I have conflicting sentiments regarding a recent exchange I had with someone within my LinkedIn network. This is a 1st level connection but someone who I do not know nor have had any previous direct communication. So I guess this is how “social” works these days…

 

On 12/09/11 7:20 AM, -name- wrote: -------------------- Yesterday -company name- decided to start donating toys for Facebook likes. The boss has always been a supporter of -charity name- and when we were thinking of a good cause this year, we found out all the drop off centers stop taking donations Dec 9th. So we made a few calls, made a deal with the boss, and here we have it: -charity name- will take our toys (if we deliver them) up to the 15th. The boss said he'll personally buy 1 toy for every 20 likes we get on our Facebook Page. We started this yesterday and got 120 likes, which is 6 toys, but 6 toys is not enough! You can help get my boss to buy more toys for -locality- children in need by liking our Facebook Page and sharing the post on your own Facebook wall or LinkedIn status: Thank you! And Happy Holidays :-)

 

On 12/09/11 9:30 AM, Frank Zupan wrote: --------------------

Hi -name-, Since you took the liberty to send me notification of your promotional activity, I'll take the liberty to offer my opinion. I'm not a fan of tying self-serving marketing/promotional activities such as Facebook "likes" to worthy charitable causes. I believe social and community activism is important for individuals and corporations and should even be celebrated, but a contingency clause such as liking a Facebook page really makes it about something else, doesn't it? If there was a "Dislike" option, I would have selected it for this message and this promotion. Frank

 

On 12/09/11 12:30 PM, -name- wrote: --------------------Frank, I couldn't agree with you more. I also think football players shouldn't wear pink and the only reason why there's so much "breast cancer awareness" is because of catchy phrases like "save the ta-tas" and American's obsession with breasts which have nothing to do with a deadly and disfiguring disease.

However, as an internet marketing company, we are aware of trends. Purina acquired most of their fans by donating 5 lbs of dog food for every "like" to shelters around the world. For every "like" to OneSight in December, Pearl Vision donates $1 to blind and visually impaired children around the world and the list goes on.

So are we "tying self-serving marketing/promotional activities such as Facebook "likes" to worthy charitable causes" or are we leveraging our social media contacts to increase awareness of a worthy cause while increasing our own exposure?

Your opinion is valid and respected. I will remember not to reach out to you again with any notices of promotional activity.

(on a side note, I have sent 635 connections a LinkedIn message as well as 157 Facebook friends and this is the first "dislike". It is becoming more socially acceptable to promote your business through social media and an effective way to market your brand) eom

 

It’s interesting to note that this individual went to my LinkedIn profile prior to responding and obviously felt that it was worthwhile to offer their opinion on a specific charity that I perform volunteer HR work.

So, one of the voices inside my head is telling me that I’m the grumpy neighbor yelling at the kids to get the hell off of my lawn. Another voice says if this individual and company really gave a shit about these kids having toys, they wouldn’t tie their largesse to a business promotion. Still another voice says LinkedIn is the wrong channel to broadcast this message but maybe I should have just deleted the message.

In any case, I thought it a good idea to throw it out to this community and listen to what your voices have to say.

Oh, and before I forget, Happy Xmas everyone...see, I'm not so mean...

Views: 872

Comment by Suresh on December 11, 2011 at 12:07pm

It bugs me too, such show or PR of giving. If you wanna give, just give and don't make a scene. I am sure there are people and companies who do just that and there are others who want something in return for giving (is that truly giving?). 

Comment by Sandra McCartt on December 11, 2011 at 1:24pm
My response to this would have been:

Dear Internet marketing whore,
While I very much support the thought of toys for kids at Christmas, my endorsement of your client is not for sale for the price of a toy. That being said, please send me your boss's name and mailing address. I will send a toy directly to him for him to donate so he will not have to prostitute the company in order to give toys to needy children.

By the way as an Internet marketing company are you doing this promotion pro bono? If not, please consider donating what you are being paid to this very worthy project in the spirit of the season
Comment by Valentino Martinez on December 11, 2011 at 1:46pm

Frankly, this is how "social" can work these days.  And unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on where you sit—it is ramping up because it seems to be working.

“Like me” is the new marketing mantra on Facebook that translates into “hits”—measurable hits that are meaningful and feed the flame of this kind of social networking which is big for business.  The use of tying worthwhile charities into such self-promotion is old school in a new dynamic medium.

My response would be to delete the message because I can decide who my true 1st level connections on LinkedIn are who merit a response; and what charities I would be open to support. 

And please stay off my lawn unless I can come and play on yours.

Comment by Frank Zupan on December 11, 2011 at 4:34pm

Suresh-we are in agreement.

Sandra-to be clear, the promotion was being run by the internet marketing company on their own behalf...and if you "Like" this post I'll send that toy to them tomorrow :)

Valentino-I think the vast majority of the "like" me "fan"-base holds zero value to a business. What percentage of consumers or business buyers are really influenced by numbers of fans or likes of a Facebook page? I agree with you that using the brand of a charitable organization to further business goals is certainly not a new idea or practice.

Comment by Sandra McCartt on December 11, 2011 at 5:55pm
Thanks for the clarification.

Dear Internet marketing whore,
My endorsement is not for sale for the price of a toy. Due to my personal feeling that charities should not be used for self promotion, I am sending a toy to my friend Frank Zupan. Mr. Zupan has assured me he will send the toy to your boss. I trust your boss will donate the toy rather than use it as a prize for your next promotion. Charity to draw attention has always seemed cheap and tawdry so I hope not to see any blogs by you patting yourself on the back or mentioning the number of goofy "likes" you were able generate.
Such bad taste, such very bad taste.


Additionally I have asked all my LinkedIn connections to "like" mr zupan's post regarding using a charitable brand to self promote your services as well as block further communication from your company.

Merry Christmas
Comment by pam claughton on December 11, 2011 at 9:12pm

If there was a dislike for this, I'd hit it too. Self-promotion is not what charity should be about.

Comment by John W. Ferneborg on December 11, 2011 at 11:45pm

Delete - it's just a quick and convenient built in feature.  No bridges get burned.  You just never know how stuff can come around full circle, some point down the road... just sayin'

Comment by Frank Zupan on December 12, 2011 at 6:40am

Sandra-You crack me up.

Pam-We are in agreement.

John-No doubt delete is the most convenient of options. I guess I've never been the "suffer in silence" type :)

Comment by Jerry Albright on December 12, 2011 at 10:27am

Yes Frank - this bugs me too. 

Specifically her use of "the boss" comes very close to pissing me off.  As if "the boss" has some sort of authority position I need to respect.  "Well then - if The Boss has OK'd this - then I better sign up right away!"

This reminds me of those "Oops - the boss overbought.  His mistake is your chance to get a bargain basement price on these - but hurry in today!  The boss may change his mind on these prices!"

"The Boss" can shove it as far as I'm concerned.

Comment by Suresh on December 12, 2011 at 10:30am

And by the way, the "Like" is over and above the Tax Write Off they would use for Charity.

 

Instant gratification taken to a different level.

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