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Inducements for Bloggers

Bhanu at the Indian Social Media blog posts about the practice:

Prizes, Money and expensive gifts do spoil people’s mind and their skills. But one has to understand and make their own decision, whether to support these acts or discourage these acts. Believe me, being in a controlled messaging world, I feel social media is a place where one can express his or her views openly without any hassles.

I recently came across few blogger communities who are equally supporting these acts. Please guys.. why can’t we keep these communities clean and not handover ourselves to these selfish motives.

Certainly, there are other marketers who understand the value of Blogs and other Social Media Platforms, who see that they don’t loose out the essence of this platform. I would term Social Media as People’s Media.

So let people decide what is wrong and what is right and not try to influence them with Gifts & Prizes. Of course, there can be gratifications, but there should not be any motive behind it.

What do you think? 

I think the following are OK:

  1. Marketers contacting bloggers to try out a product/service without any obligation for a ‘positive review’ – Heck, just getting exposure on a big blog and participating in conversations about the product and features is a big deal, IMHO.
  2. Bloggers making it public that the product was given to try out and they are reviewing it as a goodwill gesture. This has to fit in with the overall voice of the blog. 
  3. If the product is being given as a gift – then the blogger has to make that clear too – as that would impact the overall perception of the post. 

Overall the blogger has to ensure that his/her integrity is not called to question – if that happens the whiplash from the reader and blogger community can be vicious and have tonnes of negative fallout for both the brand as well as the blogger. 

Losing an audience means no more such inducements in the future. As the old adage goes – it’s tough to build up reputation but quite easy to lose it.

And check this example out:

Coca-Cola Co. decided to let its users dominate discussion about the soft drink on Facebook.

The popular Coke fan page on the social networking site wasn’t created by the company, but rather by Los Angeles actor Dusty Sorg and writer Michael Jedrzejewski. It had more than a million fans when Facebook called Coca-Cola to alert them that the page violated the social network’s terms of service because it wasn’t operated by the trademark owner. Take over the site, Facebook told Coke, or we’ll take it down.

Instead, the beverage maker flew the pair to its Atlanta headquarters in January, took them to a hockey game, gave them a VIP tour of the Coke museum and let them play Eric Clapton’s guitar, then proposed that they officially run the page for the company. The two agreed. It now has more than 3 million users.

“Our social media marketing approach is that we want to be everywhere our consumers are,” said Michael Donnelly, Coke’s director of global interactive marketing. “There’s significant risk in being perceived the wrong way.”

Update: A blogger shared recently that a firm he applied to asked him to review their product on his blog. When he asked if it was part of the application process, they said it wasn’t. He didn’t get round to doing it – as he was unsure what kind of blog post they were expecting out of him.

The organization also hasn’t got back to him on his application process.

To Marketers who want to use Social Media

Social Media Marketing Madness Cartoon by HubSpot
Image by HubSpot via Flickr

This got triggered by Dina‘s tweet today, to which I replied.

So here’s a longer thought for all Marketers who are looking at ways to “use” Social Media:

Please don’t try to “use” social media.

For folks like us, it’s a community – where we hang around and collect and have conversations. Some of those conversations could be about the stuff that you want to sell.

If you want to join us and participate as a member of the community – you’re welcome.

However, if all you want to do is only say “Here’s my product, buy it!” like you do in TV commercials – sorry, you’ll turn us off!

Think of social media in an analogy – in the physical world there are parties we go to. Do you go there as someone who likes to party, or as someone with a ‘marketer hat on’ and looking for “prospects”?

If you go as the latter, I am sure you’re not very successful.

We’ve all seen the sorry looking folks at parties who’s looking to buttonhole you with his visiting cards and sales spiel – with a conversation that’s more about “I” and having very few “you”s.

I’m sure you don’t want to be like that person in the party.

So welcome to social media. Join the conversations on Twitter, Facebook or Blogs. But if all you’re going to do is talk about yourself you’re going to bore us out of our skulls.

Update: I read the party analogy somewhere, but don’t remember where. If you blogged about it…do leave a comment!

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