Social media is a fantastic tool that allows you to promote your brand and your business. It allows you to increase your credibility and build relationships with your customers. Social media is wide-reaching and includes blogs, forums, and social networking sites, and you must learn to use all of them to your advantage. However, you must do so ethically, which is something Matthew Knouff is studying, with the aim of presenting global best practice methods.
Social Media Ethics
There are a number of key elements involved in social media ethics, and Knouff’s research has found that businesses who do not respect these end up developing a negative reputation and lose customers. He has uncovered three key things that people must do in order to use social media the right way, which is also the ethical way.
First of all, it is vital that you show respect – to your customers and to the social media tool that you use. Do not go on Facebook to discuss how much better Twitter is, for instance. If you find a platform such as Instragram doesn’t work for you, don’t use it. Essentially, you shouldn’t spread negative information about a specific tool, not in the least because it will alienate all the people who do like to use it.
Secondly, social media is about being social, and showing your passions. You shouldn’t be robotic about it, but present yourself for who you are: a real human. While it is important that you regularly post on each of the social media platforms, you should do so organically, and not because your To Do List tells you that you still have to push out 10 Tweets. And your posts should be engaging as well, not just a rehashing of what your product is. That is classed as spam. Rather, you should present your product and ask for opinions, start a discussion, and use the topics raised in that for future social media posts. Show people that you love using social media, because you love having a direct line of communication with your clients, and because you love what you do. In return, people will respect you and engage with you.
The last element is that you have to be free, loose, and a little bit wild. Remember respect, at all times, but passion also involves being outspoken, being innovative, and maybe being a little bit controversial. It is very easy to get this wrong, however. Before you post anything, you should re-read it and make sure that it doesn’t have the potential to insult someone, unless your specific goal is to do that (recently, a Tiki Torch manufacturer specifically asked right wing groups to not purchase them, following the disturbances in Virginia, for instance). Being wild is about being fun and modern, not about driving people away from you.
With these three key pointers, Matthew Knouff believes that you should be able to use social media to your advantage, in an ethical way.