Wednesday, 10 February 2010

There's No Such Thing As A Free Hunch

It’s a funny old world we live in these days. There’s no way we’d let Bob from accounts pick our next TV commercial on a hunch, but he’s ok to run our corporate Facebook fan site. After all, Bob likes Facebook. He uses it all the time. And anyway, Facebook is free so what’s the harm?

HUGE I tell you. OK, Bob might not be the sex -crazed fool who hijacked Vodafone’s tweets last week (those who are not so easily offended can find out more here). But Bob probably doesn’t know much about brand engagement and the difference between permission and interruption marketing. He probably doesn’t know his apps from his apples either, if we’re honest.

You see (Bob), having a Facebook presence because you feel you should is a bit like sending someone a piece of junk mail because you want a new pen friend.

As a PRO I am used to having to fight my corner when it comes to getting my share of the social media pie – but I am increasingly having to fight Bob to get it - and that’s not fair.

My dear old Dad once told me (when I was a slimmer and less wrinkly version of my current self and about to embark on a career in PR) that, “advertising is controlling what you say about yourself and PR is controlling what others say about you.” I am not saying I am old - though that was some time ago – but it still rings true.

Yes, Facebook is free but so is The Clap – and we don’t much want that, do we? Facebook, like all social media, says an awful lot about a company – whether your all about ME, ME, ME or you, you, you (the latter being infinitely more appealing). It’s a new(ish) platform but relies on the tried and tested PR techniques of old to work so move over Bob from accounts (and Jemima from 12 Bubbly Baboons for that matter). Social media is ours, all ours...


  1. Hi Jane

    I'm afraid I slightly disagree with you... Social media is more about unstructured, free-flowing conversations that are less about 'corporate-speak' and marketing messages. People are looking for authenticity. But (and here's a big but), anyone who uses it on behalf of their organisation has to play by certain rules and codes of conduct.

    We can't and shouldn't stop employees from engaging with customers as long as they operate within this code of conduct. Training is required to stop the 'Bob's. They already have telephones and email accounts, so they potentially already can say what they want.....

  2. Ah, I think we do agree (really, deep down!). I find it's the Bobs of this world that think their sales messages make for good status updates. I think you have to be more more clever than that. Ikea, Starbucks and Burger King have used PR on Facebook to amazing effect and I think we need to see more of that! Friends again!?