should be a red flag for you. The company may not be new media ready.”

What’s missing from this series? What other important ideas should a brand embrace before planning and executing a social media strategy? What would you add to the list and why?

*Image by Scott Feldstein and used under the Creative Commons Attribution License.

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