PR Campaigns – The blog

March 16, 2009

Wrong moves with social media

Filed under: The Fifth Firm — viancavv @ 11:56 pm
Tags: ,

So I’m a manager at a retail store and recently I received an email that said the company would be discontinuing the weekly newsletters. I was really surprised by this because these newsletters were incredibly informative and always had really useful information about new products and promotions. Corporate said that they would be discontinuing the newsletter because they were trying to establish a better image online; with the new website, as well as facebook and myspace accounts. They want our customers to become familiar with the company by visiting these sites. It seemed like they were pretty optimistic about establishing a new image, however their focus is strictly online. I definitely dont agree with this approach.

Although social media networks and appealing websites are always a plus, I dont think a company should rest its entire message on these outlets alone. I guarantee there are hundreds of people, including myself, who really valued that newsletter. While it’s definitely not as technologically savy as what they seem to be going for, it was still very beneficial. I cant help but wonder how many customers or opinions they will lose with a move like this.  Although many people are hopping on the social media wagons, companies shouldnt take it for granted. I think they should maintain their old tactics while acquiring new ones at the same time…not cancelling one out for the other. Bad move.

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11 Comments »

  1. Is the newsletter online at all? Maybe the company could advance their online agenda without stopping the weekly newsletter by sending out a weekly email and having the newsletter available on the website. This is not only less expensive (no cost to print or ship) but also can reach more people.

    Comment by Christine — March 17, 2009 @ 10:31 am | Reply

  2. Was the newsletter sent out through the mail? If so, it wouldn’t be too hard to continue the newsletter via e-mail. However I do agree that too many companies are relying too much on the internet these days but the price along with the “green” notion can’t compare to sending it through the mail.

    Comment by lehanson — March 17, 2009 @ 11:49 pm | Reply

  3. I think its important for a company to utilize both resources. That way, they can reach a larger and more diverse audience. Some people prefer having an actual tangible object such as a newsletter to get their news while others prefer using social media outlets. In my opinion, they should keep the newsletter and also work on their online image instead of focusing on one or the other.

    Comment by kmmorten — March 19, 2009 @ 10:19 pm | Reply

  4. I agree with the comment above…I think that the company should make use of both forms of media. This way you’re covering all your potential clients as well as not drawing attention away from what’s really important in retail. Social media is making it’s big move in present times — we’re taught to know social media outlets like the back of our hand — and it’s extremely important. However, traditional media/sources hold their own in many consumers and will continue to do so for awhile.

    Comment by jsaxarra — March 20, 2009 @ 12:11 am | Reply

  5. I’ve been dealing with a similar obstacle in my position as PR Chair for my sorority. We are trying to save money and opt out of sending a paper version of our annual newsletter to our alumni. However, we have many older alums that are unable to access the online version and would be upset with us if we did this. My advisor came up with a solution that I think could be applicable in this case. We are sending out postcards that will notify everyone of this change with the option for them to send it back and request a hard copy version if they do not have access to the online edition. In this case, those who find value in the newsletter can request a copy and stay informed.

    Comment by laurenmac87 — March 22, 2009 @ 6:05 pm | Reply

  6. I love the idea that the previous post had. I think it would be a bad move for your company to go completely online without notifying their current subscribers and asking them if they would like to continue to receive a hard copy. I agree that going completely online may drive some subscribers away, but the company should look at how they can utilize the Web and vamp their online presence. This way, they can keep the importance and beneficial information from the newsletter, but also make sure they are strong online.

    Comment by kparma — March 22, 2009 @ 9:08 pm | Reply

  7. It would not surprise me if they did this to cut costs. Was it an actual paper newsletter mailed to your store? I understand where they are coming from. They are trying to be dynamic and that is an important aspect in any retail store trying to remain current. A stronger Web presence is not a bad idea. It will take some getting used to, but I hope you will learn to like it. It reminds me of the Baby Boomer generation still reading newspapers, so it’s making it harder for big news organizations to transition to have all of their content online. It is a transition phase so let me know how it goes!

    Comment by gbohulan — March 22, 2009 @ 9:21 pm | Reply

  8. I definitely do not agree with cutting out the newsletters. It is very risky for a business to do in hopes to make the shift to the online community. Not everyone out there is ready to make the shift from paper to online. Also, older generations (baby boomers) are struggling with this society of social media networks and they will be missing out on the content on these sites due to their lack of web presence. What retail company is this?

    Comment by elwhite2 — March 22, 2009 @ 9:55 pm | Reply

  9. I can’t help but wonder if the cause of this was also budget cuts and they were using the social media implementation as an excuse or justification. I wouldn’t think that the email would have discussed the financial matter of the business, instead trying to shine some positive light on the situation. But I do agree that just stopping the newsletter could be harmful to the business. Maybe using the newsletter to further the social media implementation of the store would have been a better approach.

    Comment by mlmyers — March 22, 2009 @ 10:27 pm | Reply

  10. Prior to making any decisions regarding communications strategy, it is necessary to understand who the target publics are that the company wishes to reach. Research must be conducted to determine who the stakeholders are, and where they receive their information. Although you may have preferred the newsletter, if research has shown that the company’s stakeholders are more interested in social media, this would be a smart move. Furthermore, who receives the newsletters? Perhaps, even if the switch to social media exclusively may be a mistake in your mind, if more customers receive the information, and thus more customers act on it, than it would be in the best interest of the company to choose social media.

    A few questions for you: Do you consider yourself a stakeholder for the organization? Why do you prefer the newsletter to the social media Web sites? What does the newsletter contain that, in your opinion, makes it a superior communication channel?

    Comment by plepkows — March 23, 2009 @ 7:30 pm | Reply

  11. Hey Vianca! I know e-newsletters can be a big expense for a company. When you think about design fees, distribution fees and purchasing email lists to get you started it is a really big expense. However, I think this is a really valuable tool for them because it is direct communication with the people that sign up to receive your emails. I know that I am a big fan of the emails I get from Gap, Old Navy and Express. There is nothing better to me that being the first to know about a sale. It makes me make time to go during that time because I want the specials. If I didn’t get the emails, I probably wouldn’t go as often as I do- and let me tell you, with all the specials going around I’ve been there quite often.

    Comment by Nancy Flores — March 23, 2009 @ 10:24 pm | Reply


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