Author Archives for Marc Vasquez

Marc Vasquez

About Marc Vasquez

When not handling club communications, Marc is the Interactive Marketing Manager for UMB Financial Corporation where he puts his more than 16 years of agency and corporate public relations and social media experience to good use in leading the banks enterprise social media and email marketing efforts.

Marc is also a past president of the Public Relations Society of America, Greater Kansas City chapter.

In addition to his APR (Accreditation in Public Relations), Marc is a graduate of Northwest Missouri State University, and by night is the sidekick Robin to his superhero now 9-year-old son who believes himself to be Batman. Keep an eye out at the next event, you may just see him in his Batmobile.

Follow up: The art of human hacking

April 17, 2017 - Posted by Comments Off on Follow up: The art of human hacking

Thank you to everyone who came out to today's May breakfast event Social Engineering and Phishing: How to avoid taking the bait. 

  • First, here is a great video recap from our Facebook page that our Communications Co-Chair Elliot Johnson created with three quick tips to help keep you from falling victim to online social engineering and phishing scams.
  • Here are some links you'll want to take a look at that I included in the presentation:
    • Norse Attack Map - See cyber threats in real time across the world
    • Take this lollipop - Log in using your Facebook credentials to see what information you're posting that could be used by a social engineer (or worse).
    • Mobile antivirus - We spend more time on our phones and tables.... are yours protected with a paid version of antivirus?
    • Race to stay safe - Can you tell the difference between a real site and a fake one? See how quickly you can using this online Symantec tool.

Here's the original post:

Despite the negative headlines we occasionally hear coming on the topic of social media, I believe the one thing it has done an amazing job of is helping us feel more connected. Sure, we have fans, connections and friends via these pages we may never meet in person, but to me, it doesn’t make the connection any less real.

Social media has also changed the way we see things, and because we feel safe behind the glass of our laptop, tablet and mobile phone screens, we tend to feel more free in our sharing. I’m as guilty of this as anyone especially when I’m on vacation or at a family gathering.

  • How many times have you shared a photo you took with your phone just a few seconds after you’ve taken it? Did you tag others and your location with that photo?
  • What about your personal and professional social media profiles? Who can see your information including what you share in the form of posts and updates?

Are you aware of who you’re connected to, who they’re connected to and what could potentially happen to your information housed in your social media spaces if it fell into the wrong hands? If you haven’t, I encourage you to start by taking this lollipop (you will need to login using your Facebook credentials to get the full affect). Go ahead. We’ll wait.

Sadly, it’s not just social media we need to be cyber aware of. Emails from the Nigerian Prince wanting to give you sums of money are dying out but giving rise to alternative versions like romance scams, tech support scams and even email or instant messages from what seems like contacts you know. Lost USBs you find and try to use and even phone calls from seemingly reputable entities are looking to gain your trust and take away your finances, personal information and identity.

Join me on Friday, May 5, where Michael Rattenne’ and I will dive into social engineering and take you from paranoia to well-equipped:

  • What is social engineering and phishing, and how does it happen?
  • In what forms does it manifest itself?
  • Hear real stories and see firsthand how it happens
  • Learn what you can do that day to help defend yourself, your company and your family

Remember, it’s not if you will get phished or social engineered – it’s when. But if you know the signs beforehand, you’re in a better position to avoid taking the bait.


About the author:
Marc Vasquez, APR, is the Security Awareness Program Manager for UMB Financial Corporation. He possesses nearly 20 years of both agency and corporate public relations and social media experience. Marc is also the technology chair for the Social Media Club of Kansas City, a member of the Social Media Club global board and the International Association of Security Awareness Professionals board secretary. He holds the Accreditation in Public Relations credential which has been established as a way to recognize public relations practitioners. By night he is the gaming sidekick to his 9-year-old son @StuffJakobSays. You can generally find Marc via @vasquez007 or on LinkedIn.

Apps & Taps: Amping Event-based Brand Engagement

March 28, 2017 - Posted by Comments Off on Apps & Taps: Amping Event-based Brand Engagement

Festivals and events have become a boon for brands. Yet activation and fostering meaningful advertiser/attendee engagement remains a challenge. While Nielsen reports that 76 percent of festival goers feel more favorable towards brands that sponsor a tour or concert, on-the-ground experience has shown that integration into the very fabric of the event itself is key.

