With many people leaving social media and a lot of those who are sticking around struggling with the ethical issues around it, I'm sharing my thoughts on whether it's possible to use social media ethically and where I draw the line.
The Ethical Move: https://www.theethicalmove.org/
Social for good and #ReclaimSocial with Tereza Litsa: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1709287/8471875
Ethical small business ownership with Nancy Hyne: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1709287/8295629
The power of community for ethical business with Katie Skelton: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1709287/8862133
Ethical business roundtable: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1709287/10484134
I hang out on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/alexisbushnell/
Find me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SocialMediaForHumans
Join the club to learn more about ethical and effective social media marketing: https://socialmediaforhumans.club/
Voice over by Hawke Wood: https://www.spotlight.com/3490-9081-8844
Hello and welcome to Social Media for Humans, the podcast that empowers you to do social differently. Your host, Alexis Bushnell, and her guests discuss their experience of social media as business owners, users, and ultimately humans. With insights and advice to help you find an effective and ethical strategy that works for you, grab yourself a drinkand join the conversation. Alexis:
Hi, hello, hi. Welcome to another quick tip episode of the Social Media for Humans podcast. I am not sure this is a great topic for a quick tip but I'm going to give it a go! So today I want to chat a little bit about whether you can use social media ethically. So a lot of the people in my circles, I imagine a lot of you listening, are interested in being more ethical, in making your life more sustainable, in not being a dick, so social media is kind of in pop culture now the big baddie. It's not run especially ethically by the people at the top, we know all of the many, many, many bad things about various different platforms, so is it really possible? Can you honestly say with a clear conscience "I run my business through social media, I use social media but I am still an ethical person." Very very quick answer, I believe yes but I will explain that's not where it ends! I will explain why. The way I see it, it is not possible for every single decision you make, for all the ways you live your life to be 100% ethical in the current society that, I assume most of us live in. It's not feasible, you can't do it, so we have to, day to day, make decisions that choose the lesser of the evils and, to me, social media, using social media ethically and using it to support ethical businesses, to support charities and causes and social justice movements, that is the lesser of two evils because yes, you can just leave social media, you can choose and not to use social media at all, delete all your accounts, not be involved in it, but a lot of people are still going to use social media and it will be just the people who don't care and that, to me, is a much bigger problem. So as someone who works in social media, and I will also link to an episode I did with Tereza Litsa which was about using social for good and the Reclaim Social movement, I promise you it is not just me saying this! I am very aware that users have a lot more power than we think we do and how we use social media makes a big difference. So if you run an ethical business it is very powerful for you to be on social media to use these platforms to get to a bigger audience, to grow your business faster, to get to a point where your business is sustainable faster, so that you are drawing in customers you are drawing them away from the unethical alternative, and also you are educating more people about why bar shampoo is better, about why ethical marketing matters, about why living plant-based is important. These are the things and the conversations that need to be happening and they need to be happening loudly and everywhere because not everybody knows this stuff and we can make a lot of noise on social media. So if your business is run sustainably, pays a living wage, is aware of the supply chain and makes sure that all that is ethical, if you are making ethical marketing decisions, if your business is doing all those things and you bring in more people to your business, that is a win ethically. And if you are a consumer and you don't have your own business, even if you do but just bear with me here, if you're a consumer and you are using social media to share the ethical businesses that you know and love, to spread information, to support charities and things like that, again, that is a win because more people are finding out about those things and that's a big deal. I will say that, for me, the line is on paid advertising. For me, and I will stress this, for me, I will not pay for ads on social media platforms because, again, for me, that is where the line is. I don't want to fund financially, in that way, any of these platforms. What I want to do is use them to get out there to people, to grow my own business, and to grow and help grow the business of other amazing ethical small businesses. I personally choose not to financially fund those platforms, that is a personal decision. There are plenty of people who run ethical businesses who do run ads and they run ads because it helps them get further faster, it helps them make more sales, and if that is good for you, great, do it! But my choice, this is partly why I only teach organic social media, is because that is where the line is for me. So I'm just gonna break down a handful of things that, to me, define using social media ethically. One of those things is just abiding by ethical marketing principles, in the show notes I will put links to The Ethical Move who have some great resources on ethical marketing generally, so things like not using FOMO to market, not using really negative feelings like fear and anger and stuff like that to market your product, not creating false senses of scarcity. It's also things like not using clickbait or engagement bait. It's obviously not buying followers, not buying engagement, not joining engagement pods, not doing any of those very sketchy things. It's also not trying to beat or hack or get around the algorithm because basically all of those methods are very unethical. So it's being aware of what you're doing on social media, of how you're using it. So yes, I do absolutely think that you can use social media ethically and I personally think that small ethical businesses, all ethical businesses, should be using social media to grow your business, to reach new people, to find collaborations and other ways, and to get PR opportunities and things like that as well. So it is a really, really great way to get out there and make more ethical businesses successful. So I will leave several links, I also spoke to Nancy Hyne about running an ethical business, and I also spoke to Katie Skelton on a previous podcast about ethical businesses and community, so I will drop all the links to previous episodes where I have spoken to other people about these things so you can check those out if you are interested in a a more rounded, intense discussion about this topic. I would really love to hear what you think because I know this is something that a lot of people are struggling with, like can you really use social media ethically? So I would love to hear your view whether you agree with me, whether you disagree with me, I don't care, I just want to hear how it makes sense in your brain basically. Tell me, you know, where are you on this issue, do you think you can use social media ethically? Do you think it's absolutely not possible? Do you think there's some kind of middle ground like I do, kind of where it's like yeah, it depends how you use it? Let me know, I would absolutely love to hear your opinions. If you are a small business owner and you would like support to use social media ethically and effectively for your business you can come and join the Social Media for Humans Club, it is 30 pounds a month and we have all sorts of trainings and, key, lots of support, places to ask questions of other people who care about this stuff and are also overwhelmed by this stuff, so we would love to have you. You can also support podcast on Patreon where you will get early access to these episodes and also guest episodes. Yay for the upcoming guest episodes! So yes, okay, I will see you for a guest episode next week, take care of yourselves. Hawke: If you want more regular reminders to find your own way to use social media, follow Alexis on your social platform of choice, all the links will be in the show notes. Until next time, be a human.