Are Marketers Turning Social Media into Junk Mail 2.0?

Are you That Guy?

The collective here was wondering about this the other day.  We get a lot of mail… call it direct mail, call it junk mail, it doesn’t matter.  Most of it gets recycled right off the bat, but on rare occasions we do get some useful items (typically coupons to the local car wash or two-for-one sandwhich deals).  But most of what we receive goes straight into the recycling bin since we’re not in the market for new vertical blinds, fleece from LL Bean and no longer desire free panties from Victoria’s Secret.

Similar to what’s filling our real world mailboxes, we often feel that a lot of what comes to our attention through Facebook or Twitter isn’t relevant or exciting.  And a big part of that may be due to fellow marketers pushing their clients non-stop.

Depending on who you speak with regarding peer-to-peer channels, the guidelines on disclosure can vary.  We subscribe to the “be obvious” school of judgment.  If you’re an employee of a company and you make a Facebook post about an event you have going on or new product your launching, it’s probably obvious to your friends that this is somewhat about your job (regardless of if your employer asked you to make the announcement or not).  On Twitter or in a message board, your profile can should reveal a lot about you.  When you’re a contractor (say part of an external PR support team, such as BBPR ;-)), the lines tend to get a little blurred on what you’re posting because you really endorse it and what you’re endorsing because you’re getting paid.

As marketers, we need to be vigilant and ethical about how we communicate online.  Let’s say a large-scale PR firm launches a new campaign for a client.  Is it ethical for each person at the firm to post about “this cool new _____ I found” with feigned enthusiasm?  We’re not sure, but what do you think?   Similarly, what if everyone at a particular company submitted a story to Digg because their employer asked them to (or they were paid to)?  That could very much skew what comes our way.

(You can read the full article about the above image here: http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2007/04/hacking_social_)

We don’t have the answer to this question, just our own opinions.  However, we do believe a level of disclosure is needed for marketers and companies in general.  Otherwise…. well, Facebook is going to be a lot less fun.

If you were wondering if we disclose when promoting our clients online, just see below:

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~ by doubleb on November 17, 2009.

2 Responses to “Are Marketers Turning Social Media into Junk Mail 2.0?”

  1. […] So what’s the secret to social media?  There isn’t one.  Should your brand be on Twitter or Facebook?  The short answer is yes, in one way or another.  However, look hard at what you have to offer via these tools, what your consumers want to see and how much time you can devote to things people will want to know about.  Devote time to where your audience is.  Interact and engage in an appropriate manner.  Don’t be “that guy.” […]

  2. […] So what’s the secret to social media?  There isn’t one.  Should your brand be on Twitter or Facebook?  The short answer is yes, in one way or another.  However, look hard at what you have to offer via these tools, what your consumers want to see and how much time you can devote to things people will want to know about.  Devote time to where your audience is.  Interact and engage in an appropriate manner.  Don’t be “that guy.” […]

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