Does Your Social Media Strategy Address Customer Security Concerns?

To help soothe user anxieties about social media privacy, it’s important for digital marketing campaigns to consider what messages we’re sending to our customers.

The majority of adults today use some form of social media to keep in touch with friends, find dates and chat about their interests, but in the aftermath of last year’s Ashley Madison hack, many users across platforms are feeling a little too vulnerable. When a Facebook ad pops up for a product that we looked for a few days before, we wonder about these small incursions and what privacy means in 2016.

To help soothe user anxieties about social media privacy, it’s important for digital marketing campaigns to consider what messages we’re sending to our customers. How we answer these questions publicly can have a wide impact on overall customer loyalty and trust.

Digital demographics

One of the first rules of social media marketing is, “Know your audience.” This doesn’t just mean that you should know who you’re marketing to in terms of product appeal, but also what kinds of priorities these individuals share.

Business executives, for example, may feel more anxiety about their digital security than millennials paying off college loans and settling into career paths. Understanding how your audience members construct their public face in a world where data never disappears can tell you a lot about how forward you need to be in promoting your privacy policies.

Keep it clear

We all know that no one ever reads the fine print–those long statements users are presented with every time they sign up for a new service or update their software. As marketers, we’re responsible for stating important information clearly and offering ways for customers to opt out of non-vital aspects of agreements, such as allowing companies to share or sell data with others.

Customers should always be given the chance to opt-out of data exchanges with third parties, not just from an ethical standpoint, but also from a business standpoint. When Borders filed for bankruptcy and began closing down, it tried to sell off its customer data. Fortunately, the Federal Trade Commission intervened and insisted that customers be given the opportunity to opt out of this process.

Talk about targeting

Customers today understand that they receive ads on social media based on interests and other activities they participate in online, so there’s no point in pretending that your social media ads are arriving on their page through sheer luck. Instead, consider giving your audience a look behind the scenes, especially if something about your targeting program changes.

Pinterest recently changed its ad-targeting procedures, greatly expanding its interest options to resemble Facebook’s more advanced system. Bumping the number of interest categories from 30 to 420 this June means that customers will start to see a difference, so this is the perfect opportunity to talk about how your brand seeks customers.

Targeting discussions can actually help customers feel more included in the process because the discussions produce a sense of community. You might discuss what values your customers share or what types of products they’re interested in, and follow that with a pitch for why they’ll love your brand. Transparency builds trust, a key part of the onboarding process.

Keeping control

As social media users continue to grow more concerned about their overall data control, many are pulling back from previously popular activities like sharing content and entering contests. In order for marketers to reverse these trends, we need to commit to putting more autonomy back into customers hands.

Although we may see an initial hit as customers re-establish a sense of brand trust, most companies will find that they’ll ultimately fare better by letting customers better control their data.

Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.