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5 Legal Items to Keep in Mind When Using Social Media

January 19, 2016 - Posted by

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

"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

Membership has its privileges

January 5, 2016 - Posted by

Tara Coomans, Social Media Club national co-membership chair provided us with more on what being a member means to her:

Social Media Club was founded before there was an Instagram, a Snapchat or Google+. In digital world terms, we’re OG.

Social Media Club (SMC) was founded in San Francisco by Kristie Wells and Chris Huere because they saw a need for an professional organization which provided guidance to those working in the then-wild west of social media.

In the spirit of social media, the organization they founded was open to all and designed to help everyone who participated in social media spread the “If You Get It, Share It,” ideal.

Today, Social Media Club is the only global 100 percent volunteer-run professional organization in the world. There are over 300 active chapters globally, each with their own personality and voice designed to serve their local community.Members Only Representing Very Important Person And Membership Card

I joined SMC in 2009, since then, I have been a member of two different chapters, served as Chapter President and the Global Board of Directors as Membership Chair. As an SMC member,  I’ve had a chance to meet people around the world, both in person and online. As an SMC leader, never once have I ever picked up the phone or sent an email to a thought-leader and had it ignored. As an SMC leader, I’ve both been mentored and mentored others in leadership, social media and digital media. As important as these types of connections can be, I’ve found the members of the chapters to be the pure gold of my membership. No matter what city I’m in, I’m not a stranger. This is why I became Membership Chair.

In 2016, SMC membership will be expanding more ways for you to connect, share your voice and grow as a social and digital leader. We’ll be offering member-only digital events with industry leaders, archived for members-only. We’ll be building an additional way for members to engage on the new SMC website including blogging and community opportunities. If you’re looking to grow your social presence, your community impact and your connections, there is no better place to do it online.

While SMC continues to evolve its membership benefits globally, and chapters like Kansas City continue to offer benefits to members, for me, it’s never been about the laundry list of “benefits.” For me, it’s always been about the people.

People who have become partners, collaborators and yes, friends.  People who “get it” when I share it. People who I can share a laugh with when yet another “promise from Mark Zuckerberg” rears its ugly head on Facebook. People who “fill out my corners” and help me out whether I need a referral, and idea or a resources. It’s the people. Around the world. It’s my SMC family.

How do I put a value on these relationships? I can’t. I think it was Gary Vaynerchuck who famously asked “What’s the value of your Mother?” with respect to the value of social media, well, that’s how I feel about Social Media Club.

So when people ask me why I joined or why they should join, my question is usually: what are you looking to get out of it?

Because SMC has “benefits,” but it’s my experience that people value relationships more and SMC is a great way to build, enhance and develop relationships. If you’re not looking for trusted collaborators, mentors, partners, or to develop your own thought-leadership then SMC probably isn’t for you. And that’s OK.

We’re cool with growing with the right people. Who get it and share it with each other.

About the author:
Tara Coomans (@taracoomans) is the co-membership chair for Social Media Club. Tara served two terms as the first elected president of the Hawaii Chapter of Social Media Club and remains active on the Board of Directors. She is a professional communications and marketing strategist. Tara specializes in helping companies identify and integrate today’s digital marketing and communication strategies into marketing, PR and customer service.

Nominate KC’s Best for An AMPS Award

December 22, 2015 - Posted by


Nominations for the AMPS awards may have closed a few weeks ago for the campaign categories, but three categories are still open for nominations. These are the individual awards given to specific SMCKC members. We're still accepting nominations for the Rookie of the Year, Trailblazer and Hat Tip awards. Nominations are due January 8, 2016. The descriptions of the categories are:

The Rookie of the Year Award highlights a newcomer or up-and-comer to the social media scene. It may be a student, a young professional or someone who has recently changed career paths to embrace social media. They should be in Kansas City or the surrounding area (including universities within 1 hour of KC).

The Trailblazer Award honors a social media practitioner who is at the forefront of social media. They influence the industry and bring positive visibility to the social media scene in Kansas City. They don't have to be a member of SMCKC, but they should be an advocate both for SM and for KC.

