Anything You Say on Facebook Can & Will Be Used Against You in a Court Of Law
Facebook may seem like a harmless hobby, but make no mistake: The blunders you post on the site can come back to haunt you.
In March, a Michigan man was charged with polygamy after he shared photos from his second marriage on Facebook. The wedding was a surprise to his first wife, from whom he was separated, but not divorced.
More recently, a Virginia court fined a widower and his attorney a combined $722,000 after trying to pull a fast one on the legal system. After a truck overturned and killed his wife, the widower filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the trucker and his employer. But when the defendant asked for a copy of the widower’s Facebook page as part of their discovery request, the widower and his lawyer deleted the widower’s account instead of producing it. (The offending page apparently showed the widower holding a beer while wearing a t-shirt that read “I [heart] hot moms.”)
With increasing frequency, people are finding that their Facebook posts can be used against them in the court of law.
A Lot of Incriminating Evidence
Facebook has more than 800 million active users—and, on average, they upload 250 million pictures a day to the site. There are no estimates on how many of those pictures people regret uploading, but you can be sure it’s more than a few. The photos taken after a few too many drinks, the pictures that show people engaged in dangerous or even illegal behavior…anyone who’s been on Facebook for a while has seen those images.
But it’s not just the pictures that can get you in trouble. Maybe you’ve testified in court you were in one place at a particular day and time, but your Facebook page shows you checked in elsewhere. Maybe your child custody agreement limits how far you can travel with your kids, but you post a status update telling friends you’re taking them to Disneyland and their father can’t stop you. Maybe you’re asking for a no-fault divorce but there’s evidence on Facebook to suggest you were having an affair before separating from your spouse.
There are all sorts of ways in which Facebook can get you in legal trouble, or be used against you in a court case.
Mind Your Ps & Qs
At the California family law firm of Heath-Newton LLP, lawyers say that it’s more and more common for social networking sites to be used as evidence in divorce and child custody cases.
“We advise all of our clients to take the following five steps with their social media, particularly in child custody matters,” says Erik W. Newton, a partner at the firm. “Change all of your passwords so that your spouse or ex cannot log into your account. Double-check your security settings so that only friends can view your page (not friends of friends), and so that you are notified when someone tags a photo of you. Remove any unsavory or questionable photos, especially those depicting alcohol consumption or parties. Remove your Wall completely so that other Facebook friends cannot leave undesirable comments on your page. And emphasize pictures of your children.”
But locking down the security settings on your Facebook account isn’t always enough.
If, during the legal discovery process, the other side asks for access to your social networking accounts, you’re required the supply the information intact—preserved in the same state it appeared when you got the request (or even had reason to believe you might have gotten the request).
And make no mistake—it’s not just Facebook accounts that are cause trouble. Newton says judges are even starting to order couples to swap passwords for their online dating sites.
A recent Forbes article tells the tale of a divorcing Connecticut couple who was forced to exchange the log-in information for their Facebook, Match and EHarmony accounts.
According to the husband’s lawyer, his client had seen some possibly incriminating evidence on a shared computer that gave him reason to believe his soon-to-be-ex-wife might not be a fit parent for full custody of their children. The wife reportedly complied, but not before allegedly asking a friend to log onto her accounts and deleted some message. Needless to say, the judge apparently wasn’t pleased.
Remember when accounting firm Arthur Andersen got in trouble because it shredded evidence in the Enron scandal? Deleting or editing your online activity if you know it’s could be used against you in a lawsuit is no different. In other words, don’t expect to be able to clean up your act after the fact.
Jennifer E. King co-authors the Lawyers.com blog.
Additional Information on Lawyers.com:
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Here are some great tips
to help supercharge your business this year.
Want to increase your chances of converting new leads? Want to improve your blog content and grow your readership? Want to capitalize on your sales trends from 2012? If you’re looking for insights about those topics, this week’s 5 on Friday can help.
