Monday, January 27, 2014

Social Marketing Strategies - MLM and Social Marketing Spam

There is a nasty little trend rearing its ugly head in the social networking world. It seems that no domain is immune to spam, and multi-level marketing firms are guaranteeing that along with email, sites originally intended for social purposes are under attack. Micro-blogs and the like are finding themselves targets of wall spam and other unsolicited intrusions by MLM firms. 

How Social Spam Can Affect You Everyone has figured out the multi-level marketing tricks with e-mail. We have all learned to ignore, delete, or both. Now the MLMs have some new tricks up their sleeves and they are taking social networking sites hostage in their latest attempts to make a quick buck: Friend invitations. As a member of a primarily social site, you expect to read tidbits about your friends such as their latest vacations, job promotions, and so on. 

When your friends' invitations include links to the latest and greatest hair loss product along with a minute amount of personal information, you have become a victim of spam. Your account will likely become inundated and your participation in your social networking site nothing more than a chore. Wall spam. For those who are members of such social networks as Facebook, beware any mention of products and services with specific links on your "walls." Be conscious of possible multi-level marketing schemes that transform your wall into the poster child for wall spam that solicits something you have likely never heard of, much less endorsed. 

Application invitations. Absolutely ignore any friend's invitation to "check out this cool new app!" Someone is trying to make a quick buck from your friend connection. The "cool new app" is yet another MLM scheme trying to worm its way into the social scene through unsuspecting social networking members. Why MLMs Are Targeting Social Networks Social networks have become one of the primary means of communication for many internet users. Multi-level marketers understand the possibilities of extending their reach through the social network sites and are attempting to prey upon their members to fulfill their own marketing goals. 

Blogs. Blogs have allowed MLMs to take advantage of the medium and overrun blog sites with unwanted solicitations for anything and everything. Comment boxes are often no more than another open window for ad links from marketers. Instant Messaging. IM services such as Skype are not immune to the dreaded MLM ploys. When links are included with a message from an unknown member, there is likely a spam attempt involved that may have malware attached. 

Communities. Large social sites such as Facebook and MySpace have launched their own counterattacks to stop the influx of MLMs and their disruptive attempts to invade the private conversations of legitimate members. Constant updates of their programming and user agreements are attempting to deter the unethical if not illegal practices by such multi-level marketers. What You Can Do Multi-level marketing cannot be stopped completely but there are steps to take to help curb the behavior: Ignore. Pay the solicitation no mind. 

Never click on a link of unknown origin. Report. Let your hosting services know of any suspicious contact. Many MLM solicitations contain malicious software that can harm your system. Respond. Get vocal and spread the word. If word of mouth is good for the MLMs, then it is just as effective against them. There is hardly a sure-fire way to keep multi-level marketing spam away from some social networking sites. However, by keeping it out of your social marketing plan and taking active steps to deter their spamming behavior, they may find another route to take, or better yet, a new business to get into.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Recruiting Volunteers For Nonprofit Marketing

Today, the web is a crucial part of any nonprofit internet strategy. Social media encourages and facilitates human interaction. These days the term typically refers to platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace that can be accessed from computers, mobile phones and other devices, allowing users to communicate more or less in real time. Social platforms offer a variety of applications for communication, marketing and file sharing, and are served directly or indirectly by third-party websites such as Flicker (for photo sharing), YouTube (video) and PayPal (online money transfer). 

 Social media is becoming the standard for nonprofit fundraising and volunteer recruitment. The variety of means to gather and organize people is almost limitless. Facebook alone offers "walls" to post brief messages, an inbox, status reports that alert the user's entire network, and options like "pokes" and "likes" which can serve as little reminders and free advertisement. Perhaps the fastest and most concise way to recruit volunteers is through Twitter. 

Users can post messages of 140 characters or less to which everyone who subscribes to the user's feed - friends, family, and fans - becomes notified. One simple message, or "tweet", is all it takes to make sure everyone you know is aware that you are in need of assistance, and messages can be "re-tweeted" by the recipient, opening up a whole extended network of friends of friends of friends, and so on. There are a number of things that make social online media a superior way for organizations in need of funding to gather volunteers. 

