Imagine a large corporate, looking to increase links to their site and also raise brand awareness amongst potential customers, and demonstrate the expertise within their company.
Forum marketing is an ideal tool at this juncture, so let’s wheel out an in-house expert to post to a variety of fora and help out those communities with technical problems. Thus clearly exhibiting the knowledge within the business, plus reinforcing the image of a caring company.
However, due to company policy and a culture of fear about online damage to reputation, this expert can only post after getting permission from the PR department. Generally, most PR and Marcomms department are specialists in press releases, marketing communications, crisis management and so on.
Now, they are expected to be able to judge the value of a response made to a question in a forum on a subject in which the expert has spent 25 years becoming so knowledgeable. It may well be that they do not understand the question. After all, it is being asked for a reason ie the answer can’t readily be found elsewhere.
The expert then needs to educate the PR department as to why he has given said answer, and why the question is being asked, and how this fits into the overall marketing strategy of the company (not the expert’s forte, of course).
This all takes time, and therefore costs money. And is also utterly pointless.
If you employ your staff because they are GOOD at what they do, then trust them. Sure, monitor their excursions into fora to start with to ensure they are fully au fait with the brand and are on message, but don’t involve the PR department. Leave them to get press releases out, deal with the media, develop marketing strategies on and offline; don’t expect them to suddenly become experts in the minutiae of your technical department’s expertise.