How Brands Can Overcome Data Privacy Concerns on Social Media

Encourage trust in your brand on social media

With 1.65 billion users on Facebook alone (Social Media Today) – that’s over a fifth of the world’s population – it’s no wonder social channels, and their ready-made audiences, are incredibly popular with brands.

Not just a public platform for selfies and animal videos, social media has matured into a multi-faceted environment within which brands can have their say on topical events, strike up two-way conversations with consumers and execute targeted promotional marketing campaigns. But when it comes to sharing data, consumers can often take a back seat on the engagement front.

We explore what brands on social can do to overcome data privacy concerns and win the trust of their audience.

Trust is a must

But digital marketing of any kind relies on an element of trust between brand and consumer. Most, if not all online promotions, require participants to submit some form of personal data. Information that the average internet user is increasingly reluctant to part with.

When more than 90% of US and UK consumers in 2015 were at least somewhat concerned about data privacy and how companies are using their data (Gigya) – it’s clear that brands need to step up their game – but how?

Data privacy concerns are stronger than ever

Our recent shopper survey report revealed a lot about the modern, savvy shopper.

They’re certainly cynical when it comes to promotions, especially when it comes to social media. However, there is plenty of scope for brands to evolve an open, creative and an – all importantly – human approach.

As digital media becomes further embedded into our lives, user privacy is being put more and more under the spotlight. Concerns over privacy on social media are indicative of wider worries about data privacy online, in particular the problem of junk email.

As one of our 2,000 survey participants commented, “I don’t like taking part [in promotions online] as my email gets spammed to death.” Another said, “I see most them as a thinly veiled way of getting customers’ contact details so they can bombard them with marketing.”

While online channels such as email, websites and social media serve to facilitate consistent communication between brands and consumers – they also raise valid anxieties over how data is being stored and used. Figures from the DMA (Direct Marketing Association) in 2015 showed that only 2% of UK consumers trusted social media.

Brands will need to tighten up their offering, be clear about what they intend to do with any data they collect, and strip back what they’re asking of their audience. While personal details such as email addresses are important in building a worthwhile marketing database – building trust through honest, human engagement is the best way to reach consumers.

Consumers are savvier than ever, and you have to look no further than their concerns over privacy to get a taste of this. If you're eager to learn more about how they're changing and what they want, click below to grab a copy of our free consumer insights report:

Free ebook: Savvy Cynics  They're smart, cynical, and thirsty for a bargain! Find out what today's  shoppers are thinking in our 2017-18 consumer insights report. Click to grab yours today!

Promotions must go above and beyond

Distrust impacts on the overall efficacy of social media as a marketing platform for brand promotions. Users tend to be conscious of a brand’s intentions.

Respondents were particularly vocal on this front – with one admitting they love promotions, but “hate ones where I have to share or retweet on Facebook/Twitter…I hate spamming my friends.”

While just over a fifth of those who took part said that they ‘sometimes’ enter competitions via Facebook –Twitter proved less popular, with less than 12% claiming that they ‘sometimes’ entered competitions on this platform.

Instagram, which is still gathering momentum as a platform, proved an even less popular means, with less than 8% using the network to ‘sometimes’ enter competitions.

Personal reputation concerns come into play here. Would you want your Twitter followers to see that you're entering a competitions to win a pair of wellies? Brands who think more creatively can leverage the reach offered by social media. When a campaign hits the right note, it can go viral overnight.

Once people have received their prize, for example, if it is quite cool or particularly delightful, winners will often choose to take a photo and tweet that. That does the job – and in a more genuine and effective way. Better results come if content naturally goes viral, rather than being forced.

People won’t settle for less

“The onus is on brands to engage shoppers, so that they want to share content.”

Alastair Lockhart, Insight Director at Savvy, agrees that shoppers like to maintain control over their social media and don’t always want to share their interactions with brands. “We find they perceive websites as convenient, but not intrusive. The onus is on brands to engage shoppers, so that they want to share content.”

In search of reassurance, consumers tend to seek entry through branded websites. In fact, our survey of 2,000 participants suggests that over a third of people would choose this as their preferred method of participation.

While social media continues to grow, it will undoubtedly remain the more relaxed environment. Websites, in comparison, offer a more professional, closed-setting that puts consumers at ease over data sharing.

To override damaging preconceptions – particularly on social media – brands must start by making sure they’re asking for the absolute minimum data necessary as part of a promotion.

But beyond this, it is about finding ways to truly connect with users. Giving them something meaningful that they want to show their friends without making them feel like their hands are tied.

Transparency is the key

Harvard Business Review’s May 2015 report Customer Data: Designing for Transparency and Trust sums it up perfectly…

“In a future in which customer data will be a growing source of competitive advantage, gaining consumers’ confidence will be key. Companies that are transparent about the information they gather, give customers control of their personal data, and offer fair value in return for it will be trusted and will earn ongoing and even expanded access. Those that conceal how they use personal data and fail to provide value for it stand to lose customers’ goodwill—and their business.”

The likes of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram offer up a whole new world of opportunity to brands. But ultimately it is those who can build visibility through upfront and innovative engagement that will win out.

Want to learn more actional insights like these? Grab a copy of our free consumer insights report by clicking below:

Free ebook: Savvy Cynics  They're smart, cynical, and thirsty for a bargain! Find out what today's  shoppers are thinking in our 2017-18 consumer insights report. Click to grab yours today!