Social Media and Honest Opinion

May 13th, 2009 by

YellSo this evening I was making myself a sandwich for tomorrow’s lunch and started thinking about how good the new Hilshire Farms cracked black pepper turkey breast is.  I thought to myself in that moment, I should tweet about how good this is just in case there are other turkey sandwich lovers out there.  And then, I thought to myself, in a world full of social media addicts, mommy bloggers, and affiliates how do you know who’s feedback to trust anymore?

Everyone is online these days using social media, from major brands to stay at home moms.  Many businesses are using the means of social media to advertise, promote, and share their products.  In many instances people are paid or given incentives to share their opinions, praises, or thoughts on new products.  With things like this in place how do you know whose opinion to trust and whose to disregard?

With the FTC looking to regulate social media advertising more we might start seeing differences in how people approach blogging, tweeting, or sharing their praises about brands or their products on the net, but have we reached a point where we can no longer decipher between honest opinion and social advertising?

What are your thoughts?  Is social media and the internet diluting sincere opinions of products and brands, or do you still think people can easily see through the promotional hype?

By the way, the Hilshire Farms deli sliced cracked black pepper turkey breast is damn good, and NO Hilshire Farms didn’t ask me to tell you that.

4 Responses to “Social Media and Honest Opinion”

  1. When I say HILSHIRE, you say FARMS

    I think u have a valid point here, that it IS difficult to tell when people might have motives for promoting or giving a positive spin on a product. I think this is more prevalent because there’s a viability in business to pay for alternative marketing, which isn’t as common from day to day. However, you do still run into it, you might mention your wife’s boutique, or your cousin’s construction firm to a friend that needs repairs. Should you be regulated when you give those types of referrals? Does it make your recommendation of your cousin or wife’s business less credible?

    • Mike Wilton says:

      Jeremy, I don’t see the FTC regulating family/friend referrals, but more we are going to see regulation on incentives, and monetary rewards. I do however think that this sort of advertising and promotion is sometimes hard to see through. I know I get wary sometimes when SEO’s push services or tools because I never know if they are doing it because the tool is actually valuable or because they are getting kicked down with some sort of love.

  2. John Jones says:

    I think right now telling some things between others might be difficult but I think social media is growing and adapting in a way that more and more people are really only following people they know and trust then the people those people referred and so on. The daisy chain started with someone you trusted, someone they trusted and so on.

    Even more amazing to see if how FTC plans on strict regulation for social media. For example, how on earth can they regulate Mike the consumer? Let’s say Mike the consumer is not a social media savvy marketer and doesn’t know a damned thing about FTC policies. Is he going to be arrested or fined if he mentions that Hilshire is the bomb at cracked black peper turkey breast? Doesn’t that cause some issues with freedom of speech?

    • Mike Wilton says:

      John, as I mentioned to Jeremy previously, I think the main thing the FTC is going to be looking at is incentives, monetary rewards, etc. Things that would entice a “consumer” to give rave reviews to pretty much any product no matter how crappy. I do however think you have a point when you consider consumer vs marketer and how they go about promoting or sharing their views on a product.

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