1. How to Spot Trends in Your Business and Turn Them Into Profits
What did your customers buy more of or less of in 2012? Who were your best customers in 2012? Rieva Lesonsky shares tips that can help you learn from the past year . . . and grow your business in 2013.
2. 5 Content Ideas That Never Grow Old – and 5 That Grow Old Fast
Do your blog posts help to generate leads? Do you publish both evergreen and timely content? Get some creative ideas from Monika Jansen.
3. 7 Quick Tips to Optimize Your Content for Search
Is it easy for prospects to find your content online? Are you optimizing your images, videos, and social posts? Here’s a handy checklist from Monika Jansen.
Have other sales, search, or content tips for readers? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
Traditional Spending Habits That Can Drive Your Small Business into the Ground
Like most small business owners, you probably can’t remember the last time that you took a vacation. In this weak economy, you simply can’t afford to put your business on the back burner for any amount of time. Money is far too tight. Even if you’re watching your organization’s revenues and expenditures like a hawk, you’re still probably looking for ways to trim its budget, and even marginally increase your after-tax earnings.
To lay the groundwork for sustainable profit growth, you’ll need to go through your business’s finances with a fine-toothed comb. Over the past two decades, certain technological advances and cultural changes have dramatically altered the country’s economic landscape. To position your business to take advantage of these trends, you’ll need to do away with its most counterproductive spending habits. Use these five smart-spending tips to start moving your small business forward.
Reduce Your Hardware Footprint
If you’re like most small business owners, you probably don’t devote very much thought to your business’s overhead expenses. After all, the costs associated with your building’s power, Internet service and rent are more or less fixed. There’s no point in trying to change things that you can’t control.
Then again, you could have some control over your overhead costs. Depending upon how much power your business consumes, you may be able to slash your organization’s electricity bills by hundreds of dollars each year without making undue sacrifices. Modern laptops and tablets use far less power compared to old-fashioned desktop computers. What’s more, laptops are typically cheaper, faster and more compact than desktops, and can result in savings well over 50%. Each time one of your business’s old desktops wears out, replace it with a laptop or tablet.
Rein in Your Printing Expenses
Printer cartridges are expensive and environmentally-unfriendly. In fact, Xerox asserts that from 1991-2008 the company recycled 2 billion pounds of spent toner cartridges. Whether you use an old-fashioned ink jet or a fancy new laser printer, you’re probably not happy with your current printing costs. Fortunately, most cartridge manufacturers and retailers participate in cartridge recycling programs. These serve dual purposes: They can reduce your ink or toner costs and may keep millions of non-biodegradable cartridges out of the country’s landfills each year.
There are a few different ways to recycle your ink toner for great results. Major office supply stores like Staples and Office Depot offer in-store rebates of $2 to $3 per used cartridge. Dedicated cartridge wholesalers offer even more robust programs that permit business owners to exchange their unusable cartridges for an equal number of freshly-recycled devices.
Get Comfortable with Inbound Marketing
Most business gurus recommend retaining an inbound marketing specialist to craft your inbound marketing strategy and attract new customers to your business. Unfortunately, this can cost unseemly amounts of money and may take months to produce tangible results. If you’re worrying about the cost of your printer ink, you probably can’t afford to add yet another expensive service to your ledger.
However, you can afford to perform many key inbound marketing functions on your own. While you may need to outsource a few specialized tasks, the contractors with whom you’ll work won’t cost nearly as much as an inbound marketing specialist.
First, make each visitor to your website an offer that he or she can’t refuse. Commission an e-book or white paper that outlines your business’s mission or provides useful, industry-specific tips and offer it to your customers for free. Once they’ve gotten a taste of what your business can do for them, your customers will be more likely to purchase your products or services. Next, start putting out a weekly or monthly e-newsletter to supplement your daily blog posts. You’ll probably need a dedicated writer for this job. Finally, rewrite your website’s content to make it appealing to visitors and friendly to search engines. To ensure that this is done correctly, you might want to hire an SEO specialist on a contract basis.
