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« The new Facebook and its consequences | Main | The illusion of control.... »

March 25, 2009


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John Sternal

Agree 100 percent. Two weeks ago when the owner of a small local deli asked me how he can get on Facebook and Twitter, and tie it into his email marketing (keep in mind this conversation is with a very small, family-owned deli shop), I came to this same conclusion.


Thanks for the post Jon. Very timely commentary. The difficulty is in educating the rest of any organization so they understand these new facets as well as the ones they have been using for so long. Then they can begin to connect the dots to see how it can all interconnect.


I would absolutely recommend including it in your proposals. It gives you an excellent opportunity to educate clients on the value of engaging online. What we all need to explain to our clients is people are talking about your brand, product, issue, etc, online whether you engage or not. If you do engage in the conversation, you can add your point of view and help to lead or shape (not control!) the conversation.

Some clients will still be skittish about using social media, but educating them on the benefits and taking small steps into the space can help alleviate their fears.

Debbie Ebalobo

Moreover, I think that educating clients about the dangers of social media in terms of control or the lack thereof in some cases is paramount. People think that social media is a panacea for all their problems and that is often not the case.


Debbie, I don't think I'd frame the lack of control as a danger, more like a shift in attitude toward transparency that clients need to be educated on. I think the biggest danger for clients in social media is not being open to hearing negative feedback and also not doing the appropriate amount of research before engaging in the social media space. (Interesting article on the topic of criticism: http://www.searchengineguide.com/mack-collier/why-is-your-business-afraid-of-negative.php)

My question for people who think they are in control, what control do companies have in other types of PR? Companies can control putting out the best product possible, how they chose to lead the conversation about their product and how they respond to feedback, but definitely not people's opinions. In my opinion, the sense of control is an illusion set up by familiarity with the traditional methods of PR. You can't control what reporters write about your brand and you certainly can't control what people say or think about your brand. As PR professionals, we certainly try to shape opinions and provide relevant information, but we can't control it.

The internet has just brought to light what people were saying to each other all along through word of mouth that could not be captured in an easy, cost effective way. All the more reason to be paying attention, educating ourselves and trying to learn from social media, not being afraid of it.


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