The PilmerPR team has spent a lot of time learning about social media, which is now an essential new tool for all of us as business and PR professionals. As we all know, Internet use is off the charts, and taking advantage of this medium is now a basic part of reaching target markets.
Some new data came out recently from the Online Publishers Association, revealing that Internet users are spending 47 percent of their time online reading content, and another 33 percent for communication. Social media blends both of these activities – offering both original content in the form of blogs or online news sites and a communication vehicle through sites such as MySpace and Facebook.
Companies are hearing over and over again that social media are integral to a comprehensive marketing and PR campaign. But while reading this Computerworld story we have to remember to be careful when we use social media sites for marketing or public relations – because not every endeavor will be met enthusiastically by social media users.
Computerworld reported on the backlash Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has received for creating a “Roommate Style Match” group on Facebook. Wal-Mart likely created the group to utilize the enormous popularity of Facebook to reach their target customers.
Unfortunately, some users don’t appreciate being targeted with corporate advertising or public relations when they visit their favorite social media site. One post on Wal-Mart’s Facebook group said, “Facebook should take the number of negative comments on this page as a note that we don’t support this company for its use of a space for social networking. This space is for people talking to other people. Facebook, get your priorities straight.”
PR professionals agree, as demonstrated in this PRWeek story. Social media is a force to be reckoned with, and it should be included in every good campaign. Just don’t forget to do your research, and truly join the online conversation, instead of trying to force it.Share