Make Friends with Affiliates
When it’s employed correctly, affiliate marketing has the potential to increase your business’s visibility in dramatic fashion and earn you loads of money in the process. Thousands of enterprising webmasters are constantly on the lookout for promising new businesses with which to affiliate. These marketing experts are especially fond of businesses that offer high-end products or subscription services. If your customers often sign up for subscriptions or payment plans, you may be able to entice elite marketers by offering them ongoing “residual” cuts of your revenue.
As long as your affiliate marketing program offers competitive rates for new leads, you’ll be able to rely on a steady supply of well-trafficked websites to hawk your products and services. Every time an interested visitor clicks on your affiliate’s link, they’ll be directed to your landing page or e-store. Most affiliate programs enjoy high conversion rates and require little ongoing effort.
5. Hire Slowly, Contract Liberally
Your small business can’t function without workers. However, it might be able to function without full-time employees. These days, many low-margin businesses rely on contract workers to perform repetitive tasks or work on time-sensitive projects. Contractors tend to be hired for short, fixed terms and are usually paid flat fees for specific amounts of work.
Many contractors are talented professionals who can’t find steady employment due to the rough economy. If you’re looking to revamp your website or start a spin-off blog, consider contracting with a freelance programmer or blogger to do the job competently and cheaply. Alternatively, you could hire a new employee on a temporary basis and dangle the promise of full-time employment after a fixed probationary period. If circumstances change and the temporary employee does not meet your requirements, you can always choose not to proceed with the hire.
Thousands of American small businesses have used these money-saving tips to strengthen their bottom lines. In fact, many small businesses that have successfully reduced their overhead costs and established productive relationships with marketing affiliates aren’t so small anymore. Yours could be next in line for the big time. Make this dream into a reality by jettisoning your old-fashioned spending habits and building a leaner, brighter business.
Jessica Bosari, Contributor
This article is available online at:
We have just completed a website for a new client ARS Heating and Cooling, LLC
ARS Heating and Cooling, LLC (formerly Andy’s Repair Service) is a third-generation, family owned and operated Heating, air conditioning and plumbing, installation and repair company located in New Jersey. Serving Warren, Morris, and Sussex counties since 1950.
- PRESIDENT OBAMA again maintained the top spot of all world leaders, with a vast 24 million followers, adding 15 million followers in one year. 2012 was an election year, therefore, the Twitter account continued to be managed by the presidential campaign staff. Obama continued to occasionally post his own tweets, signed with his initials. The 2012 re-election of President Obama broke several Twitter records. Following the news that he had been declared the winner, Obama’s account sent out the tweet: “Four more years” along with a photo of himself and the First Lady, which became the most retweeted tweet of all time. Throughout the day, more than 31 million election-related Tweets were sent out, creating the most tweeted-about event in U.S. political history. https://twitter.com/BarackObama
- PRESIDENT HUGO CHÁVEZ OF VENEZUELA grew his account by two million followers and maintained the #2 spot, although he had 20 million less followers than President Obama in 2012. When he found himself fighting an election campaign from his sick bed in Cuba, Twitter became his main tool for communicating with the electorate, a tool predominantly used for challenging his opponent and fighting the rampant rumors about his ill-health. There’s no doubt that Twitter had a hand in rallying his 3.8 million followers to secure his re-election in October. https://twitter.com/chavezcandanga
