Is Resisting Social Media as a Marketing Tactic akin to Fighting with Hands Tied?

I’m a new member here, and have a topic I’d like to propose to the community. I haven’t seen this discussed much in depth anywhere else at this point, and I’ve had this subject on my mind for quite some time.

Several years ago I left a career in online marketing. At the time, I was noticing the manipulative data practices that Facebook, and pretty much all Social media and other advertising platforms were beginning to embrace. I saw huge ethical dilemmas with the direction and merging of technology + marketing. Now, years later, after changing careers I am starting a business as a Dietitian/Nutritionist. As I lean on my past marketing skills, and look to promote my business, these ethical issues have reemerged for me. Over the past few years it’s been simple for me to ignore social media. But now I’m faced with the dilemma of “do I use social media to help promote my business, or not?” Using social media like Facebook groups and Instagram to find potential clients has become a huge trend I’ve noticed now within this nutrition space, and is routinely recommended. I’m not keen to embrace this, but at the same time wonder if ignoring social media is akin to growing my business with my hands tied behind my back, while others completely embrace it and grow quicker. At the very least, I see benefit in it as a way to promote articles I’ve written on my own site to get people back to.

Anyhow, I’m struggling with a paradox of “should I” / “how should I” use social media for my business. IF I do, how do I do so ethically, and without falling into the pitfalls? If I don’t, am I holding my business back? Am I essentially fighting with my hands tied behind my back because I don’t embrace Instagram or Facebook the way other practitioners do?

I’m curious if other marketers / small business owners have struggled with this as well. If so, wondering what their approach and mindset has been. I personally don’t feel like there’s a perfect answer or solution to this question. But I also feel like it must be something that others have faced or are facing. The fact that these social media companies have basically been turned into giant marketing machines creates hugely ethical issues for marketers with a conscious. For me, I’m thinking that means I need to develop my own framework and code for how I choose to participate, and communicate with people on these platforms (if I do choose to). Curious how others are approaching this… Thanks!

1 Like

Thanks for sharing your interesting story and for your insight.

Perhaps if we thought of “social media” as “social advertising” that would be closer to the definition of what “social media” really is. I personally would even prefer to have it renamed to “social advertising”. :slight_smile: That’s because that’s what people and companies do on social media, they advertise themselves, or their ideas or those of other people. It’s propaganda like all of the media. I think propaganda and media are considered synonyms.

When it comes to your business, the ethical concerns are numerous but those extend beyond just social media. What you do in social media should be help to the same standards as people you meet in person. Decide for yourself what’s best. How would you like to see the world?