Issues about trust, transparency and ethics in social media are being discussed around many dinner tables this week. Facebook’s so-called data breach is dominating news cycles, and the story is making people more aware of how the social network uses their data. Of course, this wasn’t exactly a data breach, because users have willingly agreed to allow Facebook to access and sell their data. They just didn’t really understand what they have been agreeing to.
Still, the Cambridge Analytica story is making people question their participation on Facebook. This could be a worry for brands who have come to depend on it as THE channel for personalized digital marketing. They are worried that their customers will #deleteFacebook or even bail on social media altogether.
They worry unnecessarily. More likely, only a handful of users will leave. Others will become more cautious with their privacy and with what they post online. Facebook will continue to be an effective marketing platform. However, brands can’t be, or be seen to be, complicit in the abuse of consumer data.
Now more than ever, brands must be fully transparent about the information they collect and keep. To build trust and long-term positive customer relationships, brands need to demonstrate how they protect data and how its use benefits customers. Click To Tweet They should be informing customers and fostering discussion about privacy protection and data security. They should be listening to customer concerns and making changes if necessary.
This is not the end of social media marketing. It’s not even the beginning of the end. Perhaps it’s the beginning of a new more principled approach? If so, let’s welcome it!