By Grace Zimlich
With the ease of social media at our fingertips, it is easy to come into contact with misinformation daily. It is also easy to spread misinformation when you don’t take a closer look. When you know how to recognize fake news and verify the real information, you know how to avoid participating in misinformation for yourself and your business.
Misinformation is an easy cycle to fall into, and for business owners and entrepreneurs, it is essential to learn how to effectively avoid it. Creating transparent business models helps to combat this epidemic of misinformation online and sets companies up for success with their employees, consumers, and community. Here are a few tips to effectively run your social media while avoiding misinformation and stopping the spread of fake news.
Why does transparency matter?
Trust is essential for your consumers and your audience to know that you are genuine and consistent, and stand by your company values and promises. The more transparent you are in your business, the more trust people have in you and your company’s results and products. Maintaining a clear line of communication, whether via newsletters or social media, creates an element of trust with consumers and audiences.
Transparency also means taking accountability when mistakes are made or problems come up, and this includes communicating with your audience, consumers, and personal team or employees. This is particularly important when misinformation arises and needs to be addressed. According to ZDNet, “nine out of 10 people (89 percent) said a business can regain their trust if it admits to a mistake and is transparent about the steps it will take to resolve the issue.” This gives consumers confidence in the leadership of the companies that they are supporting.
Keeping an authentic social media presence
One of the most effective ways to maintain transparency with your audience is to maintain an authentic and consistent social media presence. Social platforms are great places for consumers to find valid and up-to-date information. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn, and more can help you market your business, and regularly posting content helps to cultivate a community of informed consumers.
It’s not only important to post accurate content related to your brand, but it’s also important and beneficial to show your personality. Consumers like knowing their money, time, and/or resources are going to an organization that supports similar causes or shares their values. Posting short but meaningful content about current events or even staying up to date on trends can make your brand stand out and be perceived as much more personable.
Transparency and clear and consistent communication on your social media allows your audience to gain an inside look into your business and feel like a part of the process. For example, if you are marketing your product and say that you manufacture using particular materials or you say you are committed to donating proceeds to a local community fund, you should follow through on your commitments and provide insight into your manufacturing via your social platforms.
Best practices for your business’s social media
Sometimes misinformation can be due to mistakes or out-of-date information. You can make it a best practice to maintain an interested and trusted audience and help stop the spread of misinformation by:
- Creating a schedule or calendar for social media posts to keep your content consistent.
- Double checking your content for inaccuracies or mistaken links and data.
- Verifying your sources of information and noting those sources.
- Sharing posts and/or links to reputable and verified articles that support your mission.
When deciding what to post on social media, verifying that the information you’re sharing is accurate, especially when it does not relate directly to your business, is extremely important. Understanding the 4 steps to take before sharing a post and incorporating that into your everyday practice is essential to networking and sharing information safely.
Misinformation is rampant and it is essential to know and understand how to protect yourself, your business, and your audience from misinformation while staying authentic in your brand. Head to YLAI for Integrity for more resources on doing your part in countering misinformation and disinformation.