The Line of Transparency

Business will be Businesses.

We are now at a time when businesses are realizing the value of incorporating social media into their marketing plans. Hopefully, the reason the vast majority of businesses are doing this is to have a positive effect on business objectives.

In a capitalist society, businesses are around for one reason, to make money. Up to this point, it was pretty clear that with every action a business took, the reason was to make money. Whether it was running a TV commercial, partnering with a celebrity or sponsoring an event, the reason was clear. It wanted to run advertising to make money.

Enter social media, which has become more than a part of an advertising plan. It’s part of overall marketing. It’s done more than being part of a marketing. It’s changed the fundamentals of business as usual.

Being Transparent and Acting Human.

Source: Stock.XchngThe emergence of social media has led to an emergence of new values in how businesses interact with consumers. The concepts of “being transparent” and “being human” have entered the conversation. These concepts are direct contradictions to how businesses used to behave.

Businesses are around to make money, but being transparent isn’t always going to lead to increased sales, and tying sales to “being human” is incredibly difficult because there may not be a direct correlation. They may be difficult, and they may seem counter-intuitive. Still, the concepts have to be addressed and put into practice because they are undeniably best practices for brands engaging in the social space.

So in an age of open dialogue, changing consumer expectations and platforms driven by human interactions, what are brands to do?

There Has to Be a Limit.

Businesses used to resist transparency and behaving like humans for a reason. The intention was to protect their bottom lines. It’s impossible for brands to fully realize the concepts of transparency and being human.

In fact, it’s impossible for humans to fully realize the concepts of transparency and being human online.  Ironic, huh? The “over-sharers” (we all know at least one) out there who put way too much out there certainly aren’t engaging wisely.  They’re being too transparent and more human than we care to know. Others wisely share what is appropriate and filter out what isn’t worth sharing.

Maybe brands can’t be fully transparent or human, but they can embrace the behavior when and where appropriate.

What Is Your Limit?

Brands need to understand their individual company benefits. They need to understand how comfortable they are with being human and what “being human” means to the organization.

They also need to align on what level of transparency they’re prepared to practice because consumers will demand it. If brands aren’t aligned on what is okay and what isn’t okay to share, they’ll find themselves scrambling during times in which they really need to appear together.

Yes, there are limits to transparency and humanizing brands, but as brands align on what is okay and what isn’t, they’ll be much closer to engaging in both best practices.