#SMCAKL: Social media, PR, and using the media to promote products

Social Media Club Auckland kicked off its first event of the year last week, discussing the using social media for PR. Following hot on the tracks of the My Food Bag hubbub, panelists Deborah Pead of Pead PR, Hazel Phillips (editor at Idealog) and David Fisher from the New Zealand Herald deftly argued the merits of using media (particularly journalists) to promote products on Twitter.

(Skip to the 17 minute mark to get to the panel discussion)

Deborah Pead

  • Tweeting is a form of thanks now, retweets are seen by many as applause.
  • The ‘#ad’ disclosure should be used anytime money is exchanged for a Twitter promotion, as stated by the Advertising Standards Authority.
  • Minimise the risk of negative reviews by selecting the right kinds of influencers.

Hazel Phillips

  • A call to the Advertising Standards Authority shows no complaints for the #MyFoodBag tweets.
  • The #ad stipulation is strictly for paid situations, there was no editorial control from Pead PR with its My Food Bag blast.
  • Always be skeptical of media. The safest stance is to approach all news with a healthy level of distrust.

David Fisher

  • Accepting small gifts and tokens snowball into larger issues, ebbing away at the integrity of media. Otherwise it becomes casual, he says.
  • If you’re going to write about something you should buy it as your reader would.
  • You can’t extend the trust you have for one PR company out to everyone who tries to pimp things out to you.
  • Media personalities give away some of their brand value by freely participating in this kind of communication. An example is Marmite, which for the past two years has been getting tremendous press because of its absence from shelves – all the while not paying a cent for advertising.

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