Social Media Transparency = Customers

Bethany Sterzer

August 9, 2013

I once went out with a guy that refused to tell me his last name. Not only his last name, but his age, anything about his family, and where he worked. It will come as no surprise that I was disconcerted by his lack of transparency and that the word creepy popped into my mind several times throughout the date. Needless to say, I quickly discovered I wasn’t interested, and a relationship was never formed.

It wasn’t too long ago that Chipotle admitted to faking a hacked Twitter account, having sent the strange, obscure, and ambiguous tweets themselves as a ploy to get attention. You’ve probably heard something about it. If not, here are the tweets they sent and later admitted to tweeting themselves:

Social Media Transparency - Chipotle

While they may have succeeded in getting some press and a slew of followers on the day of the fake hack, I argue that they are no better at forming relationships than my creepy date. And here’s why:

  1.  Social Media = Sincerity We expect commercials to inflate the truth. We expect be schmoozed by a sales guy. But generally, we expect a certain amount of sincerity when it comes to social media. This includes the personal connections we have, as well as the companies we follow.
  2. Sincerity = Transparency  If a company is truly going to be sincere on social media, they need to be transparent. Own up to mistakes. Connect to their audience. Be real. This goes way further on social media than a sales pitch.
  3. Transparency = Trust  When you are transparent, even when you make a mistake, you build trust. When a consumer knows you aren’t going to try to dupe them or mislead them, they feel comfortable in interacting with you.
  4. Trust = Customers When that trust is established, your online audience will purchase from you. They will not only purchase, but evangelize your brand because they believe what you say.

If you want that type of relationship with your customers, don’t violate their trust. Live by the rules of social media and connect with them in a way that makes them feel like you have their best interests at heart. Because no one wants to be creeped out by a bad date, er, I mean a bad social media stunt.