To Seed or Not to Seed on Social Media Networks – Stealth Marketing?

Cross fingersA day doesn’t go by (online and offline) where people talk about seeding conversations – afterall it has been said social media is all about conversation and that content whilst important (takes a queen role) where interactions (or conversation) take a KING role.

conversations-matter1So naturally, we need to have conversations online to ensure success (an indicator of success) – afterall agencies will be hammered should there by no conversations online – darn boring!

So what do agencies and corporations do? they seed! they enter the social media space and start talking (in the pretense of just another person – like a customer or potential customer) and hopefully they will engage the audience. Nothing wrong with that per se but is it authentic and may I dare say ethical?

I’ve also seen job placement ads that explicit states “Social Media Seeder” – in my opinion, its fine if one states it at the outset that X is a seeder in the social media space at least that sets the audience in the right frame of mind but my argument here is for those who pretend that they are just like you and I and start contributing away…

Afterall in social media – audiences that participate in this space want candid and truthful feedback and it has been found that a fair number make decisions based on those feedbacks.

So if that is the case, is it ethical to do that from an corporation point of view? Are these corporations ‘lying’ to the audience? What are the implications if the audience finds out that it is actually the agency or the company feeding all these information to the people and they had the impression that they were genuine. Would there be a public backlash? and in turn people may lose trust in the organization and ultimately it will hit the firm’s bottomline.

There are many questions here, until the industry starts to realize and debate about this, then this can move forward, at this moment it is still rather grey.

Is this the beginning of “Stealth Marketing”? – actually lets start defining “Stealth Marketing”

I’m keen to hear your thoughts.

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