Here in Florida recently, a judge ruled in an ongoing high-profile case that
a person's Twitter and Facebook's posts were allowed to be accessed by the
defense team. Click here to read the full story. While this was
simply a discovery and procedures hearing at this time and the attorneys for
Twitter and Facebook may still get involved, the question still remains. Just
how much are you protected on Twitter and Facebook? Are your Tweets and
Facebook posts protected by free speech or can the courts subpena your records?
The answer may surprise you. With Twitter, you have little or no recourse when
you post. It is a public forum for all to see. Most courts agree. With
Facebook however, there have been some issues as you have more privacy settings
to use and if you use them and are saying things that you only want certain
people to see and someone else grabs those or your hit with a court order to
produce them, you do have some recourse if you can prove your privacy settings
were in place and your comments or pictures were private and someone violated
that policy. I am not nor do I claim to be a legal expert but here is a link to
some very good information I found to your privacy in social media.
"Privacy Rights Clearing House" I encourage you to really think hard before
you post and think about what you say. Read the privacy polices in detail of
Facebook and Twitter. Posting in the heat of anger, or saying something you
may think is funny at the time can have a backlash on you. Be it your friends,
company you work for everyone, one way or another may see your posts.
Things go viral in a hurry in this digital age we live in. Check your Facebook
page privacy settings. Who do you want to see your pictures or posts?
Take "time" to be responsible so you yourselfmay not face "doing time."
In conversations with some fellow business associates (as well as seeing
other blogs on-line) I noticed the large amount of business owners or managers
who are unfamiliar with or do not understand the great resources of using MDF
(marketing development funds) from their wholesalers or distributors. In a
nutshell this is money your company earns through purchasing of a manufacturer
or distributor's products. In most cases you have to sign up for it and be at a
certain level of commitment with that distributor or manufacturer to earn the
money back. In most cases it is 1 to 2% of your purchases. Your challenges as
a business to accessing these funds are learning how to use, gain approval, and
report back how you used it to get reimbursed and secondly know how to co-brand
as the money technically is their money they are giving you so they do have a
vested interest on how it's used. Some distributors or manufacturers are more
flexible than others in letting you use MDF funds. I have found some too
restrictive in the fact they only allow you to use their "marketing partners" to
create campaigns which I find offensive as it is saying "Here is who you can do
business with and here are your choices of campaigns." I like to think out of
the box such as using social media with MDF funds or do events. This is one of
the downfalls of some firms who give you marketing development funds is the fact
they want total control of the money they give you. (Even though it is supposed
to be yours for buying their products) They limit how you use it, they tell you
what programs you can pick (which are few) and lastly they give you little
space or opportunity to brand your own business yet they want their brand highly
promoted. No thanks. As one popular commercial states, "It's my money and I
want it now!" Now on the positive note, I do know of one distributer who allows
pretty much a free hand in using MDF funds to their resellers. They allow you
to think outside the box and be creative. All they ask is they see how their
brand or logo is being used and if that is to their liking they always say "Go
with it!" This kind of company I like. They support their resellers, they allow
creativity, and they know you earned that money by buying their products so you
do with it as you choose. My final point with MDF funds is make sure you ask
questions with your sales rep or territory manager about their program. Is it
worth signing up for? Does it benefit your business or their business? Is it
really a 50-50 partnership? A good program will basically work like free money
to you. You can buy marketing products or collateral, you can advertise, you can
put on events or you can create media campaigns. In the end, it should cost you
I love networking. You might even call me a social butterfly ( Did I say that?)
If you go to a networking event and you return with no business cards in
your pocket or some jotted down notes then why did you go? While these events
are good for leads, they are also good to help other associates who might be
having a tough time with a sale, idea, job loss, staffing issues, or other events that
occurred in their business. These folks want more than a pat on the
back and a "I'm sorry to hear that." Relationships are built on developing trust
and if you can help them, they will help you. I understand competition in
today's world seems to be cutthroat and its all about survival in this
entitlement society we seem to live in but also SMB's who network see the same
familiar faces and from that, we learn to help each other.
Networking helps you succeed and yes, there is a
level of knowledge you need to be good at it. If you go to an event and sit on
your hind end drinking a beer or soft drink and wonder why nobody is talking to
you, then you don't belong there. You are selling yourself and your business.
You should come with business cards, look presentable (business casual for most
of these events) and smile. Some of my colleagues have suggested that at
networking events, don't go handing out business cards left and right and I tend
to agree. Most of these events are informal and a time to relax. If they ask for it
by all means then exchange cards but do not go handing them out to every new face you see.
Say hello, ask them what they do, and say how glad you are to meet them and also if they are new,
Introduce them to others you know to make them feel welcome and at home.
This will help them feel good about coming. One final note, if you do receive a card
with their email address is on it and you feel they may be a viable lead for you,
send them an informal email saying it was great to meet them. Dont load itup with
everything you do. Hopefully you have a business signature that explains that.
keep it simple on your first email contact and just say it was a pleasure to meet them
and you hope to see them at future events. Now you broke the ice and left an impression.
Another quick item with networking is what I like to term the A to B connection.
When you network, take charge of the conversations, listen, and always have an address
book in your head open. When you coordinate people with other people at
these events, you are remembered and it comes back in dividends to you. Just
because they may be looking fo something you don't offer, don't be a jerk and
say fine and walk away. If they need a hammer and all you sell is screwdrivers,
maybe someone at the event sells hammers. Put them together. If the new face
came looking for a job, ask them about their skills and maybe a temp agency or
you know of one of your contacts may be looking for someone with their skills.
Networking is more than meet and greet. It is looking at the big picture each
and every time.
My last comment is this. This is a no brainer but it has to be said. Do not over indulge
in the adult beverages if you drink. I have seen this one too many times when the
booze flows then the "Mr. Big Shot" takes over or the flirting starts and this
is not the time or the place for that. Most networking events offer an open or
cash bar but be responsible. You represent your business. Even if your friends
are there, say hello but move around and do what you came there for. Network!
I hope these tips were helpful and now go try them out. Let me how it works for you.