Social media marketing is a popular form of advertising and brand building, but it is something that can be difficult to pull off without annoying your community and diluting the power of your brand. There are many social media marketing companies that rely on unethical marketing practices to grow your audience and monetise your existing social media community. As a business owner, it is your responsibility to create an ethical social media policy and decide which practices you support and which you would prefer to avoid.Compatibility with the Purpose of the Network.
One thing that many companies fail to consider is the purpose of the network they are using. At first glance, posting job listings to a mailing list relating to your niche might make sense, as might using LinkedIn to organise parties with others from your industry. Unfortunately, such posts frequently backfire. Many mailing lists forbid job advertisements because of the risk that someone may have subscribed to their mailing list using a work email address. If an employer sees job advertisements in an employee's inbox, then they could lose their job. By the same token, LinkedIn is a professional business oriented network and party-related posting may be unwelcome.Honesty vs Manipulating Perception.
The real ethical dilemma comes from trying to build your user and follower base. The practice of buying fake followers is unfortunately commonplace, even celebrities and politicians have been caught in the act. But buying fake followers is a waste of money and will not help to build your engagement with a real audience and real people. However, all too many business owners are drawn in by the thought of seeing an increase in numbers, not to mention earning temporary bragging rights for having a larger audience - even if they are not real people. Such activity is proven bad practice and could prove detrimental to your brand especially as fake accounts are regularly purged.An Ethical How-To.
Running an ethical social media profile takes hard work. You must grow your audience the old-fashioned way by using traditional methods of word-of-mouth advertising, sponsored ads, contests and referral schemes to bring in new fans. Next, you need to give those users a reason to stay in the form of high-quality content. This is where most businesses fail. You cannot treat your social media users as a free audience for advertisements. Such behaviour is sure to drive away your audience and do irreparable damage to your brand.
Don't bait and switch with your social media campaigns, and don't spam social media with only sales ads and promotional content. Treat social media like a dinner party conversation and you will attract the audience your brand desires. Add value, help, advice and entertainment if you can.
If you're not sure how to run an effective and ethical social media campaign, consider hiring a dedicated specialist company. Experienced social managers will look after your accounts and manage all of your campaigns, ensuring optimal conversion and maximum reach for each piece of content you post. They will also help you to avoid common social media faux pas and be aware of channel nuances. If you don't have dedicated social media savvy employees who can handle this in-house for you, it makes sense to call in the experts.
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