The "h/t" or Hat Tip Award, or Grace Award, recognized a social media manager or brand that handled a crisis with grace under pressure. Disaster response, customer service recovery, company crises... No matter the reason for the need, this award recognizes a member of the SMCKC community that handled it with class, being transparent and genuine to resolve the situation. (This can be a single person or a team of people.)

You can nominate someone for one of these awards here.

Plus, don't forget to get your tickets to the AMPS awards on Feb 18, 2016 at 28 Event Space.

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

December 21, 2015 - Posted by

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.

Socially speaking: To bash or not to bash

December 16, 2015 - Posted by

SMCKC interview on 41 Action NewsLast weekend, a PR colleague of mine sent me a Facebook IM about a 41 Action News need. Reporter Ali Hoxie was looking for a social media professional to talk with her about tips on speaking out on social media. The activist/hacktivist entity known as Anonymous has been active lately first calling for a social strikes on ISIS and then last week on Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

In the interview, Ali asked about how best to go about interacting and taking a stand using social media especially when it comes to taking on supporting or opposing a cause or candidate. I believe that for every post that lays out a well-informed argument there are hundreds of “Trump Sucks” posts that liter the socialsphere. It’s simply easier for many to sit behind their Macs or laptops and shoot arrows rather than confront in person and more importantly present a social post that builds community and inspires action.

So, how do we take a stand positively and stick out in the social space? I’d like to offer these tips:

  • Be picky with what you share.
  • That “all opinions are my own” in your profile doesn’t hold water. If you work for a company or represent an entity, you’ll still be seen in some way as representing them.
  • Think about your posts from the side of the people who follow or are connected to you. How will it come off? Are you running the risk of seeming more negative than what you’re bashing?
  • Want to really get lost in the clutter? Post something simplistic and negative without a link, photo or video to help illustrate your point.
  • When you post, are you going through the motions just ‘doing social media’ stuff or are you coming off human?
  • Whatever you post, it should be something that inspires conversation/community and is spreadable. Think sprinkler vs. fire hose.
  • Most importantly, treat your friends and followers with kindness and gratitude and show them you genuinely care about who they are.

SMCKC Ignition Recap

December 2, 2015 - Posted by

On November 14th, members of the Social Media Club of Kansas City volunteered their time to help KC area nonprofits in Ignition, an SMCKC event designed to bring KC area social media professionals together to lend their resources and expertise to organizations in KC that needed help in developing social media campaigns to support their organizations.

The event kicked off with a dozen of KC’s best social media minds meeting at the crack of dawn (okay, 9AM) at MMGY Global (thanks for the awesome space!). We had a brief meeting explaining the course of the days events and took the time to introduce the three non-profits we had chosen (based on need) to help:

  • Community LINC is an organization with the goal to end homelessness for KC area families by helping them gain access to housing.
  • The WEB DuBois Learning Center provides additional training and education to KC area youth.
  • Reach Out and Read helps KC area youth develop early stage reading habits by providing books and encouraging literacy in KC’s poorest communities.

Each charity was assigned a rock-star team of KC social media professionals to help them with their social media needs. With each organization having slightly different requests, the teams were able to tailor their approach from basic to complex.

The teams worked feverishly for over 3 hours, breaking only for some delicious SPIN! Pizza and refreshments from Cosentino’s Price Chopper. When the event concluded each team presented on what achievements and action items were developed. While each nonprofit had it’s own agenda, one organization left with better ideas for how to measure their efforts online, another took home ways to increase visibility and giving for their entire web presence, and one charity even planned it’s entire online media calendar for the next year!

Here’s what the W.E.B. Dubois Center representatives had to say: "The support and guidance received from the social media club strategic planning session was invaluable.  We are a small nonprofit organization without a budget or department to do the things that will help us reach more families more effectively   Being selected  to engage with professionals like your members was such a great  opportunity.  We received so many great tips and are excited to execute our social media team’s recommendations."

Before we wrapped up the day the teams traded contact information so the nonprofits could reach out for future assistance and to schedule follow up help. Additionally, the charities each received a 2-day social media course, courtesy of Skillpath, as a parting gift.

Finally we recapped the day at Snow & Company, where social professionals and non-profits unwound from the intense activities and enjoyed some delicious frozen beverages.

