Monday, January 24, 2011

Are You Afraid of the Big Bad Blogger?

We have seen the rise of social media in the past few years. Companies have been riding the bandwagon by finding ways to have their products and services talked about in blogs, micro-blogs, social networking sites etc. A number have been paying PR companies to handle it for them, a number have been doing it on their own. Some projects work, some don't. Marketers are probably asking if using social media to reach their consumers is worth it.

Margaux Salcedo published an article on the Sunday Inquirer Magazine, "Please Don't Give Blogging a Bad Name". In this article she calls out an unnamed PR agency and blogger for committing extortion on a resto owner who has refused to pay PhP120,000 a month to have good reviews on a popular food bloggers site. This issue isn't really new. It has been talked about in the community for more than two years now. Margaux only managed to bring it out in the open. 

I am not really interested in the name of the agency and blogger. What I am interested in is putting another perspective into this issue since it's been apparent -- big time (like this) and small time. 

Extortion/black mail is rampant in any industry. There would always be bad apples in any industry. Granted that what this PR agency/blogger is doing is wrong, one should be like Georgia and hold steadfast to what you think is the right thing to do. Your company's reputation should rely on the good service that you provide and not because of a PR spin. Word of mouth marketing works because of that and not because you pay an agency or a blogger to do it for you.

A number of companies have asked me for help on their social media strategy, but since I'm too busy with my day job I just tell them this:

1. If you want to utilize social media to reach out to your customers do it yourself.
2. Be clear on your objectives. Is it to show testimonials? Get more sales? Clear your reputation? Community building?
3. If you really need help, find someone you can trust to help you out. And check the reputation of that person/company you are hiring. Also check if their past campaigns have been successful.
4. What social media helps in is just to get more content online about your product/service. It doesn't really scale and when you do events the effect is just short term.
5. And finally, don't allow anyone to rip you off. 

So don't be afraid of BBB. Be like Georgia :)