Spin doctor. If you work in the world of public relations, you’ve definitely heard the term. Professionals in our industry are often referred to as such because they spin or even hide the truth. This notion has been even further complicated by the current era of “fake news” and misinformation.
While it’s unfortunate that certain high-profile individuals and cases have allowed this perception to grow in our industry, it’s important that public relations professionals continue to work under the values of honesty and accuracy to help rebuild the public’s trust in the businesses, individuals and organizations we represent.
One of the easiest ways to bolster transparency is to provide open and honest communication on social media. Here are a few things you can do to help establish transparency as a principle on your social accounts and elsewhere:
Admit when you make a mistake. It’s okay to make mistakes, but when you do, it’s important to own up to it. Let your audience know that you understand what the issue is and explain how you will prevent a similar error from happening again. Learn from your mistakes and show how it’s helped your team and organization grown.
Respond to questions and comments. Whether it’s criticism or praise, you should be responding to comments that have the possibility to produce productive conversation. If someone has a question or raises a legitimate concern, chances are, another individuals is probably wondering about the same thing. Take that opportunity to clear things up and let them know where you stand in order to get ahead of the conversation.
Give your audience a look inside your organization. People want to know who you are and how you operate. Share your mission statement, values, practices and policies – really anything you feel comfortable with. This is a great way to show stakeholders how you work internally to make decisions, solve problems and get results. The more an individual knows about an organization, the more likely they are to trust its messaging.
Transparency should not be a rarity, but rather a standard practice, and it’s important to use all possible tools, including social media, to establish, and in some cases re-establish, this precedent.