Buffer’s Transparency

I used to think transparency on the web was simply a marketing tactic — something that businesses would do as a result of some lame smoke-and-mirrors approach to stroking their own ego.

When Buffer disclosed the salaries of their employees, I drew some pretty harsh conclusions in my head about them. It really wasn’t fair, to be honest, but there was something about what they did that rubbed me the wrong way. At the time, I just got angry about it.

Maybe I thought their positioning was a hoax, or maybe there was a degree of envy that I was feeling. I couldn’t put my finger on those emotions until recently, when I came to realize that their actions were merely a result of something I believe in — authenticity.

We live in a world where truth is often frowned upon, and the idea of oversharing is met with rash judgement. After all, why would a company choose to publicly announce the amount of money their employees were making? Seemed like a weird strategy play, don’t you think?

Here are four reasons why transparency works for them:

  1. Transparency breeds trust.
  2. Transparency helps with innovation as a company grows.
  3. Transparency leads to greater justice.
  4. You open yourself up to more feedback.

Ok, I buy into all of these reasons, and if I’m really being honest — they can also be rationale for those of us who personally choose to speak truth online. Building trust and affirmation are at the very top of my list when I consider what I share with my audience.

But the one thing they say that really makes sense and resonates a whole lot with me is this … “You use transparency as a tool to help others.”

When I’ve opened up on my blog, Twitter or Facebook, I’ve done so because I think there’s a tremendous amount of freedom in knowing that we’re not alone. I want those who follow me to understand they might be struggling with the same things that I struggle with.

I love that Buffer raises the bar on acceptability and breaks down some walls that are normally considered taboo. It’s quite refreshing and there’s something to be said about a group of people being pioneers in a space that’s filled with others doing things the “old-fashioned” way.

Besides, I have a hard time finding fault when they say something like this: “We see no reason not to share everything.”