Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Which Social Networking Sites Are Best For Me?


This is a common question I get from clients and audience participants all the time. They want me to recommend the best social networking sites for their business.  

I can confidently say that in pretty much every single interaction I have with new clients and audience participants, the two most frequent questions I receive are:  “Which Social Networking Sites are best for business?"  and  "Are there specific social sites you prefer and recommend over others?”

In answering these questions, I could be foolish in my approach by rattling off the top social sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, and advise people to start building their online presence within these sites.  While these are some of the more popular sites, it would be completely irresponsible and unprofessional of me to recommend them without gathering some marketing intelligence.

A word of caution to you:  If a marketing or social media consultant starts telling you where to build your online community and presence without first understanding your business goals and objectives, who your customers are and where they hang out online, I recommend you RUN LIKE THE DICKENS because they are lacking a very key part of social media intelligence, and that’s the marketing strategy you put behind building your online social media presence.

Amazingly enough I see this happen all the time. Individuals and companies advising their clients to jump in and get their feet wet and start building a presence on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, without any thought or care as to finding out whether or not their client’s customers are gathering and collecting on these social sites.  

So the question becomes:  How do individuals, companies and non-profits looking to use social media as a way to market, brand and promote their business online determine which social networking sites are best suited for them?

The best way I can answer this question through a blog post without having the benefit of speaking with you directly, is to provide you with a list of questions you need ask yourself.  Find a place where you can give some serious thought and consideration in answering these questions, as they will help guide you through the process of determining and selecting the best social networking sites for your business intentions: 
  1. Do you have a business plan or marketing plan with well defined target markets, customers types and business development objectives?
  2. How do you see using social media to help you reach these customer types and achieve your business goals and objectives?
  3. Have you observed the social channels your customers are using to connect with you? Is it through email, making comments on your blog, connecting with you on specific social sites?
  4. Have you observed or questioned your customers to find out where they are gathering online?
  5. Is there a large crowd of your ideal customers gathering on certain social networks that warrant the time and financial investment it will take for you to build a presence, become connected and engaged in conversations on these social sites?
  6. What are your products and services?  Are there specific niche sites that you should be on versus general public sites?
  7. Have you observed your industry to see what some of the most successful companies are doing online within different social sites?  Where are they hanging out, how are they engaging, and are they having any success?


There is a whole lot more to social media than ‘Just Talking’.  

It goes back to marketing 101.  The social networks you build your presence on will be determined and driven by where your customers are collecting, gathering and hanging out online.  Find large hungry crowds that are interested in what your business or organization offers, and build your online presence within communities they are a part of, then serve up information that is most  relevant and important to them.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Sorry @Instagram. Your Reason for Banning #Curvy Is B.S. and I'm NOT Buying It!

I love Instagram!  I am an avid user of this highly visual social media platform and I will continue using it. I encourage many of my clients to use it because there is incredible opportunity for marketing and promoting their business while connecting with their customer base.  

Today, however, I have a bone to pick with Instagram and I'm going to call them out for misleading the public on why they banned the word #curvy from their search results.  I'm also challenging them to address a very real problem with their platform that's seriously harming their users.

So this morning, I hopped on Twitter to catch up on the news and noticed a friend of mine was tweeting @CBCNews.  She was making great points about reasons people are overweight and that it does not mean someone is unhealthy.  Her comments intrigued me and I was curious what instigated the conversation so I explored her comments to discover she was responding to a recent article published on July 26th by @CBCNews titled:




I didn't know the word #curvy had been banned from Social Media search results, including Instagram, so I wanted to learn more by reading the @CBCNews article.

WOW!!!! is all I can say!  The reason Instagram gave to CBC as to why they banned the keyword #curvy is full of malarkey! 

Instagram says it banned the word #curvy due to some content not following their terms of use. @CBCNews reports: "A company spokesperson told multiple news outlets that the term was banned because some content donning the hashtag violated Instagram's rules about nudity. The company does not allow users to post nude, partially nude, pornographic or sexually suggestive photos on Instagram, according to its terms of use."

