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Ever since Forrester put out its report stating that consumers don’t trust 86 percent of corporate blogs, there have been a plethora of blog check up, and reasons why posts. Here are some of my favorites:
- A blog should feel like a gift (Kami Huyse)
- Health Check: How trusted is your blog (Jeremiah Owyang)
- No News Here (Debbie Weil)
- On the Other Hand, Maybe Your Company Shouldn’t Blog (Mitch Joel)
In the end, consumers don’t trust corporate blogs because they are one dimensional pieces of propaganda, and no one want to read corporate drivel (see Blog Council post on topic). It sucks!
Really, it’s that simple.
Welcome to the Twilight Zone: Social Media
One dimensional social media is about me, my personal brand (good Conversation Agent discussion here), my company, our products, buy, buy! Note the absence of real world matters, meaningful dialogues about better products or fixing broken ones, discussion of marketplace problems, meaningful macro trends, cross-links, comments or community issues. There is no substance in your average corporate blog, Twitter microblog ,influencer relations effort or Facebook engagement. Heck, for most corporate communicators engaging on that level is like visiting the Twilight Zone.
This is something that gets to the very heart of social media. People are not an audience, they are a community that wants to be engaged, not messaged at! Want to be safe? Publish a newsletter. Want to build relationships and have meaningful dialogue, then stop publishing content and participate!
Participation is marketing, not tossing a bunch of chic advertising agency designed contests at the blogosphere. Creating meaningful calls to actions that people care about, that’s social media engagement. Create environments for people to engage and get out of their way! Help others achieve their needs and wants. Resolve their problems! That’s what companies should do (case studies here and here).
It’s common sense, but it’s not safe. Because it involves risk, it involves putting the company out there, and taking feedback. It means talking about things other than you or your organizational endeavors. It even means being wrong sometimes.
86 percent stinks. I don’t anticipate that changing too much more towards the positive. Why? Because PR, marketing and corporate communications are incapable of performing on the front line. No matter how much smack they talk.