Is Your Business Taking the "Social" Out of Social Media?

In today's marketplace, customers expect to engage with brands and get a glimpse of its organizational culture. Some organizations post product and service driven content in their effort to focus on sales. The social equity of your organization is about the value of relationships both inside and out of your brand.

"Social media sites are highly personal and conversational . . . consumers who use these sites do not want to hear sales pitches . . . Source: Gallup 2014

By isolating your online platforms to only your products/services is a missed opportunity to engage with your customers, not to mention, job candidates would like to see what it would be like to work there.

More than two-thirds (67 percent) of employers believe retention rates would be higher if candidates had a clearer picture of what to expect about working at the company before taking the job. Source: Harris Interactive Survey 2014

Some organizations are still afraid of social media transparency. This does not mean you have to tell what's in your "secret sauce." It means being open to engagement and your customers are interested on how you do your business. The buying patterns of millennials (78 percent) would choose to spend money on a experience over buying something and 55 percent of millennials say they are spending more on events and live experiences than ever before. Source: Eventbright

Be part of the conversation and don't ignore it. Respond quickly and show your customers you care. For example, I had a client who only wanted to show their products and thought posting pictures of office birthdays was too personal. How are your customers supposed to feel included in this brand experience if you leave all those fun moments out? It is ok to show how well the team gets along and how they are celebrated at work. For example, if your organization hires Millennials they are always learning, collaborating, achievement-oriented, socially conscious and highly educated. They are looking for more than a paycheck. They expect businesses to share special moments as extension of your brand experience. It humanizes your organization in a way to build emotional connections and key associations.

Five few tips to help organizations to communicate their social transparency:

1. Showcase positive examples of how the brand works with producers to create your product or service. For example, Target formed design partnerships to fulfill its brand promise of "expect more pay less." From Michael Graves to Sonia Kashuk they offer a product their customers can only get at Target. There's value in that private label that drives a high quality product experience that aligns with the Target brand.

2. Highlight key employees and share their human side.

3. Show how your staff cares about your customer relationships.

4. If you make a mistake don't avoid it, discuss it.

5. Share behind the scenes content to educate all of the work it takes to provide your service or product.

By adding more transparency to your social efforts it can actually improve your organization's reputation, create a stronger brand, drive loyalty to ultimately result in an increase in ROI for years to come.