OK, this is where my jaw dropped and thought to myself "WOW, this is a total load of B.S. and I'm not buying it!"  Anyone familiar with Instagram and how to search keywords knows that Instagram just played the "bullshit baffle brain game".  The reason I say this is Instagram is notorious for being one of the worst platforms for allowing its users to publish hardcore porn.

In fact, hardcore porn is so prevalent on Instagram, I warn parents in my Internet Safety courses just how vile Instagram can be, and to watch their children's exposure to porn on this platform.  I just completed a one year research study on cyberviolence and one aspect of the research focused on the accessibility of porn on the Internet, and the impact it is having on personal relationships.  From this research, we know people search for porn on Instagram using popular search terms and keywords for porn, as well as code words that the average person may not be aware of.

So Instagram, thanks for bringing the word #curvy back but I must point something out!  

You have the gall to ban #curvy from your keyword search because you claim some of the content violated your terms of use, yet you don't ban popular porn words and code words.  I can not understand why you banned a word that is used by plus size women to celebrate their body shape, yet we can take any sex word or phrases and find an incredible amount of nude, partially nude and hardcore porn all over your site.  Please explain yourself!!!


Meanwhile, since you want to uphold your policies, I have a challenge for you:  Please ban all porn words, phrases and code words from your keyword searches to remove the real content that is violating your terms of use so you can stop harming our children with your platform - take on REAL responsibility and block porn content starting by blocking porn keywords in your searches!

While you are at it, how about banning porn stars from using your platform to share their partially nude, full nude and porn pictures with their Instagram followers.

When you take these actions, then maybe we can take you a little more seriously.  Until then, you have just lost credibility on this matter as you talk out of two sides of your mouth.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Fuck Boys & Sextortion in Prince Edward Island

On July 6, 2015, the Charlottetown Chief of Police was on CBC Compass PEI discussing with Bruce Rannie sextortion in Prince Edward Island.  He explained that to date, they have dealt with three incidents of sextortion in Charlottetown, PEI.

The Chief described how perpetrators befriend their victims on social media, grooms them and builds their trust either as a friend or romantic partner.  Once the trust level has been built the perpetrator will ask for sexual images from their victims or they will capture images of their victims unknowingly by taking screen shots.  Once the perpetrators have the sexual images, they then blackmail their victims for either more sexual images or for money.  

The advice given by the Chief of Police was to not put yourself in a compromising position.  Most of us would not walk into a restaurant or store partially or fully nude and we certainly would not strip down naked in public. We need to start looking at the Internet, Social Media and Texting in the same light.  When you post nude or near nude pictures of yourself or send sexual images to someone, you are putting yourself at risk and danger of being sexually exploited and blackmailed. 

I want to share with you that through the CONNECT PEI Cyberviolence Research Project, we have encountered this right across PEI, just as the Chief explained it .... ALSO .... it is happening in our public schools among our youth.  If anyone followed my Fuck Boy post on Facebook  last week, here's further information that comes from both male / female youth in PEI.  We have learned in depth first hand information on Fuck Boys and Sextortion in Prince Edward Island.

"Fuck Boys are defined as oversexed males who are disrespectful towards women and girls and pressure females into sexual conversations, sexual encounters, and sending sexts. They have no boundaries and no limits, speak very degradingly of women and girls, and feed their f-boy tendencies by pressuring girls for nudes and sexts. Once they receive those nudes, they then blackmail girls for more images, to have sex with them and their friends, to hang out with them at parties. The consequence of not obliging is the threat of releasing and sharing the nudes with the entire school population and character assassination."

Please note, the definition of sextortion: "Sextortion refers to the broad category of sexual exploitation in which abuse of power is the means of coercion, as well as to the category of sexual exploitation in which threatened release of sexual images or information is the means of coercion."

