What’s Ethical Social Media Marketing?

The slime balls of marketing seem to shape the debate of any kind of marketing when it comes to the internet. It’s easy to throw around accusations of spamming, manipulation, or gaming when you see a newcomer on the scene.

I just had a little dialogue about what’s “ethical” when it comes to marketing yourself on social media.

Is it more ethical to market yourself transparently as self-promotion or through an influential social media users?

Of course, neither involves any gaming or anything against the TOS. Which would you prefer?

My first instinct is to go with self-promotion. It’s much more transparent and moreover honest. However, there’s nothing wrong with getting the word out through someone with more clout and better skills and framing your story as a good submission.

Although, transparent self-promotion would be the best it can cause a backlash in social media and arouse unnecessary suspicions regardless of the true motive. I’ve seen the negativity first hand and over the long-term can probably hurt you more than anything.

It would be great if social media sites could establish clearer guidelines but in most cases it’s how the community perceives the submitter and the content being submitted that’s equally important. In most cases it puts honest people who submit their own content at a disadvantage.

The whole social media thing is still new and the people are only realizing the power (and more importantly the money) involved. Social media can make or break a new service on the scene and many marketers are paying attention to the space.

This means you have both ethical and unethical people pursuing social media exposure in earnest. We need clearer guidelines and protection measures to guard against gaming but also need a clear and acceptable way to absorb ethical self-promotion.

Here are a few things that you should NOT do when it comes to social media marketing:

  • Creating multiple accounts to promote your content

  • Joining groups where all the members help promote each other’s content regardless of quality

  • Contacting top members and offering to pay them to promote your content

  • Auto refreshing pages to increase view counts

Those are just a few things I would avoid if you’re trying to be an “ethical” or “white hat” social media marketer. The exact rules do vary from social media site to social media site, so it is important to become familiar with a particular site before trying to promote your content. The best way to do is this is to become an active member.

Social Media Marketing Is Ethical!