Join John Kreicbergs, the marketing co-chair for Kansas City’s annual Boulevardia festival, app development general manager for Propaganda3 and one of the co-founders of the event-based technology platform AppTapp, as he highlights the hows and whats/dos and don’ts of digital brand engagement for festivals. Learn about the key components of event-based digital marketing, how principles of game design and player engagement can be applied to attendee activation, and how sponsors and events can mutually benefit.

Here are 3 key takeaways you'll be able to put to use after the presentation:

  1. The dos and don’ts of digital brand engagement for festivals, from social to email, apps to experiential digital activities and more.
  2. How principles of gamification and game design can be applied to festivals.
  3. How sponsor/brand involvement and activation at festivals is quickly evolving…and booming!

Humanizing the Science: Trust-Building through Social Media

February 20, 2017 - Posted by Comments Off on Humanizing the Science: Trust-Building through Social Media

Social media has opened up a new world to the National Weather Service (NWS), a government organization that until recently kept most of its communication limited to a small group of core partners such as county officials and the  media. As an organization that was used to speaking to a small set of users in scientific terms and government-speak, social media provided the NWS a unique opportunity to interact with a whole new group of users on a completely different level.

This new exposure to a large section of the public introduced new needs and challenges for the NWS to communicate vital information to those who may have very little understanding of weather yet can be profoundly affected by it.

The March 3 breakfast Humanizing the Science: Trust-Building through Social Media will showcase ways in which the NWS in Kansas City has used social media to communicate complicated weather information to a variety of users, as well as to build trust among those who rely on the NWS for important and potentially life-saving information. Specifically, you'll learn:

  1. How to break down complicated scientific processes to a basic level of understanding
  2. Maximizing the effectiveness of critical information by establishing a foundation of trust
  3. How to build trust by showing the human behind your service and connecting to users on a personal level

This will include using humor, creativity, civic pride and most importantly showcasing the human that is behind the forecast message.

To get tickets for this event, visit our eventbrite page


About the speaker
Dan Hawblitzel is a senior meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Kansas City. He is in charge of the social media program at the office which has become one of the most recognized NWS social media programs in the nation. His work to improve the communication of forecast and weather hazards is now in use at multiple NWS offices across the country.

Are you ready for some #ChiefsCamp?

July 19, 2016 - Posted by Comments Off on Are you ready for some #ChiefsCamp?

Have you signed up to go to one of our VIP #ChiefsCamp dates during Kansas City Chiefs training camp? You might be wondering what this event is going to be like. It's something we've never tried before, and we're already very excited about it. We've been working with James Royer and his Chiefs social media team, and from what they have planned - this is something you're not going to want to miss.

Here are a few updates on what you can expect:Official #ChiefsCamp Shirt

  • Breakfast! The Chiefs team is providing an amazing spread.
  • When you buy a ticket to this event, ALL of the proceeds will go to a Chiefs' player charity. This time the beneficiary for the event will be Noyes Home For Children in St. Joseph, Mo., an organization that provides and care for children by caring for them and giving parents the time and support they need to solve life’s challenges.
  • There will be a special SnapChat filter for camp as well as SnapChat Face Swap stations built around the area. Fans will be able to swap faces with some of the Kansas City Chiefs players.
  • There will be an official LIMITED EDITION social t-shirt available to attendees.
  • Have you ever tried a Gif’n Station? This is a device that takes three pictures in succession to create an animated gif, and then allows you to share that gif on your social media pages. (This will be on the Sunday date only.)
  • Do you like Chiefs merchandise? The fantastic Chiefs social media team will also be giving away a signed Chiefs jersey to one lucky attendee, and have some additional items to give to the entire crowd throughout the day(s).
  • We aren't sure who yet, but there WILL be a player visit to the tent after practice available for autographs and pictures.
  • There is also one final surprise that includes a special exclusive SMCKC group merchandise discount. We don't have all the details, but we will unveil this at the event.

