Saturday, December 18, 2010

Facebook Promotional Guidelines Updated - Easier for Marketers and Lawyers

Facebook updates it's promotional guidelines to run sweepstakes and contest promotions

Facebookpromoguidelines Facebook has been dominating the news these past few weeks, first making 60 Minutes and then having their CEO, Mark Zuckerburg, being named TIME's 2010 Person of the Year. Right after Thanksgiving Facebook made an announcement that they had updated their Promotional Guidelines, originally launched last November, eliminating the requirement that you need to obtain prior approval from Facebook to run a promotion on Facebook. This was big news to us marketers, especially those that have been running promotions on Facebook. The issue of privacy, opt-in, opt-out, the rules passing by legal and ensuring all items are correct takes a long time. The promotion can long pass by the time these are all cleared as any good marketer knows.
Facebook's promotional guidelines originally stated that if you want to run a sweepstakes and/or contest promotion on Facebook then you need to abide by their guidelines. These guidelines stated that you must administer it through a third party application and obtain Facebook's prior written consent. However, if you were just publicizing a sweepstakes or contest promotion on Facebook that is administered elsewhere, such as a website or blog, this was fine and you didn't need their permission.
Now what was never stated in the original guidelines was that in order to obtain approval you needed a Facebook representative and the only way to get a Facebook rep was to advertise on Facebook. The rumor was that you needed at least a $30,000 spend to get a rep and approval. By Facebook eliminating the requirement for obtaining their permission what it really meant was you don't have to have an ad program anymore to run a promotion within the Facebook platform. Wildfire-logo I never had a Facebook rep, but I've known people running promotions all year on Facebook and have been utilizing the Wildfire Application. Wildfire was fairly new when Facebook first issued it's promotional guidelines and Wildfire quickly created a work-around so that you didn't have to get prior approval from Facebook if you utilized their application. What Wildfire did was that when someone clicked on "Enter Here" it took them to a microsite to fill out the data and they collected it there, then it brought them back to Facebook. Most people wouldn't even notice unless they looked at the URL address in the browser and saw it change.
Now that Facebook has updated their policy and no longer requires the pre-approval, Wildfire has gone back to how they originally created the app and so when someones enters, the whole process is done within Facebook. Wildfire is a third party application which Facebook says you must use, but as with most apps on Facebook, you stay in Facebook when you connect to them.
The reason the Wildfire application is referenced here is because it is so easy to use. It's the only one I know of that offers a do-it-yourself application builder for Facebook. I've been looking for other sources and have not found one that works like this. Now that Facebook has lifted the prior approval requirement I predict we'll see more very soon.
Concept2t_520x100 I read of a marketer who launched a sweepstakes for MSC Cruises: A Cruise a Day Giveaway that will run for 20 days up till December 22. They are giving away 20 Caribbean cruises, one per day, to a lucky winner. The prize is being awarded in the form of a cruise certificate in the amount of $250 valid for the MSC Poesia United States/Bahamas Caribbean cruise departing from Port Everglades, Florida, on January 2, 2011. The MSC Poesia stops in Nassau, Bahamas and returns to Port Everglades on January 4. The prize package includes an interior cabin for two guests sharing the same stateroom.
This is a great example of what can be done quickly and inexpensively utilizing the Wildfire Application. The campaign was put together in 3 days and the cost to use Wildfire was only $85. That's why I think it's such a great tool for bloggers. You don't need to be too technically savvy and it's inexpensive.
So check it out on the MSC Cruises Facebook page and enter so you can see how smoothly the application works. Who knows, you might win. Once someone enters the sweepstakes they have the option to post it on their wall and also can their friends to enter. It's a great way to get others to spread the word. MSC Cruises is sharing who the winner is each day from the day before on their wall.

 Run your own promotion and see how you can capture more customers and make your marketing and legal life easier.

