Community Management

Transparency is Key when Addressing Problems on Social Media

The currency of transparency adds emormouns value to a brand’s public image and improves customer loyalty.

Transparency in business is more than a buzzword. It has become the new standard of business-as-usual. Without transparency, a business risks being branded as unethical, unjust, or even bioget. Transparency is the standard that everyone from CEOs to company social media accounts are being held to. 

With transparency across operations, businesses build trust with both employees and customers, enjoying improved brand reputation to drive growth. How can your company demonstrate transparency when addressing problems? Read on!

What is Transparency?

Transparency in social media and in business stems from the term for personal relationships. Someone who is transparent is open, honest, and accountable. They have nothing to hide. 

In the business context, transparency can refer to open financial disclosures, open meetings, external audits, and other measures to ensure ethical and just business practices. It also encompasses regular communication with employees and response to feedback for workplace improvements. 

In the context of social media, the term transparency relies more heavily on the open and honest qualities of personal relationships. This can include disclosing partnerships or paid promotions, but also involves building a sense of personal relationship with your business community. This is especially important when there are problems or criticism in everything from faulty or inferior quality products to poor customer service or management complaints. 

How to Address Problems with Transparency

Addressing problems with transparency on social media is much like addressing problems in real life: say sorry and don’t push. Don’t try to hide the problem, negate it, or avoid it. Acknowledge the mistake and try to make it better. While this is simple, as seen by many company’s disastrous social media responses, sometimes this is easier said than done. 

5 Keys to Transparently Address Problems:

  1. Apologize and acknowledge the customer’s feelings. If someone leaves a negative comment, review, or complains about product quality, the first step is an honest and authentic apology. “I’m so sorry you don’t like our product” puts the blame on the customer. Try “I’m so sorry our product didn’t meet your expectations.” or “I’m so sorry the product (fill in the blank here)…is broken, isn’t working, fell apart, arrived late, etc.”
  1. Offer a solution. In the case of a product complaint, this can be a refund, replacement, repair, or other timely solution. In the case of negative comments or misinformation, offer to help. Make it something of value. Showing customers you care are the best marketing dollars a company can spend. 
  1. Address the specific concerns. If the comment says that your company is harming the environment, state facts that back your stance and then offer to do something more. This can be sending the customer the full report, donating an additional $5 to an important cause or something else concrete to show you care. 
  1. Followup. Make a point to reach out to customers with complaints again after some time and see if the issue was resolved. Find a way to make this friendly and natural, not like the standard, “tell us how we did” emails we are all inundated with these days. Make it reflect your company in design, layout, and wording. In case it is a discussion in a social media comments section, make sure the follow up is public. 
  1. Show Action. If your company receives regular criticism for specific business practices, products, or even actions of senior leadership, address them. Share your plan to improve and then demonstrate how your company is willing to change. Action speaks louder than words, and action also demonstrates transparency effectively. 
  1. Speak Up about issues and causes. State company values, mission, and vision loudly across social media platforms. Make a habit of doing this when your company benefits from positive public perception, and speak up even more when there are problems or negative perceptions. 

The key to addressing problems on social media is to start building trust before the problems arise. Use your company’s social media platform to build an authentic, original voice. That voice is your transparent company voice which conveys authenticity and trustworthiness, making it easier to address problems on social media. 

Transparency Equals Trust

Social media is a powerful way to connect with customers and build a community. The currency of transparency adds emormouns value to a brand’s public image and improves customer loyalty. 

Transparency starts from the company foundation. Transparent business practices, a workplace, and happy employees are the first step. Trust, communication, and openness within the company will convey these same values on social media. 

To effectively address problems on social media, demonstrate transparency and authenticity across social media platforms. This is most effective not only in addressing problems, but in all social media interactions. Build a community on trust and transparency, and they will become your company’s greatest advocates. 

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