- In 2012, PRESIDENT ABDULLAH GÜL OF TURKEY increased his following by over 2 million people. An early adopter of Twitter, he tweets mainly in Turkish but important statements are also made in English. Following his visit in 2012 to Silicon Valley he tweeted, “This is the first time a Turkish president travels to this region of the U.S. Here is where technology that changes our lives is born.” https://twitter.com/cbabdullahgul
- QUEEN RANIA, THE QUEEN CONSORT OF THE KING OF JORDAN, grew her account by over one million followers despite the fact that she continued to scale back her public activities since facing criticism that she was playing too prominent a role in “running Jordan.” On her Twitter account, followed by more than two million people, she describes herself as “a mum and a wife with a really cool day job.” https://twitter.com/QueenRania
- A fresh entry into the top ten in 2012 was RUSSIAN PRESIDENT DMITRY MEDVEDEV. He chooses to tweet in his native language and in English, with separate accounts for each. In 2010, a personal account in the president’s name was established in both languages and currently his Russian language @MedvedevRussia has the largest following. Following this trend, 2012 saw several other leaders open Twitter accounts in both their native language and English in order to reach a larger audience. These leaders are the prime ministers of Japan, Thailand, and Kazakhstan, the presidents of Azerbaijan and Turkey; and the governments of Serbia and Montenegro.https://twitter.com/MedvedevRussiaE
- PRESIDENT DILMA ROUSEFF OF BRAZIL remained at spot #6 in 2012. At the time of her election in 2011 she had already 330,000 followers and while her activity dwindled after the election, her account continued to gain followers, indicating a desire on the part of the people of Brazil to connect with their leader. https://twitter.com/dilmabr
- When ARGENTINEAN PRESIDENT CRISTINA FERNÁNDEZ DE KIRCHNER appeared on Twitter in 2010, Argentine politics were utterly transformed as Twitter was quickly established as the central battleground between politicians and citizens. During the re-election of Chávez in 2012, the Argentine president sent five messages in quick succession, congratulating Venezuela with “Your victory is also ours.”https://twitter.com/CFKArgentina
- COLOMBIA’S PRESIDENT JUAN MANUEL SANTOS was new to the Top 10 in 2012. At number 8, President Santos’ had grown his followers by well over 1 million since 2011. When the previous president Álvaro Uribe handed on the presidency to Santos, he expected his former defense minister to continue his policies. Uribe became a fixture on Twitter, proclaiming his record on security, education and helping the poor. As President Santos began to make it clear that he had his own agenda for Colombia in 2012, the tweets got tougher — today the president must stay attuned to Uribe’s tweets and respond to his citizens accordingly. https://twitter.com/JuanManSantos
- Remaining in the top ten in 2012 even though the country elected a brand new leader, is PRESIDENT ENRIQUE PEÑA NIETOIN OF MEXICO, in December. His tweet on election day, “Now is the time to start a new stage of work, for the good of Mexico,” was widely shared. https://twitter.com/EPN
- HIS HIGHNESS SHEIKH MOHAMMED, PRIME MINISTER OF THE UAE AND RULER OF DUBAI ranked #10 of the world leaders using Twitter. In 2012 His Highness Sheikh Mohammed gained 910,000 followers in just one year to surpass 1 million followers. In a recent study, he was ranked as the second most connected Twitter user in the country. He regularly shared his thoughts, future plans, attended events and various achievements. Some saw his tweets as “an image of equality, encouragement and comfortable interaction with citizens.” On the sixth anniversary as Ruler of Dubai he tweeted: “I don’t wish to be celebrated personally. Instead, each year, a deserving group in our society shall be recognised. Last year, we celebrated the orphans. This year, we shall celebrate mothers, the force behind all our successes.” https://twitter.com/HHShkMohd
Google Maps already No. 1 among free iPhone apps.
If you were like me I dreaded the thought of updating my Iphone and loosing google maps. I had become completely dependent on my Google Maps app. When I did have to switch to Apple Maps I was shocked and frustrated just how bad it was. My opinion of apple products will be lower forever after tying to get used to Apples version of maps.
Thanks to CNET for clarification.
Google Maps didn’t take long to capture the top spot among free iPhone apps.