I’d like to thank the members of SMCKC for their amazing efforts and for truly helping KC’s most charitable individuals further their organizations through the use of social media. I’d also like to thank MMGY Global, Cosentino’s Price Chopper, SPIN! Pizza, Skillpath, and Snow & Company for making the event possible.

Look out for a second edition of Ignition coming in 2016! We’ll have a volunteer link up once a date is set. Know a deserving non-profit? Email me at or wait for the application to come online.

I’m proud of the work that SMCKC members do every day and am even prouder of the assistance we gave to these great organizations.

Kris Nielsen

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3 Things You’ll Learn from sickweather

December 2, 2015 - Posted by


In a world full of social media, people are sharing information constantly. They share interesting news articles, opinions on the newest episode of a favorite TV show, their thoughts on a brand's new product or whether they are coming down with a cold. Our guest at the December SMCKC breakfast, Graham Dodge, Founder/CEO of sickweather, will share how tracking the flu through social media applies to more than just people getting sick, it translates into knowing more about how to track data on social in general. After breakfast, you'll be able to apply these lessons from sickweather to your own business or organization.

- Overview of how businesses can leverage social media surveillance - Sickweather monitors terms around people being sick like "flu" "chicken pox" "doc" and "bronchitis" to map where people are sick via their own patent-pending algorithm. Find out how their process was built and how you can transfer their ideas to your own business. Check out what this looks like on their live map.

- DIY social media surveillance tips - Not all surveillance has to be done via pricey platforms or using a custom-built algorithm. Find out what tools are out there to help you or your company get information around your brand. Plus, understand how sickweather uses alerts to keep their users in the know.


- Paid social media surveillance options - Surveillance on social is a big business and getting ahead of trends can mean big business for your organization. Using the information people are making public each day, how can you spot trends early, understand their velocity and translate them into changes you can make in your own business?

Join us by purchasing tickets via eventbrite here.


Put Your Social Smarts to Good Use!

December 1, 2015 - Posted by

At our Ignition event, one of our non-profits was the W.E.B. DuBois Learning Center, which provides tutoring & enrichment services for students and adults. Two representatives of the organization were at Ignition to help their team craft a social strategy for the center. After the event, they sent us this feedback from the day:

On behalf of the WEB DuBois Learning Center and all of the youth and families that we serve, please accept our most heartfelt appreciation and thanks. 

The support and guidance received from the social media club strategic planning session was invaluable.  We are a small nonprofit organization without a budget or department to do the things that will help us reach more families more effectively   Being selected  to engage with professionals like your members was such a great  opportunity.  We received so many great tips and are excited to execute our social media team's recommendations. 

Our organizational mission is to improve academic performance and to eradicate digital divides within our underserved community. We would love to extend an invitation to any of your members who are ever interested in hosting a seminar at our location that can educate and empower individuals that we serve. 

We look forward to re-engaging our social media team gurus in the near future as we learn and grow. Again we thank you for your time and in valuable contributions to strengthening our organizational marketing strategies.

If you would like to help the W.E.B. DuBois Learning Center serve their students and community by hosting a seminar at their location, please reach out to them via their facebook page. Potential seminar topics could be "Facebook 101 or Twitter 101","Personal Branding on Social Media", "Finding a Job Through Social Media", "LinkedIn Tips for Building A Network", "Building a Basic Website", "Resume Building for an Online Platform", or any other particular topics you think would be relevant.

For more information about the W.E.B. DuBois Learning Center, you can visit their website:



Join us for an All Clubs Happy Hour!

November 24, 2015 - Posted by

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Now more than ever, let's celebrate the amazing marketing and advertising and creative community in which we live. The marketing clubs of Kansas City are gathering to say thank you to our members, our community and our sponsors. As we look toward the end of the year and the start of the holiday season, we would like to invite you to a
Kansas City Communications Clubs Happy Hour.
Whether you're in advertising, public relations, social media, marketing or something in between, we hope to see you there. 

December 10, 2015 
5:00-8:00 p.m.

STUDIO Dan Meiners
2500 West Pennway
Kansas City, MO 64108

Cost: $10
Includes hors d'oeuvres and one drink
A cash bar will also be available (no credit cards, please)

Parking is available along Jefferson and under the I-