Matthew Knouff is an expert on social media ethics. More and more often, he has come to understand that people don’t quite know what “social media ethics” are, and why they are important. As a result, they engage in numerous activities that can really harm them and their reputation. Social media ethics are about being honest and respectful, and understanding how important this type of behavior is. So what are some of the social media behavior mistakes he has spotted?

  1. Excessive Advertising and Spamming

A lot of companies believe that if they just advertise the same thing again and again, someone will eventually see it and engage with it. However, this is a form of spamming, a highly unethical behavior and one that the general public does not agree with. Unfortunately, a lot of marketing agencies still use these methods, meaning that the businesses in question aren’t even aware of this poor behavior. Hence, Knouff recommends that companies regularly monitor the behavior of their marketing agencies.

  1. Poor Planning

This is perhaps not really unethical, but it is a bad choice regardless. Social media campaigns often fail because people simply don’t understand how to properly plan and prepare for them. It is about more than launching the site, it is about being ready to use it properly – and ethically.

  1. Measuring Social Media

We live in an era where every piece of data is analyzed and used to make predictions and measure goal achievements. This isn’t really possible with social media. While it can certainly be used to measure something like public perception, perception is never a given. Social media is about being social, and being social and ethical should always translate into better perception. It is not a measuring tool, it is a communication tool.

  1. Forgetting to Test

There are so many different social media platforms out there, that businesses must figure out which one will work for them. There is not enough time to use them all, after all. Hence, testing is vital to ensure the right platform is being chosen.

  1. Using Poor Avatars or Profile Pictures

Profile pictures should be reflective of who you are. Ethically, you can only use an image that represents you, such as picture of your CEO or of your company’s logo. The same is true for your cover picture, which should be engaging and interesting, but also yours to use. Too many companies continue to commit copyright infringement by taking pictures they like, but that aren’t theirs to use.

According to Matthew Knouff, overcoming these issues is the best way to use social media. At the same time, he warns that it is vital that regular, unique, and interesting updates are posted (not too many, as that can become spammy again), and that companies respond to their customers. Not engaging when using social media is perhaps the greatest faux-pas of all, and will really work against you. It could even be argued that it is unethical to not engage with your customers, since they took the time to engage with you and you should have some common courtesy.