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Totally rad – does your business celebrate or hide from the radical transparency of social?

It lets us talk to our customers, share content, build engagement and ultimately boost the bottom line. Sounds too good to be true, and to be honest, an overly simplistic view of only the positive outcomes of social doesn’t do much to help businesses really adopt, implement and fully benefit from it. 

We know of course that social can make a big difference to businesses but it’s crucial not to underestimate the importance of a business-wide strategy.  Social is no longer just the preserve of a sole community manager or even the wider marketing department, it’s something that must permeate the whole enterprise from sales and service, HR and even the C-suite.

For businesses, embracing social media is not as simple as writing a content calendar and setting up a twitter feed. Because social is, by its very nature, open and transparent, it means that when brands adopt it, they too must become more open and transparent, not just in their approach to social media, but in their entire activity. Social media demands radical transparency from business, and rather than causing concern, I’d suggest this is another benefit.

To some extent, when businesses become social they are setting themselves up for exposure to criticism and difficult questions. Setting up a social presence opens up businesses for feedback, and comment – both negative and positive – just look at the recent infamous British Gas #AskBG campaign.  A desire to avoid this side of social is one of the reasons businesses often give for not adopting it.

But to turn this from a negative to a positive, businesses must be open internally and able to find the answers, offering them the potential to take positive action. Integrated properly across the enterprise from the outset, social media can be the catalyst for positive internal change – better listening and openness not only though social channels but also between departments, sites and individuals.

Not integrating social properly can lead to embarrassment and damage to a brand’s reputation. Ultimately, your social promise must meet your execution. Far from being something to hide from, the fact that social asks difficult questions and requires cross departmental collaboration is something to be celebrated. Social requires your business to be more transparent, and should been seen as a positive step, for both your social media activity, and your business as a whole.