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Published on November 16, 2009, by in Information.

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Hello all apologies for my lack bloggage, things have been terribly busy here at Onteca on my part and the development team with the preparation for the Monsteca Corral release.

For todays blogging insert i just wanted to talk about the Internet and the effects of using it to promote ones products or services. This method of using the internet for self promotion relates to Social Media.

For those unaware what exactly Social Media is, it is a media designed to be disseminated through social interaction. It is created using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques e.g. Blogging, News Feeds, Forums.

Social Media supports the human need for social interaction, using Internet- and web-based technologies to transform broadcast media monologues (one to many) into social media dialogues (many to many). That is basically the wiki version of what Social Media is.

I am sure those who have followed my blogs you will be aware that i have come to Onteca to help promote their new Wiiware game ‘Monsteca Corral’. Whilst keeping in mind the mass amount of online interaction going down on the web, Social Media engagement is the best promotional tool (and lets not forget its FREE) to use when promoting the game.

Even though the Internet opens up numerous portals when communicating with your audience, it also allows the company to be susceptible to negativity. So rule one (and this one is important), before you chose to publicise your company and their product/s  within the all mighty powerful tech channel you must be aware and prepare yourself for the likelihood of negative response.

When you release information/images or even footage about your product what you are doing is displaying a nice big sign post saying “Free for all, come and pass judgement”. And what this means is, you are inviting everyone to display to all their own personal opinion.

A huge gamble you might say but there is nothing wrong with laying some of your cards out on the table.

I have included in the post a small section something i wrote about Social Media and PR, reeking the rewards the Internet can bring whilst baring in mind that lack of control you will have once you message is out there. Enjoy

Social Media – Losing Control of the message

The emergence of Social Media first materialised after the introduction of Web 1.0. The difficulty the PR industry faces today is the adaptation to Social Media practices, this is demonstrated through practitioners’ unawareness that the media and networking have always been social, however the internet has not.

Hence, the internet is catching up with reality, through new capabilities which has come to be recognised as Web 2.0.

In today’s online society the internet plays a primary role in accommodating PR professionals with a market place of conversations, this however interrupts traditional PR Communication models. Cathy Ace, of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, discusses the problematic affects Social Media has on the original communication model,

“Faced with new communication models today, it now has to adapt to new ways of reaching new groups of people. One of the most complicated problems faced by the PR practitioner today is not to get the message out there – but to monitor what messages are appearing where, and what their impact might be”. (Ace, 2002)
 

The approach PR practitioners take with digital media relations is somewhat different from the approach used in traditional PR; the digital channel is to some extent, eliminating the middleman with online spheres of influence.

The best PR efforts are not only two-way but also symmetrical, allowing the company and the strategic audience equal opportunities to participate in the discussion. (Holtz, 2002)

The Web offers the perfect place of solace for audiences to access and engage with a company directly, this can be done through the means of web sites, blogs, discussion rooms and web forums. However with the beneficial means an online society can provide for a client, it can also present the problematic matters of losing control of the fundamental objectives the company’s PR campaign originally set out to achieve.
 

Simon Collister (In Green, 2009), leading experts in Social Media, feels professional communicators are facing a loss of control over brand and messages:

“They are no longer the only voice articulating the company/clients message. In fact, passive consumers no longer exist. Individuals are proactively involved in reading or watching media; creating their own content; sharing and criticising your brand or product.”
 

Millions of network subsets contain relationship webs built from communities in which largely anonymous individuals have shared interests. Within these subsets, individuals and organisations have one or more reputations – some isolated and others exposed, some helpful and some harmful.

Reputations of large companies and well-known individuals transfer from other environments to online because of longevity and branding communications. Reputations of smaller known firms or individuals are built on the internet by what others say about them online.

As the internet moves toward the centre of communication, risks to reputation are greater, even for well established individuals and organizations. Hence, Social Media outlets do not hold the guarantee of a safer reputational haven that the print industry can offer.

Jim Horton, internet and online PR practitioner, considers that reliability over audience impairment cannot overcome human behaviour. “Humans defeat any process when it is in their interest to do so. As a result, reputation systems are never perfect: they work more or less well.” (Horton, 2008: 1)
 

A recent case study that demonstrates the possible side effects that the internet can have on an organisations reputation, when Social Media tools are not used effectively and monitored is that of British Airways.

The company British Airways learned why online reputation management should be a top priority to their company’s infrastructure, when it appeared a group of employees in London Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 create a chat forum protesting their annoyance with the company on the social networking site Facebook.

“Thanks to the power of social networking, the workers’ rude comments about passengers caught the attention of the press.” (O’Hern, 2008) Watson (2009) discusses his experience with regards to the management of online facilities within Rainier PR.

“There is always a risk that people might make negative comments or remarks, but this risk is lessened if the company is offering a good product or service. The internet simply takes the conversations that customers have always been having and broadcasts. If the company had a bad product or service, then those conversations will be negative. Therefore the conversations will be negative online too.”
 

Social Media tools present organisations with a transparent analysis of their brand, therefore facilitating them with immeasurable exposure through conversations generated by the public on social networking sites. Rather than a company having only one voice, Social Media incorporates the traditional method of publicity through word of mouth, however working via Social Media means.

Further comprehension of the PR industry adapting to the changing towards the Social Media phenomenon was established throughout my placement with PR and Social Media Company, GREEN Communications.

The company demonstrated a clear understanding of the changing communicative market structure and embraced new forms of technological Social Media tools. GREEN interrelated with their clients’ active audiences by association of online conversations – through blogs and social networks. The company showed a clear understand of the problematic areas involved in Web 2.0 technologies, however took the stance of engaging with them and shaping them to accurately reflect their clients brands.
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