Driving back into iTunes earlier today, the app had already reached first place after the first several hours. It’s also garnered close to 8,000 reviews at this point, almost all of them earning five stars.
(Credit: Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET)
The new app offers all of the features that made it an iOS standard in the past but with a cleaner look and feel.
You can search for your destination by typing or speaking it. The app handles specific addresses as well as the names of businesses and landmarks. You can also tell the app whether you’re driving, walking, or taking mass transit. In return, Google Maps provides you with spoken turn-by-turn directions.
You can quickly switch your view from traffic to public transit to satellite. In Street View mode, you can swipe your way around 360-degree panoramas of different locations.
There’s no iPad-optimized version just yet, just the one version for all iOS devices. Otherwise, the app marks a smooth return for Google to the iOS world.
Google Maps was kicked out of the App Store after iOS 6 debuted in September. Apple replaced it with its own Maps app as the default navigation program for iOS.
But Apple Maps proved to be a wrong turn for the company following complaints of missing locations, faulty images, bad directions, and a host of other glitches.
Apple was forced to fess up to its Maps mess, even going so far as to recommend that users turn to other Maps apps as alternatives. Scott Forstall, Apple’s iOS software chief, was reportedly fired over the Maps fiasco after refusing to sign a letter apologizing for the flaws in the app.
The question of what pictures we can use on a website comes up often. Here is a good article on when you can take pictures for your own use.
Know Your Rights: Photography in Public
Nearly every modern phone has a camera attached to it and subsequently more and more people are taking photos in public places than ever before. The shot might be as simple as snapping a picture of a parade or as tricky as recording video of a riot. Regardless of the reasons, the rules for photographing in public places are the same.
For the most part, your right to take photographs and video in public places in the United States is protected under the First Amendment under free speech. This includes snapping pictures of your favorite monument when you’re on vacation or taking part in a little citizen journalism. It’s not as cut and dried as you may think and it’s good to know your rights and the caveats that come with them.
The General Rule: If You Can See It You Can Shoot It
Your basic right is actually pretty simple: if you’re in a public place and you can see it, you can shoot it. This means as long as you’re in a public location you can legally take almost any picture. However, if you’re using a telephoto lens, parabolic microphone, or hidden camera to get a shot of a private property when you’re standing on public property you might have an issue if someone on that property has an expectation of privacy. So, what constitutes a public place? Most places are obvious, a park, a street, a soccer field—these are unquestionably legal places to take pictures of anything happening. But what about all those Instagram photos of food you’ve taken inside a business? That’s a little different.
Generally if a private property is open to the public (like a restaurant, retail store, tourist areas, etc) you are allowed to take photographs and video unless it is expressly posted somewhere on the premise that you can’t. In most cases it’s okay to assume you’re allowed to take pictures and video in a shop that doesn’t expressly forbid it. However, if a property owner (or store employee) tells you to stop, you have to stop. More importantly, use good judgement and assess the situation and environment before snapping pictures.
This also goes for citizen journalism. If you see an accident you want to record, public servant misconduct, or even TSA checkpoints, you can do so as long as you’re not interfering with police or medical operations. As far as the Department of Justice is concerned you’re also allowed to shoot video or still shots of police officers provided they’re on public land. Videotaping police officers is still a tricky situation without a concrete ruling, but the courts have leaned toward protecting your right to film officers. Photo by Christopher.
Where and When You Get Into Trouble
As with most laws you’ll find some exceptions to the rules. Photographing on any clearly marked private property is considered trespassing. As for public government property you’re mostly okay, however you cannot take photos of most military bases or inside most courthouses. A few other big caveats exist as well.
Just because some places are public doesn’t make them legal for photography. For instance, a bathroom is a public place, but people have an expectation of privacy in the bathroom, so photos are typically not a good idea. This is also the case with anywhere else people might expect privacy, including inside places like AA meetings or doctor’s offices.
