Agency Transparency: How transparent should you be? Completely.

15Feb10

John Cass and Tony Bloomberg recently reached out to a group of colleagues to see the general consensus on how transparent one should be when on social networks for clients.

They divided the opinions into two sections—either total transparency or that there can be “degrees” of transparency.

It’s obvious that everyone has differing opinions, but I feel that there should be total transparency. The thing I love about adding social media to traditional public relations is that the curtain is pulled away. It allows people to see clients’ “human” side.

Cass made categorized list of the opinions. Here is that list and what I, being a “total transparent”, think about it.

Identity transparency of the author not important

I disagree with this. I think that if you have created and are composing a blog for a client, it should reflect that in the “about” section as well as who the author is. Even better, why not collaborate with the client over blog content. Find relevant posts, advise on what angle to go at and encourage them to post in their own voice. That’s the point of the blog to have a “voice” that readers can identify with.

Okay to ghost write posts, but not okay to ghost write comments in reply

It’s not ok to ghost write and I can’t even believe it’s a discussion. I think it’s unethical. If it’s feasible for the client to write the post, allow them to do so and you can consult, advise and edit if needs be. If it’s not feasible, then make sure you’re listed as the author of the post.

As for ghost writing comments…what? If an agency does that, then they shouldn’t be your social media consultants. Don’t be stupid in forums, you’ll get caught. Ask Samsung.

Okay to edit and rewrite posts

I think it’s ok to edit posts, but do so visibly. Many people use the tactic of visibly crossing out what was there before. As for rewriting, I’m not sure about this one. I don’t think it should ever be necessary to re-write. If people are confused about something, then clarify in an update or within the comments. If it’s just badly written, that’s why you should proofread.

Okay to post within social media representing the brand

I think to post representing a brand is OK as long as you state such. Make it clear who you represent and that you are speaking on behalf of a client. Also make sure that what you are saying is an official opinion of the brand. Run everything by the client first.

Not okay to ghost post when representing an individual

Ghost writing is not OK whether it’s a company, brand or an individual. See comments above.

Need to disclose agency relationship when posting for brand

Absolutely!

Twitter had some nuances, might be okay to post when representing a brand, Twitter space requirement was the issue

When running a Twitter stream for a client, it should say so in the bio. Again, be clear who is writing.

No matter what you do for a client, make it CLEAR who is speaking.  Clear, as in see-through…as in transparent. 🙂

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