The majority (86%) of consumers now believe that transparency from businesses is a more important attribute than ever before. According to new research from social media analytics company Sprout Social, 40% of respondents said that business transparency on social media was more important than ever before whilst 53% of them would also consider brands that are more transparent on social media for their next purchase.
At the same time, there’s quite a big gap between what consumers are expecting from brands and actual brand transparency practices on social media. 81% of respondents now consider it a company’s responsibility to remain transparent on social media. Interestingly, respondents were setting higher transparency standards for brands than they did for politicians, nonprofits or friends on social media. Just 15% believed that brands were currently “very transparent” on social networks.
In return for transparency, brands are rewarded with consumer loyalty. Around nine in 10 consumers are happy to give brands another chance after a bad experience if that brand is transparent. A majority of 85% are also happy to stick with a transparent company during a crisis.
“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.”
The study also found that CEOs could have a more significant impact on brand perception if they were to improve their social media presence. A third of respondents said they would purchase products from brands whose CEO showed transparency across social networks whilst 63% say CEOs with their own social media presence represented their company better. Millennials appear to be particularly driven to encourage CEOs to promote their own social media channels (70%).