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Social Media: Tip-Toeing The Transparency Line

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Some believe that social media is one of the greatest viral marketing opportunities that has ever been presented. Others felt that it is a passing fad with no long-term future, and that businesses shouldn’t waste valuable time and manpower chasing the social media audience, to which they ascribe the perception of fickleness.

Blogging. Social Bookmarking. Viral Video. The list goes on of the ways that Web 2.0 marketers are looking to promote brand awareness, to get the word out about new products, and to reach new audiences. It requires a lot of investment though, and sometimes the returns just don’t justify the costs of diving headlong into social media.

Matt McGee ponders a similar question in his Search Engine Land article:

No one debates that there are legitimate returns from social media marketing. These returns often come in the form of a short burst of traffic and/or an increase in links. That can improve your search engine visibility, but small businesses, in particular, still have to ask: Is the return greater than the investment of time and money?

One of the underlying concepts of social media, particularly in blogging, is this idea of transparency. Former Microsoft evangelist Robert Scoble took the concept to new heights in his no-holds-barred blog commentaries on the state of affairs in Redmond, showing no fear in taking shots at company CEO Steve Ballmer for some of his decisions.

Is there a point when transparency becomes detrimental, though? Melvin Yuan thinks so:

“Radical transparency” doesn’t mean “reduced accountability” (to the organization, shareholders and customers). If you prioritise blabber above action, you alarm the public and you waste their time. Yes, I’m all for “naked conversations” and “naked corporations”, but who wants a CEO to shift his businesses strategies from boardroom to bedroom?

PR professionals are responsible for helping to pull that act together and make sure that CEOs listen and act in the best interest of the public and every stakeholder. CEOs and their companies must be human, personal and transparent.

So what’s the balance between embracing social media and protecting the interests of the shareholders? As the social media train continues moving forward at blazing speeds, hopefully the line will become more easily distinguishable. 

Social Media: Tip-Toeing The Transparency Line
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  • Spencer

    Corporations better find a way to get on board with 2.0 sites if they ever want to have a chance to market their products and services to 18 to 30 year olds. I don’t know in what other type media you find as many people from that demographic in one place. Here are a couple directories with hundreds of 2.0 sites to explore: http://www.go2web20.net/ and http://www.netjaxer.com .