Wednesday, April 29, 2009

How Social Media Marketing is similar to Network Marketing

I gave a talk recently at the Wasaga Beach Women's Business Association. This is an active group of women business owners who are progressive and are interested in growing their businesses. Many of them already understand the benefits of marketing online and see the benefits of using twitter, Linkedin and facebook.

My topic was, "How to maximize your marketing in turbulent times". I focused on how to incorporate social media marketing into existing marketing plans. Below is the text of my presentation:

Good evening. Thank you for the opportunity to speak at your event this evening.

I am sure that you did not know that US President Obama had a summer place in Wasaga Beach. It has been suggested that I bear a slight resemblance to Obama. While I don’t see it, I’ll do my best to tell what’s really happening on the Internet and deliver a marketing stimulus package for your business.

With regards to Social Marketing, it feels like 1995 all over again. That’s the year the World Wide Web exploded. Everyone was talking about it, everyone knew they had to be on it, but very few knew what to do. It was very experimental.

We are in a similar place today with social marketing, social media, web marketing or whatever you want to call what we are experiencing with Internet marketing today.

This is a ‘good news/bad news’ story. The good news is that we will get used to it sooner or later. We will learn how to adapt to it in the same way we became addicted to the World Wide Web. The bad news is that we have some experimenting to do.

Tonight I am going to share some of the things I have learned about social marketing on the Internet that will speed up your learning. In the process these techniques will improve the effectiveness of your marketing. Inexpensively!

What is Social Marketing? A simple way to look at it is to compare it to what we are doing here tonight: networking with other people in a social setting.

Instead of being together in a physical location, the technology of the Internet allows you to connect with individuals on a one-to-one basis. Like this meeting, it is interactive: people talk to you. And just like every successful network meeting, the more you put in the more you get out.

Social marketing happens in a number of ways: through email from your customers (assuming you check and respond regularly), on network sites like facebook and others, and on specialized web sites called blogs

Blogs are web sites that contain stories or articles that are written about very specialized topics. The author publishes a story and people react either positively or negatively by leaving comments. Other people react not only to the article but also to the comments and so on and so on. Your community grows with people who want to connect with you.

Let me give you an example of social marketing to illustrate: A number of years ago we were planning a trip to Greece. We started our research on the web. We found a specific site that seemed much more personal than others It gave us lots of details on some off-the-beaten path things to see, and places to go. It even recommended a local travel agent based in Athens. That made sense to us: work with someone who lived and worked in the market. Without having met the agent, we contracted with them to book us the Greek portion of our travel. We believed that because they were local they would make better recommendations. And we trusted that because they came from a reputable web site that we respected we would be taken care of. We were not disappointed. And when we had a problem with a ferry, we had someone local to contact to help us with the problem. Think about how you could use that same technique to reach out to people who want to visit Wasaga Beach and may even want to move here to live. Wouldn’t it be great if you could begin to build a relationship with them?

And the kicker: Social Media is inexpensive. It allows a small and mid-size company to compete on a level playing field with larger companies.

At a network event and in social marketing, the etiquette is the same. There are three basic questions: Who are you? What do you do? What can you do for me?

That is a favourite song from The Who the theme song to a favourite show, CSI It is the first and most important question you ask at a network event. It is also the first question you need to ask and answer when you get into Social Marketing.

From a business perspective, ‘who you are’ defines what business you are in. For example, “My name is Chris Morales and I am an Internet Marketing Consultant”. You immediately have an image of who I am. It begins to paint a picture of what business I am in and what my brand stands for.

Its all about ‘Brand Image’. It’s what we do at altered perception, the design studio I consult for in Barrie. We work with small and medium-sized businesses to create their brand image: we take their brand from perception to reality.

Your business is what you do. Let’s take a look at some familiar business names:

Tim Hortons: Business – Coffee
Staples: Business – Office supplies
Zoomer Business – retirement
Google: Business – Internet search
Starbucks: Business – Coffee

This is the qualifier, the elevator pitch if you will. Let’s use my personal example again: “My name is Chris Morales. I am an Internet Marketing Consultant and I specialize in Social Marketing”.

