It’s all fun and advertising till controversy arises: The marketing technique of advergames.

Digital Communication Media

It seems that the saying “There’s an app for that” is spawning a new saying, “ There’s a game for that”. One of the most up and coming marketing technique combines the thrill of games with the intention of advertising: Advergaming.

Advergames interact with consumers by providing branded content in an entertainment format that increases the amount of time consumers are exposed to the brand. According to a CBS News report, attention has become a commodity especially when we speak of the youth. Typical online advertisments such as banners are usually skipped over and ignored allowing only seconds of brand exposure. With advergaming, the amount of time spent with the brand increases dramatically to 30 minutes or more. In addition to more time spent with a brand, advergaming  can be integrated into social platforms like Facebook by implementing prompts to post a score on Facebook which could challenge a…

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Why Some Companies Fear Social Media

There are lots of companies out there that have no presence on social media. Some of them are not there because of fear. Those fears are real though and most companies may not want to admit it (do you like to admit your fears). I would say that what the company fears most is the ability to control their brand, control of their message, and consumers will speak up (could be negative).

People will always say well you know they are already talking about you (feel free to roll your eyes). That may not even be remotely true. Really have you given them anything to talk about? No, well they probably not talking about you, let’s not get paranoid. However if you can get them talking about you, you just might be able to steer it and use it as wind in your sails.

With the internet you now have the ability to reach anywhere in the world you want. You really can (although less likely) make a sale at any time in some far flung location. It had made the little guy as capable as Wal-Mart in getting out there. A website, social website, and a blog can make you pretty visible. It just takes work.

Let us take a closer look at those fears.

1. Fear of losing control of the brand.

This fear is actually somewhat irrational. Your name is already out there. Do you have a strategy for getting into social media? If not what is your goal? Help bring awareness to your brand (I would start here). Now how are you going to do that? Open a Facebook account and then a month later a Twitter account (I would advise it is something visual open a Pinterest account too) and link to them from your website. Then post at least 2 new things a day with something that can help start a discussion. Reply to people who post within 24 hours. This allows you to steer your brand in conversation.

2. Fear of losing control of the message.

Okay so you have your name out there and you have your slogan because you are the greatest at something (every company things they are the greatest at something), but you are afraid that  if you active on social media then well how can you control the messages coming in and going out from the company. You can control what is going out initially and you can always control how you respond to communications on your social media page.  No, you will never be able to control what people say about you. Instead think of it this way, if you have good messages coming in you are doing something right. If you have negative messages coming in, engage those consumers and find out what is wrong. Then as the friendly, kind and loving company you can go out and fix those problems if they are more than one offs.

3. Fear of actually hearing from consumers.

I really have never understood think one. Any communications you get as a company are great they can teach you what you are doing right and what you are doing wrong and so you can learn what to adjust. Sounds like a winner to me. Plus if you respond in virtual time just like you would to a real live person (really that is what they are) then you might just get a brand advocate who will really talk about you after the problem is fixed and nothing is better than that.


Need some other ways to master that fear check this out.

5 Things You Shouldn’t do on Social Media

crystan blanco

There are numerous things that I wouldn’t do on Facebook, Twitter, etc. and when I look at my newsfeed, sometimes I am amazed at it’s contents. So when I received Mashable’s article, 12 Things Students Should Never Do on Social Media, via email, I thought, ‘perhaps not everyone is aware of these social media faux pas?’ And let’s face it; it’s not just students that make this mistakes.

So, here you go. 5 things that no one should do on social media:

1. Don’t over share.
This includes, but is not limited to your phone number, home address, work address, social security number (who would post that anyways?), and full birthday. Publicly provided this type of information makes you quite vulnerable to online predators and identity thieves.

