Ethics and social media: Understanding your responsibility

RTL Digital Media loves to welcome subject matter experts to share their knowledge with our friends and clients. Social Media Examiner’s Marketing Manager, Kim Reynolds was gracious enough to share her thoughts and advice on how to integrate personal ethics into business social media and how businesses can use social media to change the lives of every day individuals.

How do you integrate your personal values in social media when working in a business setting?

I am very open about my faith to anyone who wants to research my social accounts. That being said, business is business. On a few, rare occasions, I have encountered situations that would necessitate choosing between what is right and what is profitable. I can’t say I was not tempted to wander into the “gray zone”. One time in particular, I had to really dig deep and take it to the Lord. Looking back, I am very grateful that I stayed the course and was steadfast in my faith.

Do you feel businesses have a moral obligation in how they execute their social strategy?

I do. The moral obligation is not aligned with a particular faith. Rather, it is acting in alignment with human dignity.

Who inspires from an ethical combined with success perspective in social media?

Michael Stelzner, Founder and CEO of

How do you think businesses can use social media to pay it forward and impact lives of others?  On the flip side, how do businesses inadvertently hurt individuals?

Large corporations have even larger platforms available to them to bring awareness to causes that the company believes in.  They have the opportunity to use that platform to educate the general public on a particular causes’ needs.

One of the things I really love about being a part of social media is seeing social media platforms do this very well.  FB has created multiple ways for individuals to show their support for multiple causes.  A great example of this is how Facebook implemented the functionality for individuals to register as organ donors through using the Facebook event of registering to become and organ donor.  Facebook has integrated it’s platform with Donate Life to help save lives through organ donation registration and awareness.

Where do you see social media headed in everyday life and how will that have a positive impact on individuals?

As real time streaming becomes more and more popular, transparency will no longer be an option. Society will gravitate to honesty and will more likely to trust amateur video vs video edited by a corporation. It will help individuals to make more informed decisions across all aspects of daily living.

How can businesses fail and social media and have a negative impact on the public?

There isn’t a business out there that is going out of their way to hurt any past, current or future customers.  But unfortunately, mistakes happen which do hurt customers and companies must be extremely aware of every move they make in order to keep that from happening.  And it doesn’t have to be social media

An example of this is incorrect use or inappropriate timing of a hashtag. Entemann’s created a hashtag of #notguilty to use in conjunction of telling your story about indulging in their sweet treats.  Unfortunately, they released the campaign on the same day as the verdict of the Casey Anthony trial.

How do you think being morally mindful of social strategy can impact a businesses bottom line?

I don’t think being morally mindful should be limited to just the social strategy.  I think it is a business skill that leaders should practice at every level of their business.

Micheal Stelzner is a servant leader.  For him, he isn’t thinking about how he can impact the bottom line as much as how he can help our customers.  When customers notice that a service provider cares about them verses carrying about the sale then they want to do business with that company.  That is how being morally mindful positively impacts the bottom line.

What was your biggest social media mistake?

Not having the correct copyright release for an image used on a blog.

Words of advice?

When in doubt….wait.

Whatever you put out there….rest assured, it will be out there for forever.

Get really comfortable with video blogging….it is the future of communicating with your clients.


Smart Ideas. For Free.

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Ann began her professional career as a customer service representative. After outgrowing that position, she worked as a Virtual Assistant for a logistics and real estate company. Her keen interest in technology and natural ability to apprehend technological concepts and systems brought her to the RTL team. Ann’s work ethic and firm knowledge of SEO are greatly appreciated.

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Ann holds a Bachelor of Science in Information Systems.