You might think knowing the favorite food of the CMO of Google is the most useless information and you are probably wondering how this could possibly help grow your business. The fact is transparency help build a relationship with your audience and start establishing a certain level of trust and respect. The more your audience learns about you and your business, the more they feel like you two are "friends" (even if you've never met).
Here's an example: If I'm posting about a recent half marathon I ran and one of our audience members is also a runner, we automatically establish some common ground and build a small level of respect and trust. Additionally, this is a great way to help build your branding and make your company stand out from the competitions because the next time that audience member needs help, they will immediately think of the marathon runner. Over time this can lead to some really strong business relationships and ultimately help grow your business.
Transparency also helps show the humanistic side of your business. That it's not just about money and work, that there are real people with real lives, hobbies, families and interests making the "engine" run. It builds empathy and emotional ties based on commonly held attributes between the leader and their audience.
Now that we have established why it's important to have some level of transparency in your company, let's now go over some unique and fun ways to show your transparency to your customers.
Social Media is King:
Social media is the perfect vehicle to help display transparency in your business. The conversational, informal and open nature of social media sites allow for great sharing and interaction. Additionally, social media is a two way communicator which is perfect for interacting with your audience.
Leverage Your Smart Phone:
The technology of smart phones makes transparency easier than ever. You can now quickly snap photos and videos and post them online for your audience within seconds. Anytime you are on a business trip, working in the office, giving a speech, attending a conference, etc. these are perfect times to break out the smart phone and start posting some "behind the scenes" action.
Don't Only Post Business:
It's really easy as a business owner or marketer to only get wrapped up in posting business related content. However, it's critical when trying to open up transparency and develop that relationship to post about non-business related items. It's been recommended that a mix of 85% business, 15% personal be used in all content you post (blogs, emails, social media, etc).
Share photos from a family vacation, post about something exciting you did over the weekend or simply comment on sports or weather. Anything that people might be interested in that isn't related to your business is excellent to post.
I would recommend staying away from any political, religious or other controversial topics because it can open up a can of worms and have adverse effects on your relationship building.
Profile the People in Your Company:
No matter what your company is, you have amazing and interesting people working for you. Everyone has a unique story, experience or hobbies that should be shared. Make a weekly or monthly blog that highlights and details members of your organization. I would suggest including some type of video format in this blog because video does an amazing job of portraying personality in ways writing never could. Once written, make sure you supplement this content by posting and promoting it on social media channels.
Be Informal & Make it Easy:
There's a time and place to be formal and refined and a time to be informal and personal. With social media and the way media is being collected and disbursed, the general society is welcoming of informal and quick pieces of content. It's no longer important to have the perfect lighting for a photo or have amazing video quality. Simple posting interesting content that engages the user is all that matters.
Keep your posting simple, informal and easy so that it encourages you to continuously post lots of great content for your audience to see. The more you post, the more you engage.
Make it Conversational & Talk:
In any types of content you're posting, it's important to keep it open for comments and conversations. The internet is now a place of constant 2-way communication which really allows the business to engage and further connect with their audience. Participating in chats, comments or conversations will make the impact of your transparency greater and lead to more benefits.
These are just a few of the many different ways that you can show transparency to your audience. The key is to simply be open, honest and be yourself in everything you do and find ways to open the "window" between you and your audience. Remember, business is all about trust and relationships, so the more you can show who you are as a person and as a company, the greater of a relationship you will have and the more trust you will build.
If you have some unique ideas for how to increase your transparency that worked well for you, please post them in the comments below.