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BizReport : Social Marketing : June 28, 2016

Questionable activity on social media turns consumers away from brands

A new study from the Chartered Institute of Marketing urges marketers to keep their marketing honest as it is revealed that many consumers have unearthed dishonest behavior on social media.

by Helen Leggatt

The Chartered Institute of Marketing's recent study, 'Keep Social Honest', reveals a rise in consumers who say they have seen questionable social media posts from brands.

A quarter said they have seen fake online reviews from brands (up from 17% in 2014) while 21% had seen a brand pay for, or incentivize, others to share positive comments on social media without disclosing the fact. Another 16% said they had seen brands pay for a consumer to promote a product without disclosure.

It goes without saying that coming across such questionable activity doesn't bode well for brands. Almost four in ten (38%) those surveyed said they would shun a brand on social media if they discovered that content the brand had claimed to be real wasn't genuine.

Significantly, the study found that fewer social media users today are able to tell the difference between marketing and non-commercial content - 19% versus 38% in 2014. That's despite the UK CAP Code stating that advertising must be made obvious. Furthermore, the Competition and Markets Authority advises that businesses are breaking the law if they fake online reviews or pay for online endorsements without disclosure.

"Misleading marketing communications on social media is a real problem and it's evident that advertisers aren't doing enough to ensure transparency," said Chris Daly, chief executive of CIM. "This isn't always intentional - from previous research, we know that 52% of marketers have little or no understanding of the regulations affecting their communications on social media - but the consequences are still the same."

Check out the CIM's video for tips on how to keep social media marketing honest.

Tags: advertising, brand marketing, law, regulation, social marketing, social media

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