If anyone knows of other apps out there - please comment.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Facebook: Love you, love you not... let me count the ways

Dear Facebook:

We’ve been spending a lot of time together recently.  I think we should finally open up and be honest.  While there is so much I do love about you, you drive me crazy. And here’s why…
Over the past years working on the web, I’ve worked on and managed websites. If one of my projects ended up with your usability, I would’ve been fired long ago or at the very least been moved to the mailroom.
Your interface needs help.  It’s clean and things are organized, however it’s not intuitive, logical or friendly for ordinary people.  Being with you is too much hard work. In other words, you are "high maintenance".
You need an extreme makeover.  Hire some former Apple designers who understand how to use colors, space, gradients, fonts and titles for normal human beings.  How can your iPhone application be easier and nicer than your website?  Maybe simplicity is the key.  I’m overwhelmed by ALL the options that are available ALL the time.
But here’s the thing that’s so interesting about you Facebook – your value surpasses the need for good usability. Yes, people complain (do you remember the petitions from us users when you launched the new layout?), but we all continued to use the service including me.
Don’t tell the usability folks, because this just means legions of clients think they won’t need to worry about it. But the fact remains: clunky or not, people will make the effort to use something if it is of value.
It’s all a matter of degree – Facebook  is better than MySpace, who knows what will come next? Will you make it? Perhaps we all should go memorize "The Social Network" at the theatre and see how we can outsmart you and learn how to make something better. Or perhaps I am already too addicted and it just doesn't matter, I'm stuck on you. I do like the new profile design.

Legal Project Management for Paralegals...

The Next New Area for Paralegals to Conquer?

 MP900446464[1] As I am new to this field, I have been doing a lot of research and saw a referral to a book and thought I would share it. I have been reading several of the books.
It seems that suddenly, law firms have woken to the fact that the corporate world has a whole new technique out there to manage projects.  Simply called Project Management, the area is booming.  And, as always, the legal field tends to be the last to get in on the bandwagon.  But for argument's sake, let's just say it arrived.
Legal Project Management by Steven B. Levy (DayPack Books), is a study in how to manage your case, control costs, meet schedules, manage risks, and maintain sanity.  It's a process by which you can take control of your project.  Prior to the concept of Legal Project Management, there were no standardized methods to manage a case.  However, Project Management, in and of itself, has been around for years in the corporate arena.

Here is a great way for paralegals to pick up yet another useful skill and turn it into a top job.  Project Managers are team leaders who can size up a case, establish a budget for doing so, create the work flow chart and see the project through to the end.
Levy's book gives you the tools to approach the job.  Since this emerging field offers a powerful new approach to managing a case, it is not an alien discipline, full of jargon and process overhead.  Rather, it's designed for the specific world of legal professionals.  It respects the way attorneys and paralegal work, enhancing their success by playing to their strengths.
The book is easy to read dispersed throughout with quotes from Shakespeare.  While Levy attempts to explain why those quotes are in the book, it remains a mystery exactly why although it does lend for interesting reading.  Levy explains budgeting, analysis,work flow, execution information radiators, metrics and learning.  It's a whole new world out there in terms of what happens when that new case comes in over the transom.

If you are looking to expand your position, it's time to explore the world of Project Management.  The Organization of Legal Professionals is offering an 8 week on line, interactive, live class on Project Management starting December 15th.  (  Here is the perfect way to ensure your value to your firm, learn the skills of the hottest area right now and probably put more dollars in your pocket as a result.

Do remember the history of paralegals:  No one sat down one day and said, "This is a paralegal job description.  Now, let's go get some paralegals."  That's not what happened.  What happened was the position emerged from another position (legal secretary) when attorneys figured out that 1) secretaries could perform higher level tasks and 2) you could bill the client for someone called a paralegal but you couldn't bill for a secretary.  Now, between eDiscovery Paralegals and Project Management Paralegals, the field is creating its own career path.  More power to it.
Also if anyone is on the corporate or technology side or has worked there in project management or has a PMP, well you are way ahead! Innovation and technology always give one an edge. Any thoughts, please comment or write.

Are you a good listener? Something to think about this holiday season...

Close lips.
Lean forward.
Calm the mind.
Two ears.
One mouth.
Stop judging.
See beyond.

Are any of us really good at listening? Don’t we all spend our time thinking of the next thing to say, how to respond, letting our minds wander? Do we ever really care when we ask “how’s it going?”

I have often thought that I’m a great listener, but I’m not so sure. I have been known to have  trouble being sympathetic. Often times I want to say, “Well, of course you ended up here. That is the logical conclusion of your choices.” You know what, though? The person probably already knows that. He or she just needs me to listen to the emotion and the process.

Listening is hard. I want to offer solutions. I want to cut to the chase or solve the problem.
But what if I have no answers? What if my role is simply to be there while the person does their own thinking and talking? What if they don't want my opinion?

Maybe if I stop expecting myself to be perfect, then I’ll stop expecting it of others and they’ll stop expecting it of me. We can all just listen to Christ instead.

That’s who I really need to be listening to anyway. How about you? Something to think about this Christmas season...