Now lets take a look at those businesses again, this time thinking what their Brand Image communicates:

Tim Hortons: Brand Image – Canadiana
Staples: Brand Image – Easy
Zoomer: Brand Image – Active Boomers
Google: Brand Image – the Internet
Starbucks: Brand Image – Exclusive club

These companies spend millions of dollars annually communicating their brand to consumers. They are now starting to move into social media. And unlike other forms of marketing and media, the cost is low…free except for your time commitment.

The final piece of the puzzle is the obvious one. The Benefit. Again using myself as an example, it would go something like this, “My name is Chris Morales. I am an Internet Marketing Consultant and I specialize in Social Marketing. I show small to mid-size businesses how to increase the effectiveness of their marketing.

At this point in the conversation, the other person is either interested or not. But recognize that you can’t be all things to all people. Your best and most profitable relationships in business are with people who are interested in you and what you have to offer. They tell their friends and associates.

So with increasing confidence and potential results, you can now start to use social marketing for your business.

You are all familiar with each other so you likely know each other really well. But the first time you came here, you had to exchange information. That is exactly what social marketing does. It just uses the Internet technology to do it on a more sophisticated scale.

On the numerous social networking sites, facebook being the most well known, each user sets up a profile or brand image as soon as they join. Putting in a lot of information allows the individual to get more out of the experience.

If I could offer one piece of advice to you on how to maximize your social media marketing, it would be to be honest, genuine and authentic. Just like you expect from the person whom you are talking to. And yes, I made this mistake. When I first started my blog, I didn’t put a profile picture up and I didn’t tell them where I lived. Very limited acceptance on-line. Once I posted my picture on the Beach and put my profile in detail, visitors to my blog increased from 300 a month to 1,200 per month consistently.

There are numerous web sites that you can market socially on. I recommend you start with “The Big 3’: facebook, twitter, Linkedin.

facebook is more of a social network where friends go to keep in touch. It is evolving fast. Nike for example has a an extensive presence on facebook. Their primary profile page has over 1.4 million ‘friends’.

Twitter is similar to a broadcast medium. You are limited to 140 characters to send your message, but you can include links back to your web site. Its called a ‘tweet’. You only communicate with people in your network. Back to Nike for an example. I am interested in marathon running. I follow Nike’s on twitter. Multiple times a day I see tweets from them noting a tip on training. It is relevant and interesting to me. Keeps Nike top-of-mind. What shoe am I likely to strongly consider when I need to buy shoes again.

Linkedin is more business-focused. You can think of it as facebook for business. You can follow in and participate in various business-related topics. In my case, I follow discussions on how to use social media more effectively. I also follow discussions on marathon running and the automotive industry.

All these social marketing networks are free to join and participate in. Think about that. To reach customers and build your brand presence doesn’t cost anything but time.

“Can the Internet benefit me here in Wasaga Beach?” I say ‘yes’ to that. Let me end with a recent, personal example:

“How social media got me into Macleans magazine”. I posted an article on my personal blog about customer service. I twittered it. I talked about it on my facebook and Linkedin pages. I commented on an article on The writer saw my comments, checked me out and thought I would make a good story.

The article appeared in MACLEANS April 6 Since then awareness for my brand has continued to grow. Radio interviews, business opportunities. I could not have afforded the exposure if I had to pay for it. Through social marketing it has cost me time at my computer.

If it can work for me, it can work for you.

And to display proper social marketing etiquette, here is how you can follow me:

Facebook: Chris Morales

Linkedin: Chris Morales

Twitter: Chris_Morales

Personal web site:

I look forward to seeing you on-line.

Thank you very much for your attention tonight.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Ramblings of TJR -- Marketer -- Mom -- TV Addict.: Make or break your brand

A very good friend, Tracey Rossignol posted a blog last week: Ramblings of TJR -- Marketer -- Mom -- TV Addict.: Make or break your brand

I especially liked her line in the last paragraph about not upsetting a Mother. Good advice!

