With the growth of social media marketing and PPC advertising, more and more businesses are using this avenue to advertise. However, with new ways come new challenges in conducting businesses ethically. Therefore, all companies need to know what they can and cannot do on social media or advertise their products and services.
While participating in some shady business tactics may not technically be against the rules when it comes to the platform you’re using or the way you’re advertising, it does become ethically wrong, which can impact the long-term success of your business. If you’re looking to stay on the right side of ethics while marketing your small business, follow the advice listed below to ensure you’re always doing what’s best for your customers, community, and business.
What Are Ethics, And How Do They Apply To The Digital World?
When it comes to the digital world, many people struggle with understanding what is and isn’t ethical. The lines blur due to the anonymity of the internet and the lack of face-to-face communication. However, in general, ethics can be defined as moral principles that govern a person’s or group’s behavior.
Additionally, this is especially important in business, as good ethics not only increases business but ensures your brand is one that customers can trust. Ethics in business are important as they show that you’re not only looking to make a profit but also care about your customers, employees, and the community, according to Digitalauthority.me reports.
Some of the most common ethical issues in business include:
- Fraudulent activities
- Deceptive marketing practices
- Intellectual property theft
- Workplace discrimination
- Sexual harassment
These are just a few examples, and all businesses must be aware of the ethical implications of their actions.
How To Incorporate Ethics Into Your Digital Advertising
Before you post on social media or invest in your PPC advertising, you’ll want to ensure that your business is acting ethically. Be truthful in your advertising, not trying to take advantage of people, and overall behave in a way that you would want other businesses to behave towards you.
Some specific ways you can incorporate ethics into your digital advertising include:
Be Transparent About Your Products And Services
When advertising your products or services, it’s essential to be as transparent as possible. Be clear about your product, how much it costs and what benefits it provides. While you want to make sure you’re using proper SEO techniques to help your content stand out, you’ll want to avoid choosing keywords or using marketing practices that are deceptive or misleading.
It’s also essential to be honest about the limitations of your products and services. For example, if you’re a web developer and not familiar with a particular coding language, don’t promise your customer that you can do the job. Instead, be upfront about your skillset and recommend another developer who can help.
Avoid Making False Claims
This ties in with being transparent about your products and services. When you claim your product, you need to be able to back it up, for example, through customer testimonials, reviews, studies, or anything else that provides evidence that what you’re saying is true. If you make a false claim and get caught, it will hurt your business reputation, but you could also receive a fine or a lawsuit.
For example, if you’re selling a weight-loss supplement and you claim that it can help people lose 10 pounds in a week, you need to be able to provide evidence to back up that claim. Otherwise, you risk someone suing you who purchased your supplement and didn’t lose any weight.
Don’t Try To Deceive Your Customers
This ethical standard is a big one. It is unethical, but it’s also illegal to try and deceive your customers. Deceivement includes practices like bait and switch, where you advertise one product or service but then try to sell them something else instead. As we mentioned earlier, it also includes making false claims about your products or services.
In general, good branding practices include always trying to be honest with your customers. If you can’t meet their needs or if you don’t have the answer to a question, be upfront about it. Don’t try to mislead them or deceive them in any way.
Fulfill Commitments And Keep Promises
If you commit to your customers, employees, or anyone else, you need to follow through. This action could be something as simple as promising to deliver a product by a specific date or ensuring that your employees have the proper training before they start their job. Whatever the commitment is, it will reflect poorly on your business if you don’t follow through.
Sell Your Products At Fair Prices
This guideline is something that many businesses struggle with, significantly smaller enterprises. It’s tempting to price your products high to make a more significant profit, but you’re going to alienate your customers if you do that. The best way to find the right price point for your products is to research and see what other businesses are charging for similar products.
Then, set your prices within that same range, ensuring that you’re still making a profit but not overcharging your customers. It’s also important to be flexible with your prices. For example, if a customer is willing to buy multiple items or if they’re eager to pay in cash, you might want to offer them a discount.
Create Unique Content
While it might be tempting to make your social media post or PPC advertisement sound similar to your competitors, it’s essential to create content that’s unique to your business. This technique will help you stand out from the competition, and it will also make it easier for customers to remember your business.
To do this, come up with a unique selling proposition or USP. This short statement tells potential customers what makes your business different from everyone else. For example, you might want to focus on the fact that you’re the only business in town that offers a particular service, or you might want to emphasize your high-quality products.
Treat Everyone With Respect
This rule of thumb is vital in all facets of life, but it’s imperative in business. When dealing with customers, employees, or anyone else, always treat them with respect. Be polite and professional, even if you’re having a bad day, and especially important when replying to social media comments, messages, or reviews.
When it comes to running an ethical business, it’s all about ensuring that you’re always putting your customers first. If you follow these guidelines, you’ll be able to build a company that’s both profitable and ethical while still providing an excellent product or service.