Keeping your brand relevant amid privacy concernsPrivacy concerns are a growing issue for marketers. While the number of people participating in social networks is rising, access to them is decreasing. According to a recent Pew study, 63% of adults with online activity maintain a social profile. When asked about privacy settings on the platform used most often, 58% are set to private so only friends can see it. Only 20% say that their main profile is public.

If your target market is primarily women, the numbers are even higher. Private settings are chosen by 67% of the women surveyed. The days of easy access to customer and prospect online activity are gone. Things aren’t as bad as they sound because capitalizing on the online information wasn’t easy when it was available. We could see what people were doing, but compiling the data into meaningful analytics was a manual time-consuming process. We’ve simply lost the promise of marketing access. The increased awareness of privacy issues destroys any hope of better tools for acquiring information from people’s social activity.

Don’t despair. There are still three paths that provide access to people via social networks:

  1. Create a presence that attracts people to your network. If you can’t join them, invite them to join you. Relevance is the key to success for this path. What creates the most response from your customers and prospects? New items or services? Discounts? Better information? Use your social platforms to consistently provide the things your target market likes best. They will follow your activity.
  2. Advertise on the social platforms. Privacy settings don’t block the social platforms from seeing the activity. The networks have unlimited access to your customers and prospects. Advertising allows you to target the people most likely to buy your products and/or services. Make sure that you know exactly what you want people to do before taking this path. If it doesn’t end with new customers and increased sales, you will waste a lot of money.
  3. Become friends with your customers. This is the least likely scenario, but it does happen. Creating relationships where your customers want to be a part of your community and let you be a part of theirs is the best path to success. Doing this requires that you understand what motivates them so you can fulfill those needs. If you can make this path work, your competitors are limited and your future is bright.

Do’s and don’ts for privacy-proofing your brands social marketing:

Do share your privacy policy. People want to know where you stand.

Don’t be creepy. Just because you know what someone is doing online doesn’t mean you have to tell.

Do provide relevant content on a regular basis. Know what your customers and prospects want and consistently provide it.

Don’t participate in snarky behavior. People may find it amusing but sooner or later they wonder if they will be the next victim.

Do ask for an invitation. Sometimes an invitation request is all it takes to connect with customers and prospects.

Don’t waste your community’s time. If your content is boring and repetitive, your invitations will be revoked.