I enjoyed her story and I think you will as well.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Identity Theft videos on YouTube

Identity Theft is a serious and growing issue. We found these videos on YouTube. They are worth the time to watch:

Sally and I have become much more aware of the issue since becoming Independent Associates with Pre Paid Legal. And since hearing Michael McCoy, the author of 'The Silent Crime' speak last Saturday, it is especially top-of-mind for us.

I have been notoriously lax in minimizing the risk. Sally not so.

If you have any stories please leave us a comment.

Friday, April 17, 2009

I need a vacation from being unemployed and famous!

I had a heck of a time with this post this week. After a week that saw me speak at my very first corporate event (it went well), give a number of radio interviews as a result of the MACLEANS article, and conclude three days of focused effort for Pre Paid Legal, I am exhausted.

I have stopped and started this post so many times, I have lost track.

So to heck with it, here is what is on my mind this week:

A cautionary tale: don't ever take anything for granted. I did. I though it would be easy to replace my corporate job within 4 months. Hard work yes, but with all my experience, energy and enthusiasm, I figured no business could resist the total package. Was I wrong. Not only did I loose my job, but a number of friends and associates from the advertising world also got 'right sized'.

I have been blogging and playing in the social media marketing world through all of it and have recently gained my 15 minutes of fame with the article in MACLEANS a couple of weeks ago. And the radio interviews and blog recognition have extended the fame to about 25 minutes. But it all seems hollow and pointless. Something is missing and I don't mean just the money.

I think I need a vacation.

No I'm not kidding. The hardest part of not having a 'job' is trying to keep all the balls up in he air for the multiple things I am doing: Altered Perception, Pre Paid Legal, blogging and social media marketing, corporate speaker.

'Brand Morales' covers a lot of divisions that are all active every day. (Yes, that is my logo above. I am playing with the tag line, "building brand value by unleashing the hidden potential".

Last week as an example:

  • Monday: got to bed finally at 2 am after finalizing the presentation for Tuesday evening to the Wasaga Beach Women's Business Association
  • Tuesday: interview with 97.7 The Beach at 9 am and another at 1 pm with 570 CHYM. They love my story of blogging my way into MACLEANS. Then presentation to the Women's Business association at 7 pm before getting home at 11 am
  • Wednesday: Pre Paid Legal Business all day: presentations in Kitchener to two businesses and two 'cold calls' to other companies. Then back to Barrie for the evening business meeting.
  • Thursday: more Pre Paid Legal prospecting in Toronto this time. Plus another radio interview this time with 1290 News in London.
  • Friday: some advertising business before a return visit back to Toronto for an evening of training for Pre Paid Legal.


For this upcoming week, I am only going to do three things:

  1. Stop and take a breath. And stop trying so hard.
  2. Get back to the basics. Focus on fewer things
  3. Continue to build business relationships.

This will seem like a vacation.

Finally, let me sum it up this way:

  • It sucks to have all this energy, experience ambition and ideas...yet be sitting on the sidelines.

This 'sabbatical' has been good: I no longer have to live in Toronto during the week away from Sally and Tia. I have learned a ton about social media marketing and got the MACLEANS media exposure. Plus it was fun to give those radio interviews. I have great support from Sally and all my friends and family, plus I have met some really great people including Tammy and Kristi at Altered Perception, Teresa with Pre Paid Legal and Paul with Avenue A.

Champagne soon.

Until next week...

PS: check out this web site for the #2 ranking I received for my story about how to beat the recession:

Friday, April 10, 2009

Andy Warhol's 15 Minutes of Fame

The response to both the article in MACLEANS and my blog post has been very positive. Thank you to all of you who have left comments so far. You can read the comments for yourself here by clicking on this link: The Morales View: Races to Finish: How Blogging got me into MACLEANS Magazine.

Sally and I now understand what Andy Warhol meant when he stated that everyone gets 15 minutes of fame. We have been recognized in the local Loblaws Supercentre, a number of people and organizations have contacted us about becoming involved with them, and we have experienced increased success in our Pre Paid Legal business.

And it continues...