Related: "Charlottetown police investigating extortion reports"


Sunday, June 28, 2015

Choose Your Words Wisely

On the theme of kindness ... the words you use when interacting with others either breathe life or death, bless or curse, lift and elevate or rip and strip. 
Insults wrapped up in jokes are still insults. There's a fine line between being honest and being rude/obnoxious.
You can create an atmosphere of peace or conflict and love or hate all in the words you choose ... so filter your thoughts and choose your words wisely.


Saturday, June 27, 2015

All Things Grow With Love

Today, I am preparing the findings and strategy report for our Cyberbviolence Project. 

Tears are streaming down my face reading some of the stories of victims of cyberviolence. 

We must remember, we must love on both the victim and perpetrator.  As horrific the offence, perpetrators are often victims themselves.



Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Will You Help Us With Our Cyberviolence Research Project?

The Status of Women Canada recognizes the importance of coming up with strategies to deal with Cyberviolence, particularly against young women and girls.

My company Sweet Spot Marketing is working in partnership with EPWIC - East Prince Women's Information Centre on a two year research project for Prince Edward Island. The goal is to address cyberviolence in PEI, to identify root causes and issues in our province, then work with stakeholders to develop strategies to prevent and eliminate cyberviolence in general, and more specifically against young women  and girls.

Our goal is to include a diverse community to represent different members and publics of our society. We're looking to include both genders, all cultures, race, languages, LGBTQ, etc. because different groups are cyber abused in different ways, and we really want to drill down to find out exactly what is taking place here in PEI so we can create, in partnership with various stakeholders including the public, strategies that will work for PEI.


At the moment, I have one question I would like to ask:

HOW WOULD YOU ANSWER THIS QUESTION .... 
In your opinion, what are the institutional barriers and other factors that limit the efforts of communities to address the issue of cyberviolence in general, and more specifically against young women and girls?

NOTE 1: Please comment below or send me a private message through the blog using the contact form to your right. All ideas/comments are good ideas/comments - there is no need to pass judgement against the opinions of others. Please be respectful and polite with your answers. Any derogatory, mean spirited comments will be deleted.
NOTE 2: Cybervioence is defined as any form of violence that brings harm to an individual deliberately using electronic means (e.g. cyberspace, social media, Internet, texting, etc.) including but not limited to internet luring, cyberstalking, cyberbullying, sexual bullying, sexual exploitation, harassment, defamation, character assassination, and trafficking.
NOTE 3: Thank you for your participation. Please feel free to involve your family and friends - to start having the conversation on how we can prevent and eliminate cyberviolence. Please feel free to share this post with your social networks, encouraging their participation.

Sincerely,
Nancy Beth Guptill &  Andy Lou Somers


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Nancy Beth is an Entrepreneur & Small Business Owner, Founder of Sweet Spot Marketing Canada and a Motivational Speaker for Women & Girl Leadership.

As an Internet and Digital Marketing veteran, Nancy Beth has vast experience in Internet Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Online Safety and Protecting Your Digital Footprint. Since 2010, Nancy Beth has been highly sought after to share her message on being a Digital Leader, using the Internet & Social Media for good, and how to safely navigate the Social Web. 

Keynote Speaker | Executive Coach | Training Consultant | Founder of Sweet Spot Marketing Canada (@sweetmarketing) |(@nbguptill) | Digital Leader | Women & Girl Leadership

To book Nancy Beth for your next event, or to discuss your training needs Visit: http://sweetspotmarketingacademy.ca/contact

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

How To Protect Your Shadow Footprint - Part 1


[This article written by Nancy Beth Guptill, originally appeared on http://sweetspotmarketingcanada.blogspot.ca in July 2013}



Huh? What are you talking about? What's a Shadow Footprint?

Good Question! With our Social Web, it is important to protect your Digital Shadow because what others say about you online can either boost your image and reputation, or completely destroy it. This holds true regardless of what people say, whether they are talking about you, your brand or your business in a professional or personal manner.

Your Shadow Footprint is defined by what others have to say about you online. This includes pictures, video's, audio recordings and text posts on blogs, social media and internet websites. On the Social Web, your image and reputation is the the sum of Google's Search results.

