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Are automotive marketers playing social media war games?

While the latest move by GM to withdraw advertising from Facebook before its IPO is a business decision, it also reflects far more than just advertising dollars - increasing attempts to control and dominate the social media agenda.

Think about all those social media commentaries which now use political-like tactics, especially as they challenge auto journalists, including commentaries on what is expressed in automotive opinion pieces and reviews. At risk is freedom of reporting and expression. Then ask yourself how free was that last writer who wrote a positive piece ad nauseum on some new luxury model, especially after they may have been perked at OEM marketing expense. Suddenly you get the drift: Someone is attempting to control the automotive social media agenda.

There are at least three types of journalistic pieces within the auto world today. They include: news, reviews and news/opinion pieces; and all are under close scrutiny these days by automakers as they attempt to control their marketing messages. While a news release is hard to revise, reviews and opinion pieces about a news release and a product are loose cannons in the minds of auto marketers.

Whether it is GM, Ford, Toyota, Fiat-Chrysler, or any other auto corporate entity, control over corporate and brand marketing messages, is a fiduciary right. However, I’m finding more and more that the game is changing fast, as automakers with their newfound power of social media teams and departments attempt to control social media thinking itself, by permeating their own marketing messages at every article, blog, post and forum that challenges their message. In the early email days, that was called blasting.

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