Brands Must Survive Doubts on Social Media
There is an issue on social media that has been growing for some time. It has to do with content. There is so much content (much of it questionable) going viral on the Internet in a non-stop frenzy. The term “fake news” has become part of our lexicon. By extension, the iconic social media platforms that include Facebook and Twitter are being scrutinized and fans and followers are becoming more cautious – if not paranoid – about what they post, read, or how they engage. And one sector that is facing unintended consequences is the collection of brands that advertise on social – of which there are many.
Rise in a not so social feeling toward social media
Many social media users are understandably concerned about their privacy and are not as trusting when it comes to providing personal information online – including social media. According to a report from CNBC, four in 10 people have deleted their social media accounts this year. Even more daunting are results from a poll conducted by public relations firm Edelman, which states that 41 percent of the world’s population who engage on social believe that brands should be held accountable and fix this growing problem. Nearly half of those surveyed stated they will not sacrifice personal information in return for the convenience of a personalized shopping experience. The ripple effect of this line of thinking may adversely affect everything from social listening to micro-moments, which have proven beneficial to advertising via social media.
What can be done?
The scenario detailed above has people asking the age-old question: “Who do you trust?” Well, the principle has always been that trust is to be earned. And once a trust is broken, it is very difficult to regain. A brand that has a solid online presence and a faithful customer base is already ahead of the game. How then, to maintain this faith? Additionally, how can brands suffering collateral damage from losing customers who delete their social media accounts stay strong?
One high-tech answer to these questions is the implementation of artificial intelligence (AI). As Quartz recently reported, AI can be programmed to identify and collect data on websites that sell and distribute fake news. This will then help advertisers zero in on legitimate sites where content can be posted (and trusted). And, those employees who fear AI will displace them needn’t worry. The Quartz report goes on to state that the human factor will still be needed to work in concert with AI in determining the difference between fake and genuine content.
Additional steps to follow
Applying AI to circumvent trouble on social media is still a futuristic and expensive option for brands to consider in keeping their social presence safe. That being the case, advertisers should be diligent in these practices:
- Social media operates 24/7 – do you know where your ads are? What marketers for brands should always practice – and which is now a necessity – is keeping tabs on how, when, and where their ads are distributed. This sounds basic, but unless a careful eye is kept on social media platforms where certain ads appear, too many brands will risk becoming casualties in the statistics listed in the Edelman report.
- Honesty. Again, this appears to be a basic course of action to take, but brand marketers must make that extra push to always maintain an honest and transparent presence in any online appearance, ranging from their own websites to the social media platforms they select for promoting their products and services.
- Maintenance of a brand’s social media page (or pages). Brands should make it a habit to keep their social pages fresh and alive with new content. The temptation to simply establish an account, place pictures and a general description on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram – and assume that these pages will be noticed, liked, and shared is unrealistic (and now potentially harmful).
These practices are not standalone. They all tie in and complement each other, establishing a foundation for strong and responsible advertising on social media.
It is not a perfect world, and the proliferation of negative content on the social media landscape has the unfortunate potential to hurt positive efforts. By practicing due diligence in maintaining an honest presence, and knowing exactly where ad content is appearing, brands have a better chance of staying strong and relevant on social media.
Contact EGC for any questions or concerns you may have about promoting your brand on social.