Want to build trust, be transparent

By: Cole Buergi, Sr. Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc.

There aren’t many rules when it comes to social media. People can pretty much say whatever they want, whenever they want. Sometimes comments spark heated debates and, at other times, what you might consider to be a comment that would start a vigorous debate, goes unnoticed.

But one thing almost every social media user agrees on is being transparent with your comments. A misstep in this forum, purposeful or not, will almost assuredly create serious backlash against you and whatever item, activity or business your promoting.

What does it mean to be transparent? It means acknowledging that you have a personal stake, directly or indirectly, in what you’re promoting on social media.

A positive example of transparency I recently saw on Facebook was that of a well known and respected Green Bay area TV news anchor who promoted that an area store was having a sale. She also noted in her post that the store was owned by her husband. That’s a great example of showing transparency and she received positive responses from her friends including me.

I’ve also witnessed other scenarios on social media where someone had posted a glowing review about a service or product only to find out later that the person posting the comment didn’t acknowledge that it was a client of theirs. I felt my trust was betrayed and so did many others judging by the number of people calling that person out on the carpet for not acknowledging the client relationship.

If you plan to promote a product or service and you have a client relationship or personal stake in that product or service, be forthright and mention it. Doing so will strengthen your relationship with the people that feel you have something important enough to say that they chose to want to read about it.

Have you ever felt misled by a social media review? What did you do about it?