The same goes for photos of people in a private space where they have an expectation of privacy, even if you’re on public property. So, if you can see in your neighbor’s window from the sidewalk while they’re showering, you can’t take that picture, even though you’re on public property (and you might want to tell your neighbor to close their curtains). The general rule is basically if you didn’t want someone covertly taking a picture of you in a semi-private place, it’s probably not a good idea to take your own picture. These rules may vary from state to state, so check local laws before you’re labeled a “peeping tom.” If you do get caught taking a photo you shouldn’t or if you’re accused of taking taking an illegal picture when you’re in the clear your response should be about the same. Photo by Julian Stallabrass.
What To Do If Someone Says You’re Trespassing
First up, the easy answer when you’re accused of trespassing: if you walk onto clearly marked private property without permission you’re trespassing and you should stop taking pictures and leave. If an employee or security guard tells you to stop taking pictures because you’re on private property, stop taking pictures. Things get tricky here, if no signs are posted saying you can’t take photos but it’s a public area, you’re technically allowed, but it’s up to you if it’s worth the trouble to haggle over the details with a security guard. You likely have the right, but if you’re questioned directly you should seek legal counsel.
Regardless of whether you’re in the right or wrong, no one is allowed to take your camera away from you in a public place. Even if you’re trespassing, the property owner and the police cannot have your camera (or film or SD card) without a court order. Which brings us to the last caveat, publishing or uploading photos online. Photo by Dru Bloomfield.
Pay Attention to Where and What You Upload Online
Your rights for taking photographs don’t stop when the picture is snapped. If you place those photos online or sell them the situation changes. While you have the right to take pictures almost anywhere, publishing certain photos might get you in trouble in civil courts. Thankfully, the distinction is pretty clear.
You can’t use someone’s likeness for commercial purposes without their express permission. This means you can’t take a picture in a public place with recognizable faces and then sell it to Coca-Cola or a stock photo company (you can, however sell them to news organizations or use them for art). The same goes for many famous landmarks and some National Parks. You can freely shoot the photos, but selling them for commercial purposes may require a permit or additional fee.
You also can’t publish a photo that paints a person in a false light. For instance, if you took a picture of me fake-punching Stephen Hawking with the caption: “Taken moments before Thorin punched Stephen Hawking in the face,” I would probably want to take you to civil court (assuming I didn’t actually punch Stephen Hawking).
Finally, you can’t publish a photo that gives away private information about someone. This includes photos like the aforementioned AA meeting or doctor’s office along with any other situation where a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy.
The last concern you should have is your own rights when you publish photos online. Some popular web services like Instagram require you to grant usage permission to Instagram when you upload pictures. This doesn’t mean they get ownership of your photos, but it does mean they can use them any way they like. Other services, like Flickr, allow you to set who can and can’t use your photographs. If you don’t want to sell or make public any of these pictures make sure you’re using a service that leaves all the rights in your hands and be sure to check out Creative Commons for an easy way to license your photos.
In general, the mantra of “If you can see it you can shoot it” will keep you safe from legal prosecution in the United States, but not all countries and states are the same so check out local laws before shooting. Finally, if you feel your rights are violated, seek professional legal advice. You can also print out attorney Bert P. Krages pocket-sized pamphlet so you always have a list of your rights handy.
Disclaimer: the above isn’t meant as professional legal counsel and is meant to help you familiarize yourself with the basics of the laws of photography in public. If you’re unsure whether you are on public or private property your best bet is check before you snap photos. If you’re concerned about a specific case or situation you should contact a lawyer.
Reposted from http://lifehacker.com/5912250/know-your-rights-photography-in-public
Photo by Banalities.
Zero-Day exploit in Internet Explorer(Update #2)
It appears that another exploit is being actively used to install malware. This time, there is an exploit in Internet Explorer versions 6 to 9. This means, that all Windows operating systems until Windows 8 are affected.