Most of us have heard the message “Protect Your Digital Footprint”. Your Digital Footprint is defined as anything you put out on the internet and social media sites about yourself. Your Shadow Footprint is content and information that others post and publish about you or your business online.

While you may take the action to be a good Digital Leader, others may not, and what others say and post about you or your company can really hurt your reputation.

Why is it important to protect our Digital & Shadow Footprints?

In our digital world, most people go to the internet as their primary research tool to look things up on Google, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other search engines. Thinking about our Digital and Shadow Footprints, anything you, or others, put up about you on the internet is searchable and can have more meaning than anything you might include in a proposal, company overview, a resume or application paper.

Here's the thing, even if what is being said about you is not true, when people see things in print they tend to believe it, especially if the content is published on a credible site like an online article on a newspaper's website, or a podcast on a radio station's website.




The reality is our Digital & Shadow Footprints:
  • Remain on the Internet Forever
  • Are defined as the amount of content that is traceable back to a given individual, brand or company, whether the content is words, photographs, audio, or video … regardless of the publishing source
  • Define our social identity, online brand and persona. As an internet user, we create our social identity in online communities, blogs and websites. It is defined through our actions, behaviors and interactions with others. Through our social identity people determine our online personality / persona which defines our online brand. Our online brand and persona is who we are as a person and how others perceive us online.
  • Over time, our digital and shadow footprints combined, create our Social Identity
  • Can be our new first impression.  By this I mean, people may meet you for the first time online through social media sites or reading about you on a blog or in the news. Think of it this way, you have probably met people online first through reading a news article, through your friends, or by joining an online community, before actually meeting them in-person offline. What they see about you online will create a first impression, and that impression will either be good or otherwise. I am sure many of you have accepted friend requests from people you never met, and did so because they had a positive online image. I am also sure many of you have declined friend requests or blocked people because of their online behavior and negative online image.
  • Examples of Digital Footprint: photographs you uploaded to social sites, blog posts, shared video files, posts you wrote as status updates or comments you made on a friend's wall.
  • Examples of Digital Shadow: photographs, video's and audio clips your friends or family members post about you as their update status, news articles published on the newspaper or radio station's website

As internet users, we are responsible for our own actions, and we need to be Digital Leaders. We can make a conscious decision to protect our Digital Footprint, as well as the Shadow Footprint of others by being a Digital Leader and a good Cybercitizen. We control what we post and we should not let technology betray us or others.

One of my all time favorite authors and speakers in Digital Marketing is Erik Qualman [@equalman]. When we interact through social media and email, he calls me #OhCanada and I just love it! Erik is the author of Socialnomics and Digital Leader, and he is a strong proponent for Digital Leadership. Two must read books for ANY user of the social web is Socialnomics and Digital Leader by Erik. I strongly encourage you to read both of his books as they are truly insightful.

While we can control our Digital Footprint we have no control over our Shadow Footprint. However, we can … and MUST ... take measures to protect it.

Next week, I will share part two of this two-part blog series. In part two, I will share strategies and tactics on how to actually protect your Shadow Footprint. In the meantime, if you have any questions on part one, please post questions on this blog, or you can post them to my Facebook Page http://www.facebook.com/sweetmarketing

In closing this post, take a moment to watch “A Tale of Two Footprints” by Mr. Sheehy  This video reinforces the content in this post.

                       


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Nancy Beth is an Entrepreneur & Small Business Owner, Founder of Sweet Spot Marketing Canada and a Motivational Speaker for Women & Girl Leadership.
  • As an Internet and Digital Marketing veteranNancy Beth has vast experience in Internet Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Online Safety and Protecting Your Digital Footprint.  Since 2010, Nancy Beth has been highly sought after to share her message on being a Digital Leader, using the Internet & Social Media for good, and how to safely navigate the Social Web. 

    Keynote Speaker | Executive Coach | Training Consultant | Founder of  Sweet Spot Marketing Canada(@sweetmarketing) |(@nbguptill) | Digital Leader |
     Women & Girl Leadership