#SocialSM Principle #7: Speak plainly and seek to inform

Tom Liacas —  September 22, 2013 — Leave a comment

The #Social Survival Manifesto is full of good advice that is, unfortunately, hard to apply in the workplace. At the time of writing, many of the prescriptions within are sure to generate conflicts with the different departments that compose the corporate communications machine. This next principle for managing online trust and credibility is sure to ruffle feathers in the marketing department and with all the talent they have hired to give the brand a stunning presence and a commanding voice. Essentially, Principle #7 proclaims that the appetite for persuasion has all but disappeared in networked society. To win hearts and minds on social media, marketers will have to drop the hard sell, copywriters will have to shelve their witticisms, and designers will have to learn to embrace drabness, to some extent.

The Internet, over the last two decades, has helped bring about a massive cohort of autonomous and agile information seekers. Consumers and citizens are now so adept at self-service and filtering, that their search to find what they’re looking for will flit from social network, to search engine, to website and back at lightning speed. In this quest for answers, they may scan more than a dozen sources, rapidly evaluating the content within. And here’s a tip: They’re not looking for good copy or nice stock photos, they’re looking for concrete and credible data to help make their minds up.

In fact, if your branded content or corporate page looks like an ad and reads like an ad, trust will plummet and you may be dismissed by the information seeker in the blink of an eye. This goes doubly so for companies that have to work hard to establish trust like, say, big oil companies or brands that have had ongoing reputation issues.

The slick sales approach is losing ground very fast to the transparent and information-rich strategy adopted by some leading brands. The latter are spending more time documenting their larger value proposition, including data on their soTheNakedBrandcial and environmental footprint. This, after all, is often what tips the balance of purchase decisions or trust in the favor of those who put this side forward. If you are interested in learning more about this trend, and seeing some great case studies, I highly recommend watching The Naked Brand, a documentary by Jeff Rosenblum of Questus.

Here is the complete chapter text from the #Social Survival Manifesto:

Principle for Survival #7:

The age of the clever one liner is over. As stated earlier, authenticity is where it’s at on social media.

Retire your copywriters and take a stab at presenting things clearly with little or no embellishment.

People now scan for information and use different sources to make their minds up about you. They are also scanning for credibility with a sensitive BS meter on alert.

Lay out the facts and you will be taken seriously. Lay on the charm and you will be the sleazy uncle that everyone avoids at family gatherings.

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Tom Liacas

Tom Liacas

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An M.A. graduate in Media Studies, Tom Liacas is an experienced Social Network Strategist who first cut his teeth creating and managing advocacy campaigns as an activist.