Have we piqued your interest? This city loves the Chiefs and they definitely know how to go big. We are excited for these two dates and hope to see you there. If you haven't gotten tickets for one of the dates yet, it's not too late (although tickets are going fast). Head to our eventbrite page to sign up today.

How to kill a Jigglypuff

July 18, 2016 - Posted by Comments Off on How to kill a Jigglypuff

Bet that got your attention, didn't it?jigglypuff

Last week our team lead came in and asked, “How would you like to do something I’m almost positive you’ve never, ever done before?” I’ve found that anytime someone asks me that question I’m going to answer “I’m in” 90 percent of the time. Then, he unveiled this:

“You know the atrium area? We’ve got a Pokémon GO character in the center of it. People are coming through the chained area after hours and it’s setting off alarms. I need you to get rid of it.”

With the recent release of Pokemon GO, Nintendo has literally hit pay dirt with something that appeals to a wide range of individuals. “On July 8, only 2 days after the app’s release, it was already installed on 5.16 percent of all Android devices in the US,” writes Joseph Swartz in Digital Vision. “Over 60 percent of those who have downloaded the app in the US are using it daily, meaning around 3 percent of the entire US Android population are users of the app.”

But what do you do if one of these popular characters finds its way into a place it shouldn’t?

He explained that there is a webpage you can go to essentially let Pokémon GO know and have it removed. Turns out, we’re not alone. “Pokestops” as they’re called, are showing up in inappropriate spots all around the United States.

Rolling Stone reports, “As people roam the landscape on the prowl for Pikachu and other Pokémon, there’s been quite a few stories about odd Pokestop locations, including graveyards, hospital delivery rooms and Holocaust memorials.”

On the page, you can submit a request to have the Pokémon removed and then Nintendo’ Pokémon team goes to work to make it happen. Are you in a similar situation? Here’s how to go about giving the ax to an unwanted character:

  1. Go to the Pokémon support page.
  2. Select “Report an issue with a Gym or Pokestop” the “Submit a Request”How to get rid of a Pokemon
  3. On this page it will ask you for information about the location of Pokémon including the latitude and longitude. You can find this by using Google's map help
  4. In addition, it could be helpful to include a screenshot from Google maps or Pokémon GO (with the Pokémon in question) to help them see the actual place.
  5. Click “Submit”

Afterward you’ll get a web confirmation that says the team has received the request and is working on it. You’ll also get an automated email that says they’re no longer accepting suggestions for Pokemon Gyms or Pokestops. That part threw me, but I’m hopeful that Nintendo has things under control.

I’ll keep you posted on how things progress, but in the meantime I would love to know if you’ve experienced anything like this either personally or professionally.

We received an additional learning resource from the Community Relations Team at called 8 Safety Tips for Pokemon GO! Players.


About the author:
Marc Vasquez is the Communications Co-Chair for the Social Media Club of Kansas City. He possesses more than 16 years of both agency and corporate public relations and social media experience. Marc is also a past president of the Greater Kansas City Public Relations Society of America chapter. He holds the Accreditation in Public Relations credential which has been established as a way to recognize public relations practitioners who have mastered the knowledge, skills and abilities needed to develop and deliver strategic communications. By night is the sidekick Robin to his superhero 8-year-old son who believes himself to be Batman. You can generally find Marc via @vasquez007.

Little Big Video

April 12, 2016 - Posted by Comments Off on Little Big Video

Last week, we hosted Sarah Redohl, chief creative strategist at Storylab, at our April Pro Luncheon. Sarah shared her knowledge for creating awesome videos from a mobile phone and why more content needs to move to video format. 74 percent of all internet traffic in 2017 is projected to come from video. Video has the highest conversion rate of any content type!

Sarah says the most common excuses she hears for why people/brands aren’t creating videos are:

  1. Video is expensive
  2. It must be perfect to be effective
  3. Producing your own videos is super time-consuming

Her main takeaway was summed up in one slide:

Video Is Important










She recommends four mobile apps to get started:

As you begin to think about creating videos, it’s important to follow a checklist to ensure you’re getting the most ROI.

