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Ethics in Social Media

With the rise of social media platforms over the last decade, many of us are inundated with breaking “news” stories, political “facts,” pictures of beloved pets and family members, and, of course, the ever-present ads and sponsored posts.  In 2009, the FTC updated its guidelines on endorsements and testimonials to cover Social Media posts as well.  Technically, if a business is giving any form of compensation to a poster, it is considered an endorsement and must be disclosed.  But when is the last time you saw a news story name its backers?

Anonymity certainly has its place, but not where Social Media is concerned.  Some companies feel compelled to have employees comment, post recommendations, or review products.  While it’s perfectly legal to do so, posting such things without disclosing your involvement with the company can lead to trust issues with your consumers.  The same can be said for consumer privacy.  Just because you may have access to personal data about your customer base doesn’t mean you should use it.

Of course, there are companies that buy impressions on social media channels.  While this may give your followers the appearance that you’re well liked, you can’t buy success.  Authenticity still has its place and cannot be bought.  Authentic relationships and conversations matter far more in the long run.  And you must always give credit where credit is due.  It is a big no-no to pirate someone else’s images and posts as if they are your own.  Not only will you appear unreliable, but the authenticity of the brand as a whole can suffer.

Social Media is still a fairly new animal in the world of marketing.  With much to learn and new platforms evolving frequently, it’s easy to get lost on the information super highway.  Keep these tips in mind and you, and your brand, will flourish.

Don’t be afraid to ask for directions along the way.  Our team of experienced Social Media Marketers are here to help.  Call us today at 800-538-0669 to see how we can get your brand off the ground.

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