This has certainly been the year for discussions around sponsored conversations in social media. The term of a sponsored conversation is mostly described as paid for blog posts. While this is certainly one piece of it, it certainly is not the entire scope of paid-for PR/advertising and limiting the conversation to only bloggers does not provide for a well-educated perspective by which to make reasonable business decisions.
So what does the scope of sponsored conversations look like? Jeremiah does a good job of referencing lists of sponsored initiatives and the companies doing them but still this list is mostly focused on bloggers either being paid or getting free products to “blog” (review, rate, create content, post, etc) about them. What is often over-looked is when companies hire other companies to create content, product releases, buzz, etc on the client’s behalf. Finally, out of all of this do we need regulations in the form of government intervention (ala FTC) or a governing body to be the gatekeepers?
For companies paying individuals, the discussion is quite mature but still scattered (IZEA sponsored a report from Forrester). How much should companies be allowed to pay? Should bloggers be able to make money for producing quality content and garnering a faithful following? What’s the difference between paying Cris Brogan to stay at your hotel chain and hiring Kevin Garnett to wear your shoes? Heck, I eat entire meals for free every time I hit Costco with the free samples there.
For companies paying other companies it seems that this is either completely acceptable or it simply is not talked about much. Sure there are examples of some intermediary screw-ups like Edelman with Wal-mart but surely there is more than this re-hashed story from 3 years ago. Right? Of course, PR firms are hired all the time to create content on behalf of their client and ghost-write posts. Interactive agencies are always “taking care” of the content needs of their clients and passing it off as the client’s work. Then you have Analysts who create reports using paying clients (intentionally left un-hyperlinked and socially connected Lobbyists influencing entire governing bodies. Think about the newspaper industry using expert opinions from companies who advertise with them.
This week’s moderator, Shannon Paul certainly has her hands full with this topic but also has the hands on experience to lead us through it. Working on the corporate side with the Detroit RedWings and now with PEAK6, she has practical experience that is invaluable and being a social media Rock Star in her own right certainly doesn’t hurt either. This week’s discussion will be:
Sponsored Conversations & What It Means for Businesses
Q:1 What are the challenges / benefits from paying individuals to create conversations?
Q2: What are the challenges / benefits from paying other companies to create conversations?
Q3: What type of disclosure is needed and does it require a governing body?
This chat will start Tuesday 12 noon EST and last for 1 hour. To participate simply use the #socialmedia on Twitter from anywhere. To follow along more easily simply goto our LIVE page.