First of all, it's free. While third parties may charge for their services, social media platforms currently do not, and a charity's success is limited only by time and ingenuity. With the variety of nonprofit resources on the web, almost anything a charity could think to do for their cause can be aided by social media, including the recruitment process. Social media can be used successfully by those without marketing expertise or access to a professional print shop. 

There is an abundance of websites geared towards providing people with advice on just about anything, much of it for free. While there will always be a period of trial and error with any new endeavor, feedback and response is much faster with social media as they are web-based, and mistakes are no longer a waste of paper. Social networking speeds up the start-to-end time of a campaign because the recruitment process no longer involves putting up posters around town, advertising in newspapers or cold calling. 

Social media also make the prospect of volunteering more attractive as much of volunteers' work can now be done from home. Today, the pool of potential volunteers is worldwide. Access to social networking sites is available almost everywhere and information and money can easily get from one place to another instantaneously. While this may mean increased competition from other charities around the world, nonprofits in Facebook, Twitter and social sites now have a global reach.

Social Media Is Sweeping Our Nation

Social media is sweeping our nation, is it here to stay or will it have its day and then fad from glory... like our old friend, the eight track tape?
According to industry expert Sree Sreenivasan, cofounder of and a journalism instructor at Columbia University, social media is here to stay.
Sree was recently a keynote speaker at the Vacation Ownership Investment Conference (VOIC) in Orlando Florida, where he talked about the future of this new business tool.
"We are at the infancy of a great revolution," proclaimed Sree, "harness the public attention with social media or else get left behind." Sree believes that social media must become an integral part of any marketing plan as we move forward in this age of technology.
Sree encouraged us to look at social media of today... like the television was in the 50s. No one of the time expected the TV to be able to compete with radio, let alone become the mass media instrument it has become today. Large companies wouldn't dream of a marketing plan that did not include television advertising to promote and build their brand. In 10 years, Sree believes we will regard social media in the same way.
So you know you need to jump into this new and unknown territory but you have no idea where to start. Take heart, the internet is full of helpful information on the subject but to save you some time, here is what I have learned from scourging the web and our friend Wikipedia.
Social media: Internet forums, weblogs, social blogs, microblogging, wikis, podcasts, pictures, video, rating and social bookmarking, collaborative projects, blogs and microblogs, content communities, social networking sites and virtual communities. Technologies include: blogs, picture-sharing, vlogs, wall-postings, email, instant messaging and crowdsourcing to name a few. Many of these social media services can be integrated via social network aggregation platforms.
• Blogs: Blogger, ExpressionEngine, LiveJournal, Open Diary, TypePad, Vox, WordPress, Xanga, ning, GoDaddy
• Microblogging: FMyLife, Foursquare, Jaiku, Plurk, Posterous, Tumblr, Twitter, Qaiku, Yammer, Google Buzz
• Location-based social networks: Foursquare, Gowalla, Facebook places, The Hotlist
• Social networking: ASmallWorld, Cyworld, Facebook, Hi5, LinkedIn, MySpace, Orkut, Tagged, XING
• Information Aggregators: Netvibes, Twine (website)
Collaboration/authority building
• Wikis: PBworks, Wetpaint, Wikia, Wikimedia
• Social bookmarking (or social tagging):[16] CiteULike, Delicious, Diigo, Google Reader, StumbleUpon, folkd
• Social news: Digg, Mixx, NowPublic, Reddit, Newsvine, MyWeboo
• Social navigation: Trapster, Waze [17]
• Content Management Systems: Wordpress
• Document Managing and Editing Tools: Google Docs, Syncplicity,, Dropbox Reviews and opinions
• Business reviews: Customer Lobby, Yelp, Inc.
• Community Q&A: Askville, EHow, Stack Exchange, WikiAnswers, Yahoo! Answers
Brand monitoring
• Social media measurement: Attensity, Statsit, Sysomos, Vocus
Before you go cross eyed and start hitting your head against the wall... you don't have to do everything out there! You can start with a Facebook page, a Twitter account or a company blog.
If your company has the resources to hire someone to manage your social media great, but if not, all is not lost. Find an employee that has some social media savvy and get started.
The important thing to remember is that social media is intended to be... well... social. This is not a set it and forget it endeavor! It doesn't do any good to ask for public input or opinion if no one is paying attention. If negative input is seen, take the opportunity to make things right for that customer. After all it is cheaper to keep a current customer then find a new one.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Listening to God on the Appalachian Trail

