May 8, 2013 Jaclyn Bickerton
Inbound Marketing Agents recently posted a great article called Social Media Ethics: What Your Brand Needs to Know by Bill Faeth. The article takes a look at ethics in social media, something many brands are having issues with in this day and age. Social media gives businesses a tool to humanize their brand and cultivate relationships with consumers. Brands are always trying new things in an attempt to make their mark on the digital world and attract new consumers. The issue with this is that sometimes brands can’t tell the difference between edgy and out of line.
A tweet in response to the Twitter hashtag #Aurora, which was trending after the mass shooting that occurred at the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado. CelebBoutique (based in the UK) used the hashtag to promote a “Kim Kardashian-inspired Aurora dress.” The tweet was up for about an hour, and received a ton of backlash. Not only did they lose followers, but many consumers boycotted the brand.
Here are some simple practices that we should keep in mind when engaging with others on social media:
1. Avoid controversial subjects like religion and politics.
Subjects like religion or politics will offend some people, divide customers, and create a negative spotlight for your brand.
2. Avoid libelous of defamatory comments.
Be careful not to say anything intended to damage someone’s reputation. You are legally responsible for any statement made by you or your business, and will be held accountable. It also won’t do you or your company any good to develop a bad reputation.
3. Understand and follow each network’s terms of service.
On social media sites, the terms of service apply to what information is posted and gathered from it. Make sure you are aware of the terms of service so that you don’t break the rules, or worse get shut down.
4. Tell the truth.
If you use deceptive content to get people to your website, they will find out quickly, and you’ll have wasted your time. People will see through the lies, possibly after making a purchase and will spread negative word of mouth. According to Forrester Research, 70% of consumers trust brand recommendations from friends.
5. Be professional.
Simply following this one rule will help you stay within ethical boundaries on social media. Before you post or share content, ask yourself if it would be appropriate to share in a client meeting or networking event.
Jaclyn Bickerton, Social Media, Raven5 Ltd, Oakville & Toronto Ontario, May 2013