  • Decide your goals
  • Decide your platform
  • Determine your story
  • Develop a compelling plot
  • Choose your video type
  • Storyboard your video
  • Share with CTAs

Sarah’s checklist is a good reminder of things to think through as we move more of our content to video. Does your story have a plot? Is there a call to action? Is your video the proper length? There is a huge opportunity to create more videos. Videos are shared 1200 percent more than text and that visitors stay on sites with video 88 percent longer. Review this checklist every time you decide to create a video!

Watch Sarah’s webinar from the event (it’s free)!


5 Legal Items to Keep in Mind When Using Social Media

January 19, 2016 - Posted by Comments Off on 5 Legal Items to Keep in Mind When Using Social Media

After a great January breakfast, Liza Perry, SMCKC Communications Co-Chair, created this handy blog post to help give you five terms you need to be successful when it comes to the legal side of social media.

Earlier this month, Katie Hollar and Amy Jordan Wooden gave some great reminders and case studies on how to keep it legal on social media. Below are the five biggest areas to keep in mind.

  1. Defamation – occurs when a person intentionally spreads information about another person, group or company that damages their reputation regardless of the medium. If you share defamatory material (even if you didn’t create it), you can still be held liable.defamation
  2. Copyright - the holder of a copyright has exclusive rights to publish his or her own work. Ask the owner before using the work on social media if you are trying to sell a service or good. Fair use does apply when you’re using the content for nonprofit, educational or personal purposes. Here is a great guide to use as a resource. (Since I’m using the infographic for educational use, I’m allowed to use the copyrighted material.)
  3. Disclosure – you must be open and honest about your position with a company or organization if you are talking about the entity. Having “Opinions are my own, “RTs aren’t endorsements” or something similar on your Twitter bio doesn’t protect you in a lawsuit. Free speech gives individuals certain protections, but when in doubt, disclose. Limited space isn’t an excuse according to the FTC.
  4. Endorsements/Sweepstakes – the FTC requires “that material relationships between brand and the endorser on social media must be ‘clearly and conspicuously’ disclosed.” If you are participating in a contest on social media, you are endorsing that company’s product. So, you need to share your participation in the contest.sweepstakes
  5. Crisis Situations – the role of social media in a crisis has dramatically increased over the years. It’s imperative to monitor your brands online as rumors and defamation lawsuits can spread quickly. Speed and accuracy are equally important when responding to an issue. If you have culpability in the crisis, speak up now cause the cover up is going to be way worse in the end. And, it’s always important to have one voice across all channels when responding to a crisis.behavior

The most important thing to remember - If you pause before you post something, you probably shouldn’t post it.

About the author:
Liza Perry is the Communications Co-Chair for Social Media Club of Kansas City. During the day, she manages all the corporate social media channels for Cerner. She has experience in both B2C and B2B social media. In her spare time she writes a weekly roundup of the latest social media news, The Perry Notes, and binge watches everything on Bravo. Liza graduated from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism. She can be found on Twitter at @eperry07.

Follow up: 10 ways to organize your digital life in 2016, from passwords to a zero inbox

January 14, 2016 - Posted by Comments Off on Follow up: 10 ways to organize your digital life in 2016, from passwords to a zero inbox

"Digital health is a lot like physical health: You have to work at it. Not sure where to start?"Man using smartphone

Earlier this month, I received the opportunity to talk with Sarah Gish, reporter for the Kansas City Star, to talk about some tips to help organize one's digital life in 2016. Had I known she was also interviewing some of the most esteemed members of Social Media Club of Kansas City as well, I probably would have just waited to get their tips instead. Sarah did a fantastic job of bringing together some incredible people to coordinate a list of fantastic tips. Here are some of the best (from some of the best):

Safeguard your passwords
On New Year’s Day a couple years ago, Dave Greenbaum changed all of his passwords with a password management system called 1Password (another option is LastPass). “The concept is that these are digital vaults,” he says, “so you only have to remember one password.”

Freshen up your profiles
If it’s been more than six months since you swapped out your profile photo and bio info on Facebook and Twitter, Marc Vasquez says it’s time to switch it up. And too many people let their LinkedIn profile go dormant when it can be an amazing networking tool (not just when you’re trying to find a new career).