This Tuesday, April 14, I will be appearing live on 97.7 The Beach The combination of blogging, social media and the appearance last week in MACLEANS magazine apparently got their attention. It should be fun and of course I will blog about it next week :)

For all my radio industry friends, associates and classmates from the Broadcasting program at Conestoga College (class of '81) it has only taken me 25 years to get back on the radio. :)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

How Blogging got me into MACLEANS Magazine

I went back to school in the Fall of 2008. I was laid off from my executive-level job in advertising. An early casualty of the fast downward spiral in the economy.

Unfortunately I was not alone: a number of very good friends and business associates also got the bullet. None of us understood what was happening. We were seasoned executives who had built and led effective teams in developing marketing and advertising campaigns. Yet we were out of work.

To find a way out, my decision was to begin blogging; to learn about social internet marketing. There were three specific reasons.
First, I wanted to write a book. Mine was about the crazy sayings that I had heard over my long advertising and marketing career. Those original posts and are archived under the Label, "Working". One day I will get around to actually printing it...maybe.

The second reason was more personal: I needed an outlet for my emotions surrounding the death of my Father in September. That post can be found under, "Living"

The third reason was to find a job. And since I was feeling more comfortable in the social marketing world, I blogged about that as well It was more of a rant but that post was likely the match that lit the fuse that led to appearing in MACLEANS magazine.

As a Newbie Blogger, I searched constantly for ways to improve my on-line presence and increase traffic for my blog. One of the ways suggested was to comment on other blogs leaving a URL for tracking back. I started to do that and still do on a regular basis. My favourite news magazine blog was MACLEANS I got in the habit of commenting about stories that I was interested. One of those comments caught the attention of the reporter, Colin Campbell. The magazine was publishing an on-going series of articles, "The New Middle Class Reality" and he wanted to interview me.

After some consideration, I agreed. The interview was done over the telephone and lasted about an hour. I gave him a lot of material and was pleasantly surprised at the quotes that got published.

After that, MACLEANS sent photographer Cole Garside to our home in Wasaga Beach. Great young photographer. He spent the morning with us and shot over 500 photos. He told us that MACLEANS wanted to get natural shots of us going about our regular workday routine. I had never had that experience before but after a few minutes I actually forgot he was there. It helped that I had a conference call that morning with Motivatorman, Emmanuel Lopez

Only after the photo session did it feel that that this was really going to happen. But until I actually picked up the printed magazine and flipped to page 34, it wasn't real. I bought all the copies in the store immediately!
You are can read the article on-line here
Since then Sally and I have had our share of fame. We have been introduced at a business meeting as 'those people in MACLEANS' and Sally has even been stopped in the local supermarket by someone who recognized her. We love our 15 minutes of fame :)
A final note: while I haven't found a 'job' yet, I now work in multiple areas. I do sales and marketing for in Barrie, Sally and I are Independent Associates with Pre Paid Legal and my public speaking career kicks off April 14 at my first event at a Women's Business Association in Wasaga Beach.
School may now be out, but the learning continues. :)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

How to cook Rice and Peas...who knew there were so many versions

The original post has generated a number of comments from readers who have been kind enough to share their recipes. Who knew that there were so many versions of Rice and Peas.

This link will take you directly to the original post with the comments:

The challenge will now be to try them all. Great carbo loading for the Reggae Marathon this December 5 in Negril. You can check their blog out directly by following this link:
And for those of you interested, you can join my facebook group to show your support for the Reggae Marathon
Enjoy the Rice and Peas. Jerk Pork and Chicken for sure after the Reggae Marathon :)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

First Run of the Season on Wasaga Beach

I enjoyed my first run on Wasaga Beach this morning. The ice pack was completely gone and I was alone with the sunset and the gulls.

This early in the season, the Beach shows the heavy impact of the long winter. Lots of undulations, driftwood and debris littered along the the shoreline.
But it still beats being inside on the treadmill or elliptical machine.

And finally being able to run on hard-pack sand was a real treat.

I headed out around 7:30 am and took it slow and easy to allow my legs to get used to the softness and resistance of the sand. I managed about 2.5 kilometres before heading back home.
The temperature was a very comfortable 4 degrees Celsius and with no wind, it was an enjoyable run.
I know it is not Negril in Jamaica. But it was inspiration enough to remind me about the Reggae Marathon December 5 in Jamaica.