In just a few years, social media completely revolutionized the business-customer relationship. No longer are businesses thought of as unreachable, emotionless, and faceless monoliths. In an ironic twist, one might even say that public perception has evolved to match modern corporate law: if corporations are people, the public expects them to act like it.
Consumers want to see the people behind the product, the human face on the other side of the customer service line. They want authenticity. They want transparency.
The problem is, many companies haven’t quite caught up to this paradigm shift. The world is changing, and they’re not keeping up. It’s a personality problem that, aside from a few brands, is endemic. Today, we’re going to show you how Twitter can be a tool to increase the public perception of transparency, and help you build a bridge of trust with your customers.
Twitter: The Great Equalizer
Luckily for you, the same tool that raised all these consumer expectations is the tool that will help you fulfill those expectations. Twitter is a powerful tool that can broadcast to a million people or whisper to one. It also is a great equalizer, allowing anyone who wants to the ability to contact you at their will.
This access makes some brand managers uncomfortable, but it’s up to you to use it to your advantage. Each person contacting you is a potential customer, or better yet, a potential fan. Think about it: they’re taking time from their day to tell you something, or ask you a question.
The question is now not if to respond, but how. Here are some rules to follow to make sure that your Twitter communications stay productive, authentic, and transparent.
Let Your Brand’s Personality Shine
Just as Taco Bell loves to show their quirky, enthusiastic side, so should your brand relish in the opportunity to let your fans know who you really are. Does your company get involved in charity efforts? Tweet about it! Let your followers see a bit into what it is like to be part of your brand.
Even if you don’t have charity work to brag about (and not everyone does), simply allowing your tweets to show a bit more personality can do a lot. Marketers are naturally a cautious type, but it’s important to remember that the internet has a short memory. Don’t be afraid to experiment with tones and characters until you find one that fits your brand and audience. People will appreciate the authenticity and feel like they’ve getting to know the real you.
Respond to Everything You Can
You will find that many times, the customer does not expect an answer, but is simply tweeting his or her enthusiasm into the internet without expectation. In these cases, it’s sometimes enough to favorite or retweet what they wrote, but a personal note never hurt anyone.
Taco Bell is a great example of a brand that knows exactly how to interact with their fans. A quick look at their Twitter page will reveal hundreds of reblogs, them simply reposting messages from enthusiastic fans onto their Twitter page, showcasing their appreciation for the love they get.
Twitter: The Ultimate Tool for Transparency
Every contact point with the consumer has the potential for creating your next biggest fan. Luckily for you, Twitter is a social media service consisting entirely of contact points. Your followers list is a list of people who want to hear what you have to say, and that list of people who mentioned you in a tweet today? That’s your Rolodex. Get in touch, you won’t regret it!
Hilary Smith is an online business journalist with a background in media marketing. In addition to covering the importance of transparency in social media, her writing also covers the process of globalization, the benefits of an effective business communications system, and VoIP technology for unified communications.