Now that social media has been around for a while and so many people are using it for business, it is quite apparent that it has a tremendous amount of power if used in an appropriate manner. Transparency is key.
The people who connect with you professionally are interacting with you in some way through your online presence on a very regular basis. They speak about your products and services to others, they ask you questions, they go to Facebook and seek out people who love your company as much as they do, and they find out through Twitter about the opinions of their followers regarding your products and/or services before they make a final decision about buying from you.
With the revolution of the Internet, businesses have less control over how their brand is being presented than when they paid for traditional advertising. With traditional advertising, they could portray their brand and offerings in any way that they wished. Nowadays, the business owners have less control because anyone can write whatever they wish about a company's products and services. They can post messages on forums and message boards and they are unbiased because they have absolutely no connection to the business about which they are writing. There is no ability to hide at this point.
The intelligent business owners, recognizing that the Internet is here to stay, and if anything, will keep getting stronger and stronger, are embracing the changes that are happening and are adjusting their approach to include online activity. One of the great things about the Internet and social media is that it allows customers to really form relationships with the business owners and the people who work for them. It also allows them to get to know what goes on with the products and services behind the scenes. The transparency really makes the business owners shine. People want to know what is going on before they will give any consideration to buying anything from anybody. In fact, businesses should take the opportunity to learn more about what their customers want and need and then they can focus their business efforts in a more pointed direction toward their customers.
If a company pays a market research firm to find out what their customers want and need, they will pay a great deal of money for those results. An easier, and many times more effective, manner is for them to interact with their customers directly and really listen to what they are saying and feeling. The information is invaluable and it doesn't cost anything. Another benefit to this approach is that the business owners are building relationships with their customers at the same time and there are also building their own reputations and boosting their exposure online. Your interactions with one customer will benefit your relationship with all of your customers because they will all be privy to your discussions and they will understand that all of their best interests are at the top of your priority list.
The awesome power of transparency
Transparency is an extremely powerful tool. It has the power to change the face of your company totally. It is very important that you embrace it and do everything in your power to leverage it the best way that you can for your business. People always appreciate open, honest, business dealings and they will be far more interested in giving you business if you are sincere in the way that you come across.
The days of holding everything close to the vest and keeping well-guarded secrets on the part of the business owners are a thing of the past. The Internet has forced transparency to be an essential part of how business is conducted. If you are transparent and you make people understand that you are very serious about wanting feedback from them, they will trust you and want to engage with you. As a business owner, you have only one choice. That is to deal with people openly and honestly. If you don't, the results will not be successful.