2. Don’t vent about or bash professors, coworkers, or superiors.
You’d think that this one was a no brainer, but I have seen numerous…

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Scared Consumers Are Waking Up to Social Media Privacy Concerns


The sheer comfort and ease many of us have when sharing our most personal thoughts, whereabouts, and family relationships just might be the reason a new era of cyber criminals are lurking as our next “friend” on Facebook. Perhaps even more concerning is the data aggregation of consumers online and social networking behavior, which is costing some people job offers and turning away insurance providers.

Consumers are waking up from a social media trance to find out the real consequences of disclosing perhaps a little too much about themselves.  As Facebook went public, so has the real reality of the company’s most powerful asset: an inventory of human behavior and personal data.  For the company, this means a solid foundation for continued advertising sales.  As consumers, it means we may need to start reading more of the fine print when accepting those “terms and conditions” statements.

Lori Andrews, a law…

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Social Media Background Checks…

As far as I know in my career I have skipped out on this but one could easily guess that this will be as common as any other pre-employment background check. This new thing I am talking about is the Social Media Background checks.

If you are reading this I am guessing it is safe to bet you have some other form of social media. When you apply for a job you most likely agree to a background check and your potential future employer goes out and hires a firm like Social Intelligence and then they go out and scour the internet for all the good and bad things you have done for the past seven years. Then it assembles a report. These reports include professional honors, charitable work, and they include negative information that meets specific criteria: online evidence of racist remarks; references to drugs; sexually explicit photos, text messages or videos; flagrant displays of weapons or bombs and clearly identifiable violent activity.

If you are giving high fives at a cross burning on a public site out there, well the career prospects may have just dwindled a bit. Is it right, well that depends on how you look at it?  You can still perform at a high level and have a private life as well, but to the company you might look like more of a liability with all those partying, or scantily clad pictures you have online. A company will always look out for themselves, so remember you look like a liability to them. Now the only real problem is how do they know that they have the correct person?

These social media background checks have been approved by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) so you can bet it will be adopted by more and more employers in the near future. Now the check is little more than a rundown of Facebook, Myspace, Flickr, Twitter, Craigslist, blogs, wikis, and others in search of dirt, but if you ever want to find a job you may want to lock down the privacy settings on your social media accounts. That means really paying attention to all those times that Facebook has changed their privacy settings as it could mean that you have just defaulted back to having everything public. Plus if you really are dumb enough to have pictures of videos of yourself doing illegal things on your profile well go delete them now. That is just becomes evidence.

What do you think should a company disqualify you for something that could not even have any effect on your job performance?

Sort of makes you want to make sure you have everything locked down.

Social Media and You

Social media is everywhere. Most people have access to the internet whether via cell phone, computer, or other electronic device. Where there is access to the internet, there is access to social media and networking. Social Media is a means for people to get connected to each other whether through common interest, common location, or common backgrounds.

Philippe J. Maarek puts it very simply in his book, Campaign Communication & Political Marketing, when he defines social networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn. Maarek defines these social networking sites as “an Internet variation of personal ads found in newspapers, but where the initial form to fill out when you become a user records personal details of your life (Myspace, Facebook, Twitter) or more professional data (LinkedIn).” This is a tremendous tool for businesses to conduct research because they have access to people’s personal information at their fingertips. Businesses have demographic information readily available and can use the social networking sites to communicate with their public and gain useful feedback about the business’s efforts. Social networking is helpful because it is a means of one-on-one communication with the public without the need to spend money and time travelling to them.

Let me show you a couple of variations of social media sites that can really help your business. We will look at Facebook, LinkedIn, Ning, and Social Mention.

Let us start with the most familiar one to most of us Facebook.

Facebook was created in 2004 as a free, public social networking site for college students. To join Facebook one had to have an email address from a college or university. It created an online meeting ground for college students to stay connected with their friends at other schools and their fellow classmates. Since it was created, Facebook has opened to the general public.

Anyone and their mom can, quite literally, have a Facebook account. To create an account, you must enter some personal information, the amount of information and how public that information remains up to the user. A profile can contain pictures, videos, interests, quotes, pages “liked, and much more. Facebook includes advertisements and businesses can create profiles. Facebook allows friends to comment, like, post a message, and send private messages to other people on Facebook which enable people to stay connected.

