Social Media 09 - big budget noise, but where's the innovation?

New firm Run Marketing started up recently with an excellent website for digital marketing advice for small business. Hatch PR associate Chris Lee, director of Run Marketing, attended the Social Media 09 conference last week in London and posted a good summary of what was on offer.

I have to admit, I was a little disappointed to hear the agenda was dominated (apparently) by big budget examples of brands using social media for integrated campaigns. For a start, the London conference schedule is rammed with shows like this and I wish they'd taken a different stance with this new show. Where are our grass roots, innovation on a shoestring examples? Small business showing how clever marketing doesn't require huge dollars? Isn't that exactly what social media is all about?

After all, how much is a Twitter account? Free. Creating a Facebook group? Free. Conducting question and answer sessions over LinkedIN? Free.

But many a 'digital media' agency seems to be perversely charging clients big sums for creative and innovative social media campaigns. If ideas have been the bread and butter for PR for a longtime, the 'value add' that comes as standard with every programme but doesn't have its own price tag attached, shouldn't social media be the same? Traditional PR requires some use of tools and resources that cost overheads. But social media doesn't. So why should social media cost a lot to implement?

Like Run Marketing says, we want to see examples of grassroots social media campaigns. They are more interesting, less error-prone (thinking about the Habitat debacle with that comment) and far more 'viral'. That's more effective, in our book.

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