Ten commandments of social media launched

By Rick Pendrous contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Social media, Marketing

Buying likes on Facebook is not good marketing practice, according to the Chartered Institute of Marketing
Buying likes on Facebook is not good marketing practice, according to the Chartered Institute of Marketing
Social media should not be used by food and drink manufacturers and retailers to make false marketing claims as a means of driving sales, according to the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), which has launched a campaign to encourage companies to adopt better practices.

The CIM has also created a dedicated web site – www.keepsocialhonest.com​ – including a code of practice for the use of social media, which it has dubbed “the 10 commandments”​.

The launch of the campaign follows the release this week of the second set of results from hybrid research conducted earlier this year by the CIM among consumers and marketers in the food supply chain.

While the first set of results, reported earlier this year, showed confusion in consumer understanding of front-of-pack traffic light nutrition labelling, the latest results have identified widespread variation in shopper trust for different food and drink brands and supermarket chains, together with concern about companies’ marketing strategies.

Reporting on the mixed consumer perceptions about the industry’s marketing activities at the CIM’s Food, Drink and Agriculture group meeting in London on Wednesday (June 4), its ceo Anne Godfrey referred to concerns by some 16–18 year olds about marketing not always being responsible. Some described it as “bullshit” ​while others said it was about “convincing people to buy things they didn’t know they wanted”​.

‘Responsible and ethical’

“Any marketer, regardless of whether they are members​ [of the CIM] or not, should be responsible and ethical,”​ said Godfrey.

She outlined CIM plans to raise ethical standards in the sector and change perceptions about marketing to improve understanding of its more positive side, such as informing consumers about products. “We ​[the CIM] are being a little bit more joined up now … we are the voice of the profession; we shouldn’t abdicate that responsibility,”​ she added.

Thomas Brown, director of strategy and insights, then described the results of the CIM research and explained in more detail the new social media campaign.

“Keep social honest looks at how consumers interact with social media,”​ said Brown. “We’ve developed a set of practical recommendations; a set of voluntary standards to help keep social honest and this is going to be a big campaign for the CIM over the next few of months.”

e-learning module

The latest CIM findings are based on a survey of over 2,000 UK consumers and over 100 marketers to find out what brands did on social media. Over the next week or so the CIM will be launching an e-learning module to support its campaign, which is free to its members, Brown added.

Brown noted that in several areas responsible marketing had some way to go. He pointed to one worrying finding from the survey of marketers which found that 83% agreed with the statement: ‘In the last six months as a shopper myself I have seen examples of brands in retail outlets I go to using imagery or words to suggest a product is healthier than it actually is.’

Citing examples of some of the ’10 commandments’ and in particular what marketers should not do on social media, Godfrey said: “Buying likes on Facebook – bad; doing a blog and pretending you are not working for the company – bad.”

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