Content marketing: a force for good

With so much attention given to social media and content marketing, we often overlook the implications of what we post and share — and how those posts and shares can influence audiences and lead to success. One thing’s for sure, however, if you want to be successful with your social media and content marketing campaigns, special attention needs to be given to ethical considerations.

Unless you've been hiding under a rock, you're well aware that social media and content marketing can be a force for good. Here’s all you need to know to ensure you’re promoting and marketing using social media and content in the most ethical way.

Transparency is key

Say it like it is. If something’s an advertisement, state unequivocally that it is an advertisement. If you are reviewing a product you got for free, make sure to disclose that fact. The more up-front you are about your intentions in posting content, the more trustworthy you become to your readers and followers.

Don’t spam

When you publicly spam your social network with content that isn't useful, insightful, or anything of value, users will eventually get tired of you. It's better to promote your business once a day, interact with customers, and talk with them about the products and services you have to offer.

Social media accounts that push a hard sell tend to be ignored by followers — or even worse, they end up being blocked or unfollowed. When it comes to social media, a #humblebrag about a new product or service can quickly turn into a #humblefail. Instead of bragging about how great something is, let the audience come to their own conclusions.

Remember that social media is about relationships. Social media isn't about broadcasting; it's about conversing. Post once or twice a day, but make sure each post has something to say. Interact with your followers, like and comment on their posts, and help them out whenever you can. A little bit of effort will go a long way on social media; if you genuinely care about your community, they'll notice.

Don’t embellish or distort

Don't embellish things — we all know you love the dream you're working to make a reality. But if an idea is too good to be true, your audience will see right through it. When people feel like they aren't getting the whole truth, there's no reason for them to stick around.

Being completely transparent is paramount in today’s world. It’s important to communicate exactly what you want, how you want it, and who you are. If you present yourself as a credible resource, people will be supportive of your business. That’s why it's important to be honest about exactly who you are and what you stand for.

Privacy should be taken seriously

Privacy matters. If the past few years have taught us anything, it's that we're more connected and willing to give over information than ever before

Taking a customer-centric approach means that businesses work hard to ensure that collected personal information is collected, stored, and shared responsibly. Businesses must take great care of the information that they hold.

Businesses should have a privacy policy that is easy to view and understand on their website. A privacy policy is the first step towards transparent behaviour that earns customers' trust, so it's important for brands to be forthcoming about how they collect, store, use, and share personal information with their customers.

Don’t over-promise or under-deliver

Making promises, making things happen — it’s a lot harder than it sounds. It’s tempting to want to make everybody happy, but you can’t. If a promise slips through the cracks, say sorry. If you say you’re going to do something, follow through! Disappointing those who follow you is absolutely not desirable, and could harm your reputation.


Be honest when writing your headlines. While it is important to catch your readers’ attention, you need to be transparent about the content of the post for them to read further. Using clickbait can backfire in the long run — when readers see that content doesn’t live up to hype, they may stop reading altogether.

Be factually correct

We all know that truth is stranger than fiction, but with so many stories being shared online every day, distinguishing the two is getting harder with every passing minute. While it’s tempting to peddle statistics out of context or point to quantitative studies that are open to interpretation, this is never a good idea. The most effective way to combat “false news” and build an image that is trustworthy is with good old-fashioned fact-checking.

Avoid negative backlash

In business, it’s important to be mindful of how your actions reflect on your organisation — and not just the legal ramifications. Publicly spouting bad news about another brand can reflect poorly on you and your brand — and even cause more harm than good. It's far more effective to resolve differences with another company privately and professionally, so that you can avoid negative online backlash.

Controversy for publicity sake

Controversy is a double-edged sword. It can easily be used to get people's attention, but should be used with caution; controversy for the sake of getting free publicity will not only turn some people off, but will also make them decide not to do business with you in the future. It's better if you avoid controversy if you can.

Avoid scare tactics

The world is full of deception and dishonesty. People are very easily persuaded, and it can be difficult to determine if a news article or advertisement is presenting an honest message or one that is meant to scare people into doing something. When you’re honest with your audience, they will trust you and come to you for additional information and services — and the cycle begins again.

Plagiarism is a big no-no

Plagiarism is a big no-no in the world of content marketing, which means that no one should ever take someone else's work and present it as their own. Not only is plagiarism unethical, it can also be damaging to your reputation.

If you see a funny meme, share it! But be sure to name the original author. If you use an image, make sure it’s in the creative commons, and properly attribute the image to its source.

Stand up and be accountable

The best brands listen to their customers and respond to their concerns. When people make mistakes, businesses need to step up and take responsibility — it's the only way to build trust and loyalty. If you've made an error in your content, whether it's an app or a blog post, address the issue head on. By doing so, you'll have more success resolving problems with ease.

The power of words

Authors and poets know the power of words — the ability to influence, entertain, and bring joy to those who read them. Marketers have used this knowledge for over a century to sell products and services to eager customers

Words have the power to build, or destroy. When used correctly, they can build a brand and a reputation. When used incorrectly, they can falter a company and its products. But when words are used responsibly, they can open up a whole new world of possibilities for brands and their products.

Use the power of social media and content to grow your business ethically. Social is unique in that it can be used to share information, raise awareness, and connect with customers, clients, and partners on a more personal level. Social media is an incredible resource that you can use to your advantage — but like any tool, it's important that you use it correctly.