Social media and ethical marketing… in the same sentence?!
There are endless articles claiming how social media is the beginning of the end of ethical marketing. But I’m here to turn that sentiment on its head and throw out one very dividing statement…
When done responsibly, social media can be the most ethical marketing avenue.
There are falsehoods, glamorisations, superficialities, and exploitations (the list could go on) that seem to spew out of millions of accounts. However, I want to draw the attention to 4 specific ways a lot of brands are doing it right – constructively uplifting their followers in the apparent sea of negativity.
The number one key difference between social media and traditional marketing avenues (TV, radio, print, etc.) is that we now have the power to interact with our followers – to create a conversation.
The power of conversation in marketing is worth more than gold. This is because we can now reply to positive feedback or complaints within an instant, making it easy to be responsible and accountable for our mistakes.
Other brands use interactivity to go above and beyond – to like, follow, and comment genuinely. These brands are not only creating a rapport with their audience but are building a trust that works more like a friendship.
The ability to search makes social media stand out above the rest. We can use search to find so many accounts with different stories, aesthetics, interests, and followers. Accounts that make a positive impact.
With endless communities to join and people to follow, there’s no excuse for a lack of diversity in selecting influencers and collaborations.
While this has been a dividing topic for marketers, there are now more opportunities for transparency within social media compared to other marketing avenues.
There are a few main guidelines for staying transparent in the digital world, such as always being honest about paid relationships, not posting misleading information, along with not conveniently leaving out negative information.
Instagram is now making this even easier with their ‘paid partnership’ feature. Historically, using the hashtag ‘#ad #sp or #spon’ has been enough, showing that it truly isn’t hard to let your audience know if you are paying or getting paid to promote something.
Because of interactivity along with a focus on ethics, transparency is finally crawling its way in and around social media and will hopefully soon lodge itself into its core for good.
This is one great freedom that social media accommodates, which has also been historically impossible for marketing audiences.
Audiences now have the power to decide.
To decide whether to subscribe, unsubscribe, follow, unfollow, block, hide ads or posts, report bad content or share good content.
No longer is the audience a helpless zombie, consuming information with ‘turning off’ or ‘throwing out’ the only way to escape advertising. We don’t have to turn off our devices or skip through pages of our magazines anymore. We can keep scrolling with the control to effortlessly hide content that we simply don’t want to see.
What’s more, brands have the freedom of when and where they post. With social media, there’s no more competing for space or time slots. There’s no more worrying that your ad won’t reach the right people.
With the right team and mindset, social media can undoubtedly be an ethical win-win.
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