Study: Customers want businesses to be transparent on social media

Study: Customers want businesses to be transparent on social media

By Ted Kitterman | Posted: August 27, 2018

Great article written by Ted Kitterman about social media and why customers are demanding that businesses blur the truth less.

A new study from Sprout Social reveals that 86 percent of consumers believe transparency from businesses is more important than ever before—and many say that companies aren’t nearly transparent enough on social media. — Pete E Cento, Wild Cats Enterprises

It can be tempting to blur the truth.

In the modern information ecosystem, with clickbait headlines and constant advertising bombardment, PR pros can be lured into bad behavior to get their message in front of consumers.

Despite the conventional wisdom that lying to consumers will catch up to your brand, some PR pros are still willing to dabble in tactics considered off-limits by most communicators. However, there’s a real cost to gambling with your brand’s credibility.

A new study from Sprout Social reveals that 86 percent of consumers believe transparency from businesses is more important than ever before—and many say that companies aren’t nearly transparent enough on social media.

[RELATED: Get the skills you need to become a trusted advisor to leaders.]

More than half of the respondents (53 percent) said they would be more likely to patronize a company that is transparent on social media. For communicators who wonder whether businesses must answer to a higher standard than the average social media user, the answer is yes. However, nine in 10 respondents indicated they would give a business a second chance.

The study highlights the general trend of declining trust in social media content.

Marketing Dive wrote:

Transparency has been a running theme in the marketing world for years now, but the Sprout Social report emphasizes how many marketers are still coming up short in terms of how honestly they present their businesses and brands to consumers online. Concerns over a lack of transparency are likely heightened in 2018 amid growing controversies over the role social media plays in spreading fake news and collecting data on users, such as through Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal.Overall satisfaction with social media dropped 1.4% in the American Customer Satisfaction Index’s 2018 E-Business Report released last month, making it the lowest ranked among e-businesses. Marketers that are not transparent on social media also risk losing key groups of younger consumers. More than one-third of surveyed Gen Zers have said they plan to leave social media, citing privacy concerns and negative content among the top reasons, according to findings from Hill Holliday’s in-house research group Origin.

The study further highlights how brand managers risk losing young consumers, who put a premium on authenticity.

Marketing Dive continued:

Marketers wanting to win over Gen Zers and similar, digital- and mobile-first demographics like millennials might think about taking a people-based approach to their social strategies. Millennial-focused campaigns, in particular, might put a human face on the brand that can foster transparency given the Sprout Social findings around positive responses to CEOs having personal profiles for communications purposes.

The study also makes the case for CEOs to be active on social media. Sixty-three percent of respondents said CEOs with robust social media presences better represent their companies, and 70 percent of millennials say they want CEOs to have a social media presence.

The study concludes:

“Our data shows that transparency truly makes the difference in forming lasting connections between businesses and consumers,” says Jamie Gilpin, Chief Marketing Officer at Sprout Social. “But being a transparent brand is much more than a singular campaign or announcement. It’s an ongoing practice that showcases the humanity of a brand and builds a relationship that’s rooted in authenticity and honesty. Social media is a prime platform for brands to build this relationship and establish unwavering consumer trust.”

What does it mean to be transparent? Though some have offered ideas on how to embrace transparency from a media relations standpoint, on social media the practice more generally applies to expressing brand values.

An earlier Sprout Social study shows that consumers want companies to take an online stand on social issues.

As previously reported on PR Daily:

More than half of consumers (58 and 55 percent, respectively) feel that organizations should take a stand on human rights and labor laws, and nearly half (48 percent) said organizations should speak out about poverty and gender equality. Other top issues include the environment (45 percent), education (45 percent), race relations (43 percent) and health care (42 percent).Ultimately, the decision to speak out about hot-button topics should be carefully considered by each organization’s brand manager(s).

No matter how involved your business already is on social media, it might be a good time to reevaluate your efforts. Sprout Social’s study shows that only 15 percent of consumers believe businesses are adequately transparent on social media—revealing that most communicators have plenty of room to grow.

How are you trying to increase your transparency on social media, PR Daily readers?

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Aretha Franklin Dead At Age 76

The Queen of Soul passed away at the age of 76. | iHeartRadio

Source: Aretha Franklin Dead At Age 76

Aretha Franklin Dead At Age 76

By Emily Lee

August 16, 2018

Aretha Franklin has died at the age of 76. According to the Associated Press, The Queen of Soul passed away in Detroit surrounded by her friends and family on Thursday (Aug. 16). Her family released a statement, calling Franklin’s death “one of the darkest moments of our lives…we have lost the matriarch and rock of our family. The love she had for her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins knew no bounds.”

