Marketing with Integrity – Selling Likes and Followers

Do you sell Facebook Likes or Twitter Followers to your clients?

I received this email in the middle of the night. You may have received it or something like it too.

It asks, “I was wondering if you sell Facebook Likes and Twitter Followers to your clients to improve their social media credibility?” The writer then goes on to suggest that, “Some companies sell 500 Facebook likes to their clients for $100, and buy the service from me for $15. It’s a huge profit margin and is a really easy add-on to sell to your current customers.”

My answer in a word is NO!

No, we don’t sell Facebook Likes, Twitter Followers or any other kind of social gesture. Buying followers amounts to pure deception, in my mind. Especially if the intent is to suggest that a large number of followers conveys greater credibility.

True credibility is earned. It is ascribed to you by others based on their experience of you. If you believe that the number of likes or followers conveys credibility, then purchasing them amounts to deception. 

If you are a marketer, don’t follow this path. It is marketing without integrity.

No answer at the Canadian Do Not Call Registry

Today is the first day of the new Canadian Do Not Call list. Our chance to get back at the obnoxious, persistent, call-at-any-time telemarketers by signalling that they do NOT have our permission to call us ever again.

Obviously, I’m not the only person trying to register on the Do Not Call list. On several successive attempts, I was greeted with this message.

No answer at the Do Not call registry

Clearly, the registry’s operators underestimated just how many of us really, really want to stop being interrupted by telemarketers.

But, if like me, you want to reduce the number of unwanted interruptions on your residential or cellular telephone line, you can try your luck to register online with the national Do Not Call list. Hopefully, by the time you try, you’ll be able to get through.

Oh. Of course, the registry does offer the old fashioned way to register by calling 1-866-580-DNCL (1-866-580-3625) or 1-888-DNCL-TTY (1-888-362-5889). But when I called, I received only a busy signal.

Oh well. I guess the Do Not Call registry doesn’t really want us to call after all.

UPDATE

Hurrah. Success. Finally, on day 2 of the registry, I was able to register my home and cell numbers on the Do Not Call list. Now, telemarketers have until November 1 to remove me from the list. I’m looking forward to the sound of silence.

Ethics and Word of Mouth Marketing – What are the issues?

What do you think are the most important ethical issues relating to Word of Mouth marketing?

I’m chairing a panel on Ethics of Word of Mouth at the CMA’s Word of Mouth Conference next week. The panelists discussing this issue with me will be Malcolm Roberts , President, Smith Roberts Creative Communications and Ross Buchanan, Director, Digital & Relationship Marketing, Molson Canada .

As I prepare for this session, I’d welcome your input.

  • What are the major ethical issues confronting the Word of Mouth industry?
  • What questions would you put to the panelists and participants?

I’ll use your suggestions and questions at the session. So, please fire away.

Ottawa technology sector uses social media platform for promotion

Here’s another case study in the making: a business group attempting to use social media for promotion and marketing.

At the height of the dot com boom, the Ottawa technology sector styled itself as Silicon Valley North. In fact, the technology sector was powered by industry leaders like Nortel, JDS Uniphase, Entrust and Cognos and the startups that grew up around them.

All that changed in a short period of time. The Ottawa industry was hit hard by the drop in demand for telecom and Internet gear. Tech companies fell on hard times, laying off employees, pulling out of the region or simply closing their doors.

Well, the region’s technology sector has slowly clawed its way back up from the depths. And now the tech sector’s business 82000reasons.comassociation, the Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation (OCRI) wants to spread the good news about the region’s resurgence.

OCRI has launched 82000 Reasons.com to proclaim to the world that the region’s tech sector has survived the telecom implosion, has reestablished itself on solid footing and is growing again. The site’s name alludes to the fact that there are now more than 82,000 people employed in Ottawa’s tech sector.

I found out about the site through a news release that arrived in my feedreader via an RSS feed from MarketWire. (Yes, news releases continue to be an effective way to reach people with an interest in your subject area.)

OCRI’s release says that 82000reasons:

“gives tech employees and companies an RSS, blog and viral video platform to share their successes with a global audience.”

“In the era of user generated content, every one of Ottawa’s technology success stories can be told, tagged and distributed online to a global audience,” says [Michael Darch, Executive Director of Ottawa Global Marketing]. “82000reasons.com leverages our greatest asset, our people, to tell the ‘Why Ottawa?’ story. They are better qualified than anyone to describe Ottawa’s lifestyle and technology strengths so we can attract the people and investment dollars we need to fuel our growth.”

OCRI is promoting participation through a contest offering Ottawa-Frankfurt air tickets to the best contributions and through by “banner ads on Facebook, plus local print, banner ad and radio advertising.”

Conspicuously absent in the list of promotional initiatives is any type of blogger outreach. That’s a real missed opportunity for an initiative that presents itself in social media terms.

The site has just launched. So, it’s too early to judge participation. I’ll follow its progress and try to arrange an interview with Mike Dartch in about a month to talk about the site’s objectives and how it is performing.

UPDATE: Media in Canada also has covered the launch of 82000Reasons

Hear ChickAdvisor at Third Tuesday Toronto

“I love your bag! Where’d You Get That?”Your hair looks fantastic! What Salon do you go to?”What’s the best cleanser for oily skin?

Hold on. Don’t click away. Yes, you ARE on ProPR. What do these questions have to do with ProPR and social media, you might ask?

Ali de BoldOne of the great things about Web 2.0 and social media is that entrepreneurs can bring their ideas to market with relatively little initial capital. ChickAdvisor is a prime example of a company started this way. Founders Alex and Ali de Bold have drawn on their own resources – personal savings, family and friends, and credit cards – to bring their idea to life.

Alex and Ali describe ChickAdvisor as “a social shopping reviews website for women to share advice on everything from hair salons to health clubs. All content is user generated and focuses on the products and local services women use every day. Members can add reviews, send links to their friends, add items to their hotlists and click through to buy items locally or online. Nothing beats a good recommendation and that’s what ChickAdvisor is all about!”

Alex de BoldSince they started their service in September 2006, Alex and Ali have built a community around ChickAdvisor by appealing to a focused interest of a clearly identified group (shopping and women). They haven’t reached profitability yet. But they think they are on course to do so.

So, Alex and Ali are two people who know a lot about creating an interesting social site that serves a need for a defined audience. They also know a lot about the challenges of creating a viable Web 2.0 business.

And they’ll be sharing what they’ve learned when they appear at Third Tuesday Toronto on Wednesday January 23 (yes Third Tuesday Toronto is on a Wednesday this month!). If you’re in Toronto that night, come out and join the discussion. You’ll meet lots of other people who share an interest in social media and Web 2.0. And you’ll hear a presentation by some people who are “there and doing it” right now.

Third TuesdayThird Tuesday events are free.* But we have to guarantee a minimum to the pub where we hold the event. If you plan to attend, please RSVP on the Third Tuesday Toronto meetup site so that we can get an accurate forecast of the number of attendees.

CNW Group* Yes, there’s a reason why these events are free. They are organized by volunteers and direct costs such as the sound system and room charge are paid for by our sponsor, CNW Group. Thank you CNW. You make it possible for Canada’s social media community to gather and learn.