Yet you are wondering how it can be useful to me as a business? Facebook can be used in a number of ways to reach out to clients. A business can form their own Facebook profiles where supporters can become their “friends” and the business can have an open line of communication with their constituents. This is a great tool because customers can see exactly what the business is up to, where they are, videos, links to blogs, the company page, and can give their input (positive or negative) on what matters most to them. Facebook profiles create a real sense of humanity for the business because they are reaching out and being personal and Facebook can help give the business character. Facebook can also be used by a business in its ability to advertise. A business can also use Facebook profile information in marketing research because essentially all demographic information for an individual is listed in their profile. This concept enables a business to segment their public to more effectively reach their target audiences.

Now what about LinkedIn? LinkedIn was developed in 2002 and up-and-running in 2003. It is the largest professional networking site available on the Internet with more that 175 million members worldwide. LinkedIn is a free, public social networking site that focuses primarily on forming professional connections. LinkedIn is arranged so that a user can create a profile which resembles a resume. The information included in a profile may be educational background, previous and current employment information, and the reason you are a member of the site. LinkedIn functions in several different ways, it serves to reconnect colleagues and classmates, to find connections when looking for employment or business opportunities, and to gain or share advice about business with experts.

LinkedIn provides a backdrop for businesses to interact with an audience of professionals. Members of this social networking resource include executives from all 2011 Fortune 500 companies.

LinkedIn also contains tools useful for businesses such as LinkedIn Answers. LinkedIn Answers is used to pose questions in different professional groups. This means that the information provided in each profile enables marketers to segment LinkedIn’s population to reach a specific professional group and ask questions. This is like being able to pass out a survey or ask a group of professionals for their opinions on topics, current issues, etcetera, without having to manually seek out the target group, and create and distribute questions. It also provides immediate feedback to questions rather than lagging responses that are associated with mail-outs and email questions. LinkedIn Answers can also pose general questions about business’ performances, character, and choices. This could be an important tool for businesses to see where they are failing and succeeding in their work in the public eye.

What is Ning? Ning is a social network creator which allows people to build private social networks. There is a cost associated with this website building site. Ning offers a wide variety of options for its users such as the option of whether to make their network private or public, require approval for membership, and allows for moderation of actions on the site. This website builder also allows the user to incorporate other social networks into the new one, making the users reach even greater.

Groups can be created within the social network as well which may aid in segmenting the network community into smaller, specific groups. A site designed on Ning meets the specifications of each user; there are a variety of options for displaying information, pictures, and videos, as well as a plethora of theme options. Ning also offers a variety of ways to collect money such as collecting money per site usage, collecting donations, or running the user’s own advertisements. When reviewing the possibilities that Ning presents users, it is easy to see where a business could benefit from utilizing this service.

By using Ning and creating personalized social network it enables a business to interact with public or private communities, collect donations (if you a non-profit and all that), and conduct marketing research all on one site. Ning creates a perfect environment to interact with their consumers and gain feedback on the business’s initiatives. Ning therefore aides in creating sites where a business can gather pertinent information in a controlled group setting which gives an advantage when a business can properly use that information to better a  product.

Another useful tool for businesses that are on any form of social media is Social Mention. According to the website, “Social Mention is a social media search platform that aggregates user generated content from across the web into a single stream of information.” This means that Social Mention is a means of searching the web for keywords or names, the frequency they appear, where they appear, and whether or not their appearance has a positive or negative connotation. Social Mention also provides an immediate analysis of searches. This enables a business to gather information immediately; Social Mention provides an excellent basis for constant data collection.

Businesses can utilize Social Mention for marketing research. Understanding how this tool can be used requires knowing what information can be gleaned from keyword searches on the internet. A business can search their name and find how much it is mentioned, where, and whether it is positive or negative in nature. A search for a business marketing campaign can give an idea of how the public is reacting to the marketing. Social Mention is useful to a business because it can assess how a business and its opponent are ranking among internet users.

