Privacy protection has been a concern since the internet was in its infancy, but back then, it was more the powers behind the scenes that cared. Your average internet user thought very little about privacy, and concerns were often written off as the crazy ramblings of those a little too prone to seeing conspiracies where there are none.
Over the years, concern over online privacy has grown considerably. Now, the average internet user thinks about things like their online profile settings, keeping their date of birth off social media, and covering the webcams that come built-in to their devices. For several years now, addressing the typical privacy concerns has been easy for brands.
But that seems to be changing in 2018.
Thanks to the congressional sessions with Mark Zuckerberg, the average citizen is now hyper-aware that their information is being used by companies, politicians, and more—and not always in ways they are comfortable with. This means that there is serious concern about privacy online and what the companies they know and trust are doing with their data.
So, what can you as a brand do to make your customers feel comfortable using your products and services?
What customers do and do not share with you should be at their discretion. If you are collecting and storing information, they should be informed of this and given the option to opt out of sharing. While you can hide this in fine print or in terms of service links, consumers are more likely to decline when they do not understand what is being asked of them.
Instead of a general option to share information or not share information, allow them to decide which types of information they will share. Photos, locations, and basic information are items many consumers are comfortable sharing. But having brands track things like familial and friend connections, their income, and items related to their health are generally not looked upon well.
Recent polls have shown that around 90 percent of consumers are concerned about their privacy. By making privacy part of your brand, you can stand out against the competition and reach out to this overwhelming majority of customers at the same time. Keep in mind this means backing it up with real privacy policies and making sure these policies extend to other companies and brands you affiliate yourself with.
Many people want to protect their privacy but do not know how. Part of being appealing as a brand is helping customers solve problems, so assist them in solving this one. Remind them to change their passwords often and encourage the use of complex passwords. If your company stores sensitive data, have them use two-step authentication. You can even offer them a free guide on how to protect their privacy online.
What steps does your brand take to help guard consumer privacy? Tell us in the comments below.