Take better notes
Paper notes can be lost, forgotten, eaten by the dog — you get the idea. But there are plenty of apps that help you increase productivity while cutting back on paper. Carolyn Anderson uses Google Keep to wrangle notes, links, photos, audio clips and lists in one place.

Organize your inbox
Imagine an inbox with zero unread messages. Yes, it’s possible. Jessica Best aims for what productivity geeks call “Inbox Zero” every day. “It’s this idea that, at the end of the day, your inbox is completely clear,” Best says. “Everything has been responded to, assigned somewhere else, filed away — it’s out of your court.” Best is a self-described “folder junkie” who uses email folders and subfolders to file her messages. She says getting to zero emails is pretty tough, but that it still feels good to end the day with five to 10 messages in the inbox instead of, say, 510.

Challenge yourself to disconnect
If your phone buzzes every time you get junk mail, an Instagram like, or a request to play Candy Crush, it’s time to trim down your notifications. Most smartphones allow users to edit notifications by app. If you have an iPhone, you can go to “do not disturb” under settings to turn off all notifications (even texts) at night or during specific parts of the day. Mike Gelphman turns off alerts in the early to mid-morning, when he tends to be the most productive. He says protecting that time from those distractions helps him stay focused on long-term goals.

For more tips and to read the entire article, visit

Keeping it Legal: Social Media for Law Firms (and The Rest of Us)

December 21, 2015 - Posted by Comments Off on Keeping it Legal: Social Media for Law Firms (and The Rest of Us)

I started marketing law firms in 2010 when my husband, Nick, graduated from the University of Missouri – Kansas City SchoolSocial Media Guidelines of Law and transitioned overnight from professional student to greenhorn attorney. Together we reviewed the rules that regulate how you can promote law firms and I began to understand why lawyers handle marketing the way they do.

(Stringent) Marketing Guidelines for Attorneys
Attorneys have to adhere to the Model Rules of Professional Conduct, and specifically Chapter 7 (Information About Legal Services) which includes rules like, “A lawyer shall not solicit professional employment by written, recorded or electronic communication or by in-person, telephone or real-time electronic contact even when not otherwise prohibited by paragraph (a).”

Simply put, a lawyer can’t contact someone with a legal need unless they already know that person.

Social Media Restrictions Span Many Industries
Lawyers aren’t the only ones who have to be careful using social media.

For example:

  • Securities companies are subject to a periodic spot-check procedure from FINRA (Financial Industry Regulation Authority) which requires a detailed report including items like who posted to their social media accounts and the dollar amount of commissions earned during that timeframe.
  • Prescription drug and medical device manufacturers who are largely waiting for the FDA to issue formal guidance for advertising on social media. Currently they still have to include risk information which doesn’t fit very well in 140 characters.
  • Government agencies are prohibited by federal law from engaging in lobbying and propaganda. The E.P.A. was the most recent violator for engaging in “covert propaganda” on their Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Thunderclap accounts.

For the Rest of Us: Legal Implications on Social Media
Even for those of us working with more lax industries, we need to be aware of legal implications, such as:

  • Anytime you’re working with endorsements and sweepstakes
  • When engaging in online behavioral advertising (The Digital Advertising Alliance has adopted Self-Regulatory Principles which you should adhere to)
  • Being open and transparent when it comes to third-party sharing and other privacy concerns
  • Sharing photographs found online which very likely have copyright restrictions

Even if your social media is just for personal use, you need to be careful about what you’re sharing. Employees have been terminated for what they’ve posted about their employers (although the National Labor Relations Board recently found several employees were wrongfully terminated for this reason).

Good Things Take Time
Five years later, Nick is <somewhat> active on social media and I work with attorneys every day. I understand when they are weary of the danger lurking around the digital corner, but good things take time and a little effort.

Smart social media usage can make you look more human, help you connect with your audience, and ultimately grow your business. Take the time to get educated about your industry and post with confidence. It will be worth the effort!


About the Author
Christina ‘Stina’ Hergott (@stinahergott) is the Co-Owner and Director of Strategy for b.Legal Marketing, a web development firm focused on helping solo and small law firms look good online. She also runs Pink Moon Marketing, a brand positioning and strategy development consultancy that helps businesses define their brands and look at the big picture behind their marketing.