The National Advertising Review Council is calling for clear disclosure from bloggers who are paid for product reviews or whose work is sponsored by companies they blog about. However, some people think the guidelines go too far. For example, they would require a blogger to disclose in a product review that the product had been provided free by a vendor. Such disclosure has never been practiced by traditional media companies.
Robert Scoble un-follows 106,000 people in one shot and says he’s relieved. Perhaps we’re beginning to see the backlash against social media over-exposure. We shouldn’t become a victim of the need to constantly communicate.
What happens when consumers’ shared experiences are more interesting than anything your marketing department can provide? Marketers have to learn the tools of interaction in order to adapt to conversations going on outside of their control. Those consumer experiences can also yield valuable ideas for marketing programs that reflect what the audience really wants to talk about.
The article cites the experience of GlaxoSmithKline, which dealt with consumer confusion over its Alli weight-loss drug by setting up the My Alli community site to support discussion, videos, FAQs and a membership plan to aid in weight loss. This wrapped useful information (and a marketing message) in a warm and friendly environment.
BusinessWeek’s Gene Marks skewers some common misconceptions about social networks. They’re not free, he says. In fact, they require a significant investment of time. And you won’t necessarily find customers there. He also advises business owners not to spread themselves too thin. If you find a platform that works, put your efforts behind that one. Good advice, if not necessarily groundbreaking.
BrandWeek interviews Bonin Bough, PepsiCo’s new social media director. He’s spearheading a broad and deep push into all kinds of channels that enable customers to interact with the company and create their own content. PepsiCo is actually sponsorsing bloggers to cover some trade shows, effectively setting the company up as a competitor to newspapers. Bough has some nice sound bites. “If you really think about it, it’s the largest broadcast network in the world, and in such a short amount of time, too. People are willing to share if they are given a structured opportunity to do so.”
“The word ‘campaign’ has become the pariah of social marketing,” says MediaPost. “Preferred alternatives include terms like ‘program,’ ‘initiative,’ or even ‘conversation.’” This article speaks truth. The old 13-week campaign doesn’t work in a conversational medium. You need to build relationships, and that takes times. The good news? Relationships can last for many years.
Still, this new reality challenges conventional thinking and standard operating procedure. For one thing, agencies are paid to create campaigns with defined beginnings and ends. How do you compensate the agency for open-ended conversations? Also, the beneficiaries are likely to extend beyond the marketing department, which means that organizations need broad-based buy-in to make social media “campaigns” successful.