Tag Archives: Facebook

You’re Regulated – Control Your Social Marketing!


We are now several years into the maturity of social media as an accepted form of marketing as evidenced by Shawn Kincaid’s post regarding Twitter becoming mainstream.  Many other articles have been written about the dangers to your business of refusing to hop on the social bandwagon, including one I posted.

As marketers we know that one of the most powerful aspects of social media is the two-way conversation that takes place, the ability to “listen” to what is being said about you, your brand and your products.  Never before have companies been in such an enviable position of being able to directly respond to comments made about them.  But, with this power comes the cost of losing control over your brand and marketing, something many have real problems with.

This is especially true in industries that are heavily regulated, such as financial, municipal and as Brian Morrissey writes, pharmaceutical.  I have spoken with many business owners and business developers from these industries that face similar concerns about social media and how they can engage without getting themselves and their company in a lot of trouble.  I don’t mean to say that their concerns are unjustified, and I would strongly recommend hiring knowledgeable legal resources who understand these ramifications.  As Brian states, the penalty for a social misstep can even go so far as to having your key product or your professional license removed from the marketplace!

As such, since these industries must maintain a firm control over their social interaction, even to the point of hiding their involvement, they end up being on the sidelines watching the rest of the marketing world heading forward at warp speed and leaving them behind.  Their marketing is stuck in a serious auto-pilot.

What this tells me is that our regulators, the ones trying so hard to protect us, are seriously out of touch with reality.  The kinds of restrictions placed on financial, governmental and pharmaceutical companies, and their ability to stay current in their marketing, is stuck in the 20th century.

As we all know from the many stories of celebrities getting into trouble, what takes place on the Internet is so transparent that it would appear the perfect place to allow the kinds of open dialog that is the essence of social media.  Would it not be acceptable for regulated industries to have that same level of transparency and be able to enter into constructive dialog with their customers?  I think the phrase is “trust but verify.”

I’d love to know your thoughts.

Where’s Your Passion?


In a recent meeting with an entrepreneur where we were talking about online marketing activities and building his business, I asked the question, “What are you passionate about?”

His answer…”Wow, let me think about that, that’s a great question.”

Besides the obvious ones of his wife, his child, his extended family, his friends, his favorite sports team, or his church, my question to this entrepreneur really caused him to pause and think.

The word passion can have so many meanings but let’s take the definitions that really apply here:

  1. any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling, as love or hate
  2. a strong or extravagant fondness, enthusiasm, or desire for anything (i.e. a passion for music).

What led to this question was a discussion about whether online marketing had much of an application for his business.  As a group of highly educated professionals performing financial services, most if not all of their clientele come to them as a result of a referral.  Word of mouth was their key marketing strategy and there really wasn’t much of a need for him to put any real effort into improving his online visibility or reputation.  Blogging, social networks, search visibility are all good things, just for other people, not him.

You may be asking, David, what was his answer, what was he passionate about?

After some thought he said that he was passionate about helping people, and helping them to be more financially independent, so they can do what they really love to do, whatever that is, without worrying about money.

My next question was, “Do you like to write?” He said he does and that it has been a goal of his for some time to write a book.  Well, a book is a pretty big undertaking and maybe he could break that down into smaller pieces by writing short snippets, ideas that will help people or….a blog.

I did actually see a light bulb appear over his head.  He got it. A good friend of his had tried to convince him he needed to blog but had not explained it in exactly this way.

Write about what you’re really passionate about, not because it’s a great way to market yourself (even though it is) but just because you love to help people.  He left the meeting with much to think about.

In this world, those people who find their passion, what they really love, will be the ones that tell you that their work never really seems like work; that their success has been because they immerse themselves so completely in what they love and hence become very good at it.

Engaging in this phenomenon called social media requires time, effort and then some more time if you wish it to be successful.  Having a passion for what you are blogging, tweeting, friending, responding to will help you to stick with it.  Because, there are very few overnight wonders in social media.  Mostly there are people who have a passion for what they do and have been engaged long enough to start to see the great positive results that can be achieved.

What are you passionate about?

I’d love to know.