We live in a fast pace world, where our minds have to travel even faster. Throughout history, life has never been this way. Think about your day. You wake up to the sound of an alarm, not a rooster. You get out of your allergy free, down alternative, Poster-pedic bed and turn off the electric blanket as you place your feet on the ground. You walk across your heavy face weight, high density, plush, synthetic fiber carpet and take the few steps to your indoor bathroom. You do your business, close the seat that you had your name engraved on and flush the chrome handle on the piece of finely constructed porcelain. Next, you turn on the water with a simple twist of the wrist, no pumping, priming or walking a mile to the well, carrying a bucket on your head, required. You grab the latest technologically advanced toothbrush, the Crudomatic x2312, and slap a dab of teeth brightening, taste bud dissolving toothpaste on your Crudomatic x2312 and push the button. This device that resembles some sort of James Bond type spy-ware starts to go to work in your mouth. Stuff is flying all over your bathroom. You are careful n

ot to swallow any of the solution that you placed on your new have read the warning labels that say, "DO NOT SWALLOW. IF SWALLOWED SEEK MEDICAL HELP IMMEDIATELY!" After you clean up the mess that you have caused all over your faux marble vanity, you look at the clock that is screaming, "You're late." You turn around and with a flash you have tied your machine made tie on to your tanning bed tanned neck. You rip the cleaners bag off of one of your professionally steam cleaned and pressed tailored suits and run down the steps. Then, you help the kids go through the production line of, "Have a good day at school" and rip open the plastic package on your "breakfast." 

The label on your "breakfast" says that it is packed full of vitamins and minerals so you take a bite of the artificially instituted genetically engineered vitamins and the "minerals" that have been classified as minerals, due to the intent of medical based research. You get half way out of the door and realize that your cup of coffee is still sitting in its automatic fresh brewed, just the way you like it, holster. You know, your gunshot that you need to open your eyes the rest of the way. You only got 5 hours sleep last night. After you played an artificial game of golf with the kids on the television screen, you had to catch up on your Facebook messages, send out your friend request and play Farmville. Oh, and yesterday would have been a disaster if you did not't get your Sports Center update so you had to watch the days news. 

When you saw 12:05am on the clock you started wrapping up the day and walked up the stairs to bed and started thinking about everything that you didn't get done. So, you need that cup of coffee in order to stay awake long enough to get to the next cup of coffee. You drink up and push the button to start your car. You tell Mr. Bluetooth to open your garage door and pull out into the man made mirage of a world that God created. You stop at most of the stop signs and make your way to the freeway. They call it a "free"way of all things, as people are traveling as fast as the law will allow them and a little faster to get to a place that they are told what to do; compromise morals, to meet the bottom line. This place that you are traveling to is what you have to do so that you can play on your computer at night while worrying about what you need to get done. 

So, you press the gas peddle a little more, risking a ticket, higher insurance rates and an embarrassing aggravating moment with a police officer. (Which reminds me, have you heard the one about the guy that got pulled over and the police officer asked him, "Sir, do you have any ID." The man replied, "About what?") You pull into work and turn off your radio. You, "dut dut", push your car alarm and lock the doors simultaneously, report to work, do some of the things you are supposed to get done and drive through the smog alert back to your neck of the concrete jungle. You meet the kids for dinner at the families favorite grease pit (the world has told us what is acceptable to eat) and you and your wife discuss how you will divide and conquer. 

One of the kids has indoor soccer practice and the other has to study for a test on evolution and how man was formed by a "big bang." You find time for a preliminary check of your email and Facebook messages on your iPhone on the way home. You don't think that your eleven year old little boy minds that you are paying attention to a 3 inch screen while driving instead of him. He is busy texting his friends on his iPhone, playing his own hand held game with his iPod in his ears, listening to his favorite pop star singing about "itches and oes" and bumping and grinding with that hard body thang at a bar all night. You would never let him listen to such things but you didn't have the time to check during your busy day. 

