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Cheers vs. a Drive-By

There was a comment on this blog the other day that basically said when marketers comment on a blog “if they disclose that they work for a company, won’t that make people hate the company?”

The opposite is so true.

The more people see your company out there in blogs and message boards, commenting, participating, and generally being a good citizen, the more credibility you get.

Initially, people may be surprised to see you (and may resist a bit). But over time you can prove yourself. Every good post you make, every time you further the conversation, you’re building trust and familiarity. People start to know who you are. They welcome your contributions.

It’s Cheers (the TV show) vs a drive-by. When you show up and spray some garbage out there, no one likes you. When you become a regular … everybody knows your name. Be Norm.

Of course, the all depends on your ability to make valuable blog contributions and not talk about yourself too much. If you are obviously only there as a marketer, then you’re an ass. If you add to the conversation, make it richer, make it more interesting, then everyone welcomes you. (If you don’t understand the difference, you’re an ass and should stay off other peoples’ blogs.)

(One final thought: Disclosure isn’t optional. Marketers must disclose their affiliations. The most basic principle of word-of-mouth ethics. Read this.)

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  1. Craig Rentmeester November 16, 2007 at 10:32 am #

    I couldn’t agree more with post. Disclosure and regular contribution are critically important for companies that get involved in communities.
    I think some people are afraid of disclosure, because they think it will hurt their credibility and reputation. However, I agree more with the other side of that debate — that disclosure actually helps credibility and earns respect.
    You’re point about becoming a regular is very important also. The more often an organization contributes intelligent and thought-provoking ideas, the more they’ll be accepted into a community.
    A relatively recent example that goes against this is John Mackey’s forum posts. I’m glad you mentioned Whole Foods newest policy changes last week. To me, Whole Foods seems to be compounding the problem and could use a consultant, with an objective prospective, to steer them in a more progressive direction.
    Keep up the good work, Andy.
    Craig Rentmeester

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