Last week when I participated in a panel discussion in Chicago at the KMG Marketing Symposium, the subject of big companies participating in social media came up. One of my fellow panel members brought up a story about his client Frito-Lay freaking out when a person they hired to manage a activate social media mentioned Coke on Twitter.
No big deal right?
No, it’s apparently a HUGE deal because Frito-Lay is owned by Pepsi.
Here’s the deal with social media: it works best for brands when it’s a free-flowing conversation built on trust. It’s inevitable for these conversations to occasionally mention your competition. Or your holding company’s competition. Or the competition of your CEO’s spouse’s company. It’s gonna happen, and it’s totally ok, people. One mention or acknowledgement of the competition is not going to affect sales. In fact, acknowleging the competition will grow trust between you and your consumers.
It you don’t believe me, go back to believing in the mass media model that says that impressions = sales. We don’t want you in the Social Media neighborhood.