Authentic Marketing in Social Media – Paying People to Seed Comments – Trust


In media such as prints, TV ads, consumers will understand and recognize that these are all paid advertisement and they are perfectly fine with that. After all, this fact is known from the outset.

However what if this is not known from the outside? a trend that I see, from conversations with friends, clients and agencies is the notion of seeding conversations in Social Media. For example, firms employ (and pay of course) individuals to post comments on blogs, forums and such as to create a favourable image for the product and hope that it will generate more traffic and of course generate leads.

commentsIs this right? I don’t know – Well for me, I hate to read comments that are not genuine especially if I found out later that this was a paid post or comment – some one who is employed by the company in question. I would lose credibility in the site or for that matter the product – trust is built in incremental steps but once lost, it falls exponentially – isn’t trust (and candidness) the bedrock of social media? Trust is one of the antecedents (drivers) of Word of Mouth (WOM).

From a marketer’s stand point, sure WOM is something they wish to achieve i.e. a result, by seeding comments, would one lose that trust if found out?

But I can understand from the agencies’s point of view is that it generates discussion in the comments section. Afterall social media is interaction and its success stems from conversations.

What are your views, I’m keen to hear them out.


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