There you have it a few ideas for the business that just is not quite sure where to go on social media and really even what options are out there. If you are going to be on-line and available to the world (or even if you are not) it is always a good idea to know what people are saying about you even if it is nothing. Social Mention is only one of many tools that can be used to find this information. This enables you to stop wasting you hard earned marketing dollars and put it into a location that just might earn you a better return on your investment and a better return is something everyone at the company can enjoy.

I hope that helps you get a better grasp of possibilities from a few different types of social sites and how each of them provides different options.

Social Networking Etiquette? We don’t need no stinking rules….

Okay, you are on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and a host of other sites, or even just one of those but what are some basic guidelines to follow for using one of those social sites. Let’s face it people only use social networks for a couple of reasons. 1) You are keeping in touch with friends and family or 2) you are networking. Many of us may even use it for both those reasons. Yet many people do not think about what they do online can help, hurt, or even potentially destroy their reputation. The company you keep on social media says a lot about the person you are, so let us look at some guidelines for using the social media that you are one.

Decide on your friend strategy (the earlier the better)

Full disclosure here I was not always the best with this one. I work with a wise lady who said, “one day we should be friends on Facebook, but not until one of us quits, retires, or is fired.” I though well that is curious, so like a good student I wanted to know why. It was simple. If you are going to use a site determine if it is going to be professional or personal. If personal well keep it personal, and if you wouldn’t want your boss to see it well best to not have them try to join your personal site. If you are stuck in the tricky situation of your coworker or boss want to join (how do you tell your boss no) you can always say hey join my LinkedIn page, and explain that the other is for close personnel friends and family. If that doesn’t suit your needs well friend them give them a few days and then de-friend them and if they ask plead ignorance.

Clean up those photos and watch who or what you follow

This one feels like a no brainier, but I love to see people trying to get a job and a simple search of their Facebook page shows then doing keg stands or some other unscrupulous act. It just means sorry I’ll find someone else. Remember your profiles are and extension of who you are, or at least that is how people will see you (first impression and all). Those sites and groups you like that are controversial do not expect to win over any friends or network to well with those on there either (professional people tend to keep that stuff personal). Maybe this is another time to test out the mom test and see if she would approve of your social networking site and if not you have some work to do.

Respect people and never post in anger

If you cannot get away with saying it face to face then do not think that you can get away with it online either (people are not that hard to track down). Posting should be done just like writing a letter if you are upset. Write it walk away, come back, trash it, and then write it again, walk away, reread it, and then send. I know I added an extra step but with a letter you have to put it in the mail box and you still have time to retrieve it (hopefully if needed). When the information goes online it is out there forever… Yes, forever..

Okay so we have done all the above  so we have a neat and presentable personal and hopefully a professional page as well and now you want to try and network (you are social right?) and meet some new people maybe open some doors who knows what can happen. Well what do you do?

First and foremost do not go out asking for jobs. People are just going to trash your message and most likely de-friend you for it and well do you think asking someone for a job out of the blue got a person a job anyway? Next never recommend strangers. I think the golden rule here is if you have never been to their house, or them to yours, you do not know them that well. Friends hang out and know a good bit about each other. I have some coworkers I would recommend on the basis that I have known them for nearly a decade but I can assure you that group is pretty small and the longer I work the smaller the group gets. Your reputation is riding on how well they do. If you recommend someone who is a terrible employee it will look bad on them, but hey you recommended them so do not think the other person has forgotten about your recommendation.

In reality you build friends online like you would offline. You have to build a relationship and talk to people. Do not bombard them with messages, information, or newsletters (only send newsletters if they ask). Find a common bond between you and work from there, but be realistic Lady Gaga does not really want to be your close personal friend nor do half the CEOs of fortune 500 companies (unless you know most of them, then maybe).

What do you think; did I miss any social media etiquette faux pas? Have an example of a faux pas for us.