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Are Social Media Campaigns Already Obsolete?

March 27, 2011

Recently AdAge posted an awesome article about how ineffective social media campaigns can be. It got me thinking about just how useful social media can be to a campaign. I definitely believe that social media is a great tool for answering consumers’ questions and as a response tool for crisis communication. But social media raises a different kind of communication, more two-way, more user friendly, more intuitive.

Although Burger King wasn’t able to increase their sales, their social media was able to help build brand relationships. We have to remember that other factors can also affect sales numbers. And it’s also tough to say how much of a social media campaign helped a company’s bottom line. I do feel as those social media campaigns are great for generating communication and increasing brand awareness, but these campaigns need to be more innovative if their sole purpose is to increase sales. That type of objective would need a different tactic.

Another issue I want to raise about social media is how ethical can some posts be, especially on blogs. It’s easy to read a review, think the product is great and go purchase it, but be completely unhappy with the product. Many bloggers receive “free” products, money on the table, etc to write a positive review even on products that they don’t like. And good bloggers are great at not disclosing if they were “paid” to write a particular post. Is that ethical? My gut says no, because those bloggers can’t write an post free of inhibitions. But how can we as consumers police that? It’s a great idea from a public relations standpoint as you get positive mentions from bloggers, but how can it be ethical?

I’d love to hear and read peoples’ thoughts about social media used in pr campaigns. I think when it’s done well and ethical, it can be a great tool to raise brand awareness and strengthen consumer relationships. But there are always two sides!

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