Franklin’s family also thanked her fans for the tremendous outpouring of love and support over the past few days. “Thank you for your compassion and prayers. We have felt your love for Aretha and it brings us comfort to know that her legacy will live on.” They asked for privacy during this difficult time, as well.

There were multiple reports on Monday (Aug. 13) that the singer was gravely ill. “I am so saddened to report that the Queen of Soul and my good friend, Aretha Franklin is gravely ill,” Detroit news anchor Evrod Cassimy revealed via Twitter. “I spoke with her family members this morning. She is asking for your prayers at this time.”

Franklin had been in poor health for some time. According to Rolling Stone, The Queen of Soul cancelled her scheduled 2018 tour dates after her doctor recommended she “stay off the road and rest completely for at least the next two months.” Rumors circulated in 2010 that Franklin was battling pancreatic cancer, however, the singer denied those reports. TMZ reported on Monday (Aug. 13) that Franklin was, in fact, battling cancer before her death.

The iconic singer’s last performance took place in November 2017 at Elton John’s annual AIDS Foundation Gala. She performed a nine-song set, which included one of her greatest hits “Say a Little Prayer.”

Franklin had 20 number one singles, including “Respect,” “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” and “Chain of Fools.” She was the first woman to be inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. Franklin was awarded both a Grammy Legend Award in 1991 and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1994. She has 44 Grammy nominations overall and 18 wins.

During her lifetime, Franklin performed at the inauguration of 3 presidents: Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama. She’s received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, was inducted into the NAACP Hall of Game, as well as inducted into the Apollo Theater Legends Hall of Fame.

In addition to those awards, Franklin was also a Kennedy Center Honoree, recipient of the National Medal of Arts, and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She holds an honorary degree from Harvard University, as well as honorary doctorates from Princeton University, Yale University, Brown University, Berklee College of Music, New England Conservatory of Music, and University of Michigan.

Rest in Peace, Aretha Franklin. You will be missed.

Remember the Queen of Soul and her legacy by listening to iHeartRadio’s tribute on the Classic Soul station:

Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter Report Declining User Numbers

Snapchat’s report of declining user numbers in the second quarter align with similar reports from Facebook and Snapchat.

Source: Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter Report Declining User Numbers

shutterstock_624195422Though daily social media use is ingrained in many peoples’ lives, it seems that major social media companies may have reached a saturation point when it comes to adding new users—at least in a few markets.

Snap, the parent company of Snapchat, released its second quarter results on August 7, in which it reported the app lost three million active daily users since the end of the first quarter of 2018. According to an article in the New York Times, this was “the first time since the company went public in early 2017 that it had reported a decline in users.”

This could also mark the beginning of a steady trend for Snap, as the company’s chief financial officer Tim Stone noted that Snapchat has “historically experienced a dip in daily active users during the third quarter.”

The Times speculated that this decline could be related to the backlash Snap faced from consumers following a redesign of the app’s interface at the end of 2017. Even though some of those changes were reversed in May, Snap’s chief executive Evan Spiegel told the Times that he still believes the redesign is to blame for the drop in users.

It’s worth noting, however, that Facebook and Twitter are also facing declining numbers of daily active users in certain markets, suggesting that Snap’s remodeling may not be the sole issue at hand here.

Despite an increase in users worldwide, Facebook’s Q2 results showed a stagnant user base in the US since Q1, and a decrease in European users in the same period. And Twitter reported at the end of July that its active user base had fallen by one million since earlier in 2018 (not including bots and suspicious accounts that Twitter’s recent campaign has shut down, according to executives). Stock prices of both companies fell after the reports were released.

Twitter and Facebook have dealt with myriad scandals over the past two years, including both platforms’ mishandling of information surrounding foreign interference during and after the 2016 presidential election, and misuse of user data by Facebook. And this week both social giants have come under fire for how they are dealing with InfoWars’ Alex Jones, who is known for spreading misinformation and conspiracy theories online.

Facebook removed pages belonging to Jones after his continued assertions that the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School was a hoax, but only after pressure from the public and the example of other companies like Apple and Spotify. But Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey insiststhat Jones’ rhetoric doesn’t violate the platform’s guidelines and that removing his account would infringe upon his right to free speech.

These issues could certainly be causing some users to stop using the social sites. It could also be due to more and more reports of the harmful effects of social media, which may prompt users to step away from Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat more often.

While declining user rates may seem troubling, it’s unlikely the social giants will suffer for too long. Snapchat, for example, “disclosed the drop in users as it also posted a 49 percent jump in revenue to $262 million and a narrower net loss of $353 million for its second quarter from a year earlier.”

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