The social networks are an easy, stable, and cheap source of reaching and engaging the exact profile a brand needs to send their message. More precisely, to sell their product. Social media marketing tools use a good amount of sugarcoating to make their merchandise look and feel more pleasing. The final goal is always to sell the product, and no amount of sugarcoating can hide that fact, which invites the role of moral in social media marketing into play.
The latest statistics on Instagram's business page show that 90 percent of accounts follow brands on their platform, which is an indicator that users are aware of marketing's presence on social media. However, that presence can sometimes be perceived as intrusive or even disrespectful.
IS THERE PLACE FOR MORAL AND ETHICS IN SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING?
Marketeers carefully listen, read, and analyze the needs, thoughts, and opinions of the users. They narrow it and target those who are the most prone to accept their message and buy their product. While not every campaign is unethical, spam-abusive or drowning in obvious advertising, many are so focused on profit, that they leave moral behind.
Nowadays, social media are flooded with promotional material, click baits, and influencers. Users can choose what content they follow, but sometimes the users can't recognize what is real and what is marketing. Whether it's due to the educational level or age of the users, or just the adds being very subtle, not every promo is readable as a promo.
The most evident example can be found among the influencers. They are the users with strong social media presence, mostly on Instagram, and a big follower count. This makes them significant to the marketeers as they are a less costly way and channel of presenting and selling the brand to their followers. Those who follow them and believe in their judgment and experience will be prone to buying the products presented by them. While this is not inherently wrong, if the influencer didn't try the product or doesn't believe in it, it minimizes the moral aspect of the campaign.
Social media marketing relies on creating targeted adds towards people of specific demographics, behavior, etc. It's centered not just on finding what the audience likes about a certain brand, but also on what they need. They discover what they prefer in other brands, and what they would change. With that information, brands introduce revolutionary enhancements and new products. But how much credit does the audience get once those products appear as solutions to them while web-surfing?
USING THE WHITE HATS IN SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING
It is not shameful if the final goal of every business is to sell the product. It's not just a way to achieve the profit and to keep the brand alive. It also represents sharing a vision and passion. However, due to its accessibility and relative freedom, it is easy to stray away from the ethical ride of marketing on social media. It is crucial to always put the white hats on, and follow not just the desire to sell, but also the desire to truly help the target audience.
Marketers can't forget the role moral plays in social media marketing, and how its existence gives credibility to the brand. When the audience can recognize the respect and dignity in one's brand message, it is easier for them to believe in the product's worth, and purchase it. Following this moral formula, marketers should also remember that the needs of the audience being met should be just as of a final goal as the product being sold.
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