Foursquare.com Ain’t Square, It’s Cool


In one of my previous posts “Put The Local in Your Locale” I mentioned a relatively new social network called Foursquare.com.  I thought it had some real potential but unfortunately they were not in the Kansas City area.  After writing to them about my wish that they be here, my request was granted.  I just received word that along with several other cities, Kansas City is now on the map!

This kind of geo-targeted social network has real potential for those of you marketing to a consumer who is likely to purchase at your location.

Here are some of the features of Foursquare.com and then I would like to explore some potential applications to help you determine if it’s right for you.

Members of Foursquare.com check-in by logging onto the site from there mobile phone and letting their friends know where they are so they can come to that location.  Foursquare.com will also offer other locations nearby that may be places of interest to members.  Currently there are applications for IPhones and Android phones with a Blackberry application in the works.  There are also nice links to Twitter and Facebook.

Members have the ability to make recommendations of things to buy or enjoy at certain locations and Foursquare.com tracks how many times members frequent a particular location, based on the number of times they check-in.  Points are awarded for check-ins as well as bonus points for dragging friends along with you.  As points accumulate, badges can be unlocked, with the ultimate badge award being classified as a “mayor.”  Businesses can offer “mayors” certain privileges or freebies to entice them to come in as well as encouraging them to bring their network of friends.

Additional applications are being developed by Foursquare.com which includes an Inbound Ticketing system and a customer conversation community called “Get Satisfaction.”  For businesses that wish to actively participate there are plans available from $19 to $899 per month depending on reports, tracking, mayor offers and customization that is desired.

Applications for Foursquare.com

  • The obvious are restaurants and bars – mayors can be offered free drinks or appetizers once they check-in. Friends of mayors get special recognition. Weekly specials can be promoted through their customized site.
  • Museums – special shows and artists can be promoted and people can join as “friends of the museum.”
  • Sporting Events – not only can the events be promoted but businesses close by can benefit from online promotions to Foursquare.com members.
  • Non-profit Fundraising events – what a great way to encourage participation to those members who have a social awareness.  Mayors can receive special recognition by attracting the highest number of friends who also attend.  Companies that belong  to Foursquare.com receive some public relations exposure by being associated with a cause.
  • Gyms – hey it’s cool to be working out and even cooler when you can tell your network exactly where you are.
  • Bowling Alleys – Mayors that bring in a whole team can receive free food, drinks or a game.
  • Retail Outlets – clothing boutiques can take on an online personality and promote sales and specials. Foursquare.com members can talk about what they like about your place.

These are just a few potential applications.  I’m sure many of you can come up with several of your own.  That’s the beauty of this kind of network, it is really only limited by your imagination.

If you need to drive in-store sales, don’t be square and lose out on a great new marketing tool because Foursquare.com is very cool.

Let me know what thoughts you have.



Social Media: It’s Written in Concrete


Remember when you were a kid and some neighbor was pouring a new concrete driveway, or the city was putting in some new sidewalks and what would happen next?  Yea, you can admit it: the temptation to go write your name in the wet cement overcame you and you grabbed the nearest stick and went to work creating something beautiful and yes, permanent.

There is a growing societal change that is taking place in our world.  Years ago, if you were caught stealing candy, breaking street lights, or teepeeing someone’s trees, you may be in trouble at the time, but you sure didn’t have to worry about potential employers doing a background search and discovering that you had participated in these acts.

I wonder how good a job we adults are doing at making sure young people understand that what they put onto Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and MySpace is something that may resurface twenty years from now, when they’re trying to land that next great job.  And maybe even if we tried, they wouldn’t listen.  We are all aware of some of the even dangerous activities taking place like “sexting.”

According to The Benenson Strategy Group’s latest research results, parents have a long ways to go toward truly understanding their children’s on-line behaviors.  Their interesting study results can be found at:


What do you think we as a society should do with this new found information?  If you thought it was hard to run for political office now days, just think how easy it’s going to be to find those closet skeletons in years to come.  It won’t work to say, “I smoked but did not inhale,” because it will be on video somewhere.

Do you think in the future that these “youthful indiscretions” will be written off as just what they are?  Will it be possible for our society to sustain the strict rules of former conduct that we have in place today?  Is the permanence of social networks and the information they contain something we can learn to forgive?

I’d love to know your thoughts.