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Honesty in social media is not just a warm & fuzzy concept – it’s paramount to success

Social media marketing success comes from transparency and community building

On Saturday, Gagan Biyani wrote an article for MobileCrunch “Cheating the App Store: PR firm has interns post positive reviews for clients.” Allegedly, interns for Reverb Communications are asked to write positive reviews for applications represented by Reverb. As of this morning, there are over 100 comments on the article and almost every single one admonishes Reverb for not being transparent and honest about who was submitting reviews.

Doug Kennedy from Reverb did respond and said, in part, “I’m sure you are aware that in order to write a review on iTunes an individual needs to purchase the game or app and can only write one review. Our interns and employees write their reviews based on their own game play experience, after having purchased the game by themselves, a practice not uncommon by anyone selling games or apps and hardly unethical.”

Regardless of whether you believe the evidence that interns were assigned reviews or whether they wrote them on their own volition, the fact remains that if those interns had a) offered full-disclosure about who they were affiliated with and b) included those reviews for Reverb amidst a larger mix of other compelling reviews, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

It’s okay – nay, it a great thing – if you like your brand and what it represents. I like to talk about Cision. Check out one of my tweets from last week:

Cision Tweet 

I talk about Cision – a lot – because I’m focused on Cision a lot. But check out my ten most recent tweets after the above tweet – 1 of the 10 is Cision-related, but the rest are a mix of sharing others’ content that I find interesting and conversation with my community – about everything from movies to work to getting in touch with a friend I hadn’t seen in awhile. 

Compelling Tweets 

If fellow CisionBlog blogger and social media webinar host Jay Krall and I had a dollar for every time we say, “Include your own content only amidst a larger mix of compelling content,” we would probably be able to buy each of our readers a cup of coffee.

Why do we speak those words so often? Because being a member of your community, and not just pushing your own brand/content/product, is the foundation of social media involvement. We are interacting directly with the end-user within a community – and they expect us to act like a member of that community.

Remember to always be forthcoming and honest about who you are and who you represent… it’s the best way to build social capital and grow your community.

About Heidi Sullivan

One of PRWeek’s 40 under 40 in 2012, Heidi Sullivan is Senior Vice President of Digital Content for Cision and a self-proclaimed social media metrics nerd. She leads the company’s digital and broadcast content teams, the global research team for Cision’s media database, Cision’s social media community team and the company’s content marketing strategy. You can find her on Twitter @hksully.

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