Microsoft has acknowledged in the Security Advisory (2757760) that there is a problem and that they are analyzing it. According to Microsoft, the remote code execution vulnerability may corrupt memory in a way that could allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code in the context of the current user within Internet Explorer. An attacker could host a specially crafted website that is designed to exploit this vulnerability through Internet Explorer and then convince a user to view the website.
According to various researchers, the exploit is used to install the trojan “Poison Ivy”.
The only solution available at the moment for Internet Explorer is to deactivate Java Script and Active X. However, doing this basically means that you can’t browse anymore 90% of the websites you usually visit.
It is strongly advised to use other browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Safari) until Microsoft delivers the patch.
Our websites should all be fine one or two clients may have email issues but remember the recipient of any email you send may be down
According to TechCrunch, many customers are reporting that web hosting giant GoDaddy is down — taking out all kinds of websites with it.
A Tweet from the official GoDaddy account said: “Status Alert: Hey, all. We’re aware of the trouble people are having with our site. We’re working on it.”
The company is also saying to users who Tweet at them: “We’re aware of the issues people are experiencing and we’re still working on it. Thanks for your patience.”
TechCrunch is also reporting that customers say e-mail from GoDaddy websites is also down.
Mashable is reporting that the security leader of Anonymous is taking responsibility.
Internet marketing = Relationship Marketing
When everything you do revolves around your community – customers, fans, followers, employees, etc. – the answer is clear. You will have the reputation, loyalty and love that keeps your business alive and thriving. You will have a connection with your audience, and that’s the key to success for your company.
Take the focus away from the dollar signs attached to your products and services, and focus on what’s really going to affect your sales: relationships.
Relationship marketing online is a fine balance
of technology and personality.
Something that has remained constant throughout the years is the power of relationships in business. Relationship marketing these days is just present in a different arena – online.
There are people who may insist that there were no problems of disconnect until the Internet came along. This simply isn’t the case. Technology is not the cause of this disconnect; the cause is the people behind the computers.
If your online presence is genuine and your brand is “real,” relationships will blossom.
And since nearly 90% of consumers use search engines to make purchasing decision (Digital Influence Index), you better believe that a strong community presence will feed your bottom line.
Relationship marketing from the ground up
To create a healthy community online, set up a steady foundation for your relationship marketing.
- Understand your audience. Identify your niche market and how you plan to solve their problems. Have a clear vision for who your products and services are going to help so you can target them more directly with a message that resonates more powerfully.
- Engage with your audience. Write with your audience’s wants and needs in mind. Listen to their feedback – good or bad – and give them a say in the conversation. Conversation is a two-way street, and there’s a difference between talking to people versus talking with them.
- Be a part of your community. Be present in conversations about your own brand and your industry. A good relationship marketing strategy covers all aspects of a community – from customers to competitors. Find ways to join in on relevant conversations, offering your own opinion, experience, expertise and input. Just be sure you have something worth saying.
- Demonstrate your expertise. One component of your relationship marketing strategy must address the fact that there is competition for what you’re offering. People will respect and listen to you more intently if your language is confident, clear and beneficial. If you’re not the expert in a certain area, that’s okay. Seek the advice or help of a non-competitor who knows the subject through and through, and give them credit for their knowledge.
- Answer questions. Create free downloads, pay close attention to what people are asking on social media sites, and set up a blog dedicated to helping visitors find the answers to their most common questions. Your customers want to be acknowledged and appreciated.
- Provide excellent service. Don’t just stop online with your relationship marketing. Continue the process offline and really show your customers that you appreciate them. Treat them with respect before, during and after a sale.
The purpose of relationship marketing is to put the “people” back in business and ignite that “warm and fuzzy” feeling. It’s about having actual human beings dedicated to nurturing your online presence and every person that is a part of it.
Take the focus away from profits, put it back on relationships, and trust that the profits will come as a result. That’s relationship marketing in a nutshell.
Are you building relationships with your internet marketing?