Social media marketing should be ethical, but it’s not always the case. Companies are willing to bend the rules to make money, but these unethical tactics will start to damage the company’s reputation over time.
Branding is unforgiving, and if a business uses unethical tactics to get to the top of their industry, it can come back against them years from now.
The first layer of ethics in social media marketing is simple:
1. Remain Transparent at All Times
Transparency is one way to always be ethical. You want to be honest with your followers, and this is what has made some businesses really pick up. Buffer.com is known for being transparent – they even offer transparency reports outlining every dime the company spends.
The company’s Twitter account has 1.03 million followers, and their blog is exceptional.
Not only does the company’s profile state exactly what they do, but they’re honest in their posts.
A prime example is a post from the company’s Twitter account on November 6 that explains how the company scopes products, builds new features and develops a product that customers love.
2. Never Cause Any Privacy Concerns
Privacy is very important for social media users, and marketers should never lash out at users, fans or consumers on their social media accounts. If your company leaks any personal information, this can lead to a tarnished reputation and backlash that can ruin a business.
You never want to misuse email accounts, or sell a user’s information.
3, Always Credit When Resharing or Using Followers’ Pictures
Followers and fans may be your biggest content contributor. When you pick the right target market and know who your target market truly is, you’ll be able to leverage some of their content legitimately.
Well, it depends.
Some platforms have reshare buttons, and this is a great option. But if you’re on Instagram, for example, you can send someone a message asking if you could use their pictures on your account. You can see this in action on www.yocanvaporizer.com.
When they use someone’s images on their Instagram account, they always have a “credits” section that promotes the user’s account.
Crediting, and asking permission, is the least you can do when using someone else’s content – and a lot of content creators are happy to share their pictures.
4. Always Divulge Your Affiliation
Speak the truth and you’ll have a much easier time building and retaining your following. Instagram is forcing this with their “sponsored” posts. Why? Because it’s unethical to promote products, be paid by the company and not disclose that you’re promoting the company because you’re being paid.
I recommend taking a look at this post from MMA fighter Conor McGregor. You’ll notice that his post claims that “My shoes will always be better than yours!” He always states “Fresh new Sole Fury’s from my team at Reebok.”
But if you look at the top of the post, you’ll also find that it says “Paid partnership with Reebok.”
If this partnership wasn’t apparent from the description in the photo, it is by the top text that claims it’s a paid partnership between Reebok and McGregor.
He’s divulging his affiliation with the company, and all social media markets should be doing the same.