You want to know more about him. You long for it. You want him to talk to you more but this is the way times are now. They have busy lives to with school and hobbies. How could you ever take care of them if you did not work like you do? Things can't change, you would not be able to keep up, if your schedule was different. We live in this concrete world that man has made. Our God wants and longs for you to get the iPod out of your ears and find time for Him. He is not looking at the 3 inch screen instead of you. He is here. He is waiting to have a relationship with you. I have lived in the city my whole life. 

Although, I had the pleasure of having a Grandfather who had a favorite place on earth. As a boy I played in the barn, chased cattle through the field, walked through the mud getting a little dirt on my hands and everywhere else. I remember the joy that my grandfather and I would experience together doing things around the farm that only such a place would provide. I remember running to him when I caught a tadpole and how proud he was. He was happy because I was happy. He was proud because he provided this environment for me to find such childhood wonders. We have a God that is the perfect father; the perfect grandfather, if you will. He has made this green and living earth; full of beauty and amazement, peace and joy. 

God made it for us. I imagine God looking down at an individual who has discovered something that they have never seen before, something that He created, with deep satisfaction. When you walk through the woods on a hike to discover more of God you are surrounded by His artwork. No doubt it is difficult to impossible to escape the "busy" where you currently are...I believe that God wants to get you away long enough to rekindle a campfire in your soul. Come and let God do the rest. Sadly, this aspect of life, many have never experienced. We have built literal walls which have blocked the young and the old from being a part of God's incredible masterpiece. 

He painted the heavens and the earth. He designed the trees and the waters; the mountains and the birds. We have installed concrete and metal over what God has created. I can't help but ask the question, "Do we think that we can paint a better picture?" He designed you and I. I believe that in man's ever increasing knowledge of providing for ones wants, man has forgotten about his need. We have forgotten how to listen to God. 

I believe that nature, a hike through the woods, allows a person to be in the place that God has designed for just listen to Him. As we step back from our "priorities" God can work to align ours with His. Never in the history of the world has man been in the absence of nature, the nature that God created. I feel that I must give an opportunity to others to experience something that they may have never experienced. I feel that taking all of the other elements out of sight, all the busyness and routine, and leaving them for a few days is absolutely essential to the spiritual state of a man. Come on The Walk with us. Come, listen to God, you will not return the same.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Facebook Wall Poster

So you have a Joomla powered website, great content, and are starting to get visitors. If you haven't added Facebook integration though, you're missing out on a vital piece of social technology to engage with your users. By adding these features, like Facebook comments, you're actively letting your users know that you value their opinion and want their feedback. 

Even more, as these comments and engagements grow, more users will get a feel for how your site works, the types of users that are already active on your site, and this will continue the upward trend of gaining new users. Some may be put off on the thought of adding Facebook integration to their site. However, one of the primary benefits of using a CMS, like Joomla, is the power, ease, and flexibility of extensions. Utilizing already available add-ons, you can have Facebook comments up and running in mere minutes in your Joomla articles. 

Additionally, you have the power to customize the look and feel of the comments widget in order to tailor it to the look and feel of your site. Quickly change the font and background colors, the number of comments to show, and even whether the comment is posted directly on the user's wall. This latter feature, a post back to the user's wall, is an exciting way to attract new visitors to your site. With each comment posted, you'll not only be generating new content, you'll also be drawing the attention of the poster's full social network to your site. It's features like this that truly will make your site social, and is vital to attracting new guests to your site. 

In addition to comments, there are plenty of other features and advantages to adding Facebook capabilities to your site: Single-sign on capabilities allow user's a 1-click registration and login process. Excellent for easy access to your site without any lengthy registration forms. Like buttons let your users vote up Joomla articles that they find most relevant. Recommendation widget uses the user's Facebook preferences, in conjunction with other guests' 'Likes' in order to give suggestions of articles the user may enjoy the most. 

Fanbox widget shows how many people like the website in general, which helps build overall trust. Activity Feeds let your users see the most recent activity from your Facebook Fan Page. While Facebook comments alone are all that many administrators will want, or need, for their Joomla based website, all of these features can be combined for adding a powerful social component to your web presence.