AT&T to continue using videos for blogger outreach

DALLAS: AT&T is reaching out to bloggers and defending its blogger relations efforts despite some criticism in the online community for a video featuring a Fleishman-Hillard executive.

DALLAS: AT&T is reaching out to bloggers and defending its blogger relations efforts despite some criticism in the online community for a video featuring a Fleishman-Hillard executive.

Seth Bloom, SVP at Fleishman, appears in a September 4 video posted to YouTube, discussing some of the AT&T network issues relating to increased smartphone usage. Online discussion arose about his identification as “the blogger guy with AT&T” and the company's decision to use a PR executive to talk about a network issue. The video does not specifically note that Bloom works for Fleishman.

The firm has worked on social media efforts with AT&T for two and a half years, said Wendy Flanagan, EVP for Fleishman. Bloom is the head of AT&T's blogger relations program and is the point of contact for the blogging community, she added.

“Like many companies, AT&T uses agency folks to work with us,” said Mark Siegel, executive director of media relations for AT&T's mobility and consumer markets. He said that when Bloom speaks to bloggers on the company's behalf, he identifies who he is, adding, that “on occasion," agency members "represent us but it's very, very clear that they are employees of Fleishman-Hillard.”

The company plans to continue using Bloom in videos as part of an overall social media effort that included his participation in similar videos in June and July of this year, said Siegel.

“[In social media], you're able to learn in real time about how customers see what you're doing, how they react to what you're doing, and in turn you can respond very quickly and address their concerns,” he said. “Seth's work has been an important part of that effort and we anticipate it will continue. How it will, will be determined by each individual situation.”

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