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Corporate Social Responsibility

Do you have a duty of care in what you share on social media?

This April, Ogilvy shook up the social media marketing world by announcing they would no longer work with influencers who retouch photos of their faces or bodies.

In a conversation with The Drum, Ogilvy’s head of influence Rahul Titus said “We have a duty of care as marketers, as agencies and brands to the next generation of people so they don’t grow up with the same stuff we are seeing now.” He's referring to the kinds of glossy, retouched images which can negatively impact mental health and cause body dysmorphia.

It's a powerful stance, and one that has no doubt won loyal followers for Ogilvy. The question now is, will their actions set off the chain reaction they are hoping for? Will social media marketers and agencies around the world follow suit?

Do social media managers have a duty of care to their followers?

Increasingly, brands are playing a larger role in creating digital worlds for people. This presents a real opportunity for brands on social media – looking out for the wellbeing of your followers is not only the responsible thing to do, but a chance to build stronger connections and trust with your audience, which will have an overall positive effect on your brand.

We know that social media is developing a reputation for its impact. A study published in JAMA Psychiatry journal suggests teenagers who spend more than three hours a day on social media are more likely to develop mental health problems such as anxiety, aggression, depression, and antisocial behaviour.

There is also a growing expectation that brands will engage on a societal level, playing a part in addressing pressing issues – including mental health. So responding to the issues around social media can in effect boost brand trust, and brand building is an important aspect of your social media strategy.

How to care for the wellbeing of your online community

Dove is a great example of a brand that has built brand love around the fact they use unedited women in their advertising. Dove only works with influencers that don't distort their image on social media, choosing to celebrate real bodies instead. This has won them plenty of fans – and fame. It's clearly a strategy that works.

So, how can you engage in responsible practices as part of your social media strategy? As well as taking retouching and editing photos into account, you can examine how your creative impacts your audience.

  • Take a page out of Ogilvy's book and consider which influencers you work with, and whether they are having a positive or negative impact on their followers. Is their messaging aligned to your stance as a brand, and do they represent realistic bodies? 
  • Include diverse individuals in any images you use - that can look like a range of people from different backgrounds, ages, and body shapes. This has a positive effect on your followers, and can help build brand trust.
  • Add some positivity to people's feeds by sharing CSR posts. These types of posts consistently see positive sentiment.
  • Where natural, remind your followers to spend time offline - it might sound counterintuitive asking people to leave the channels where you're marketing to them, but just look at the publicity and positive sentiment Ogilvy has received since publicly standing up for healthier social media marketing.

When you're making these changes, you can track the sentiment and engagement results in Zavy. See how taking a stand in your social media content can boost your performance, in our real time dashboards.

See Zavy's analytics tools in action. Book a demo in Australia or New Zealand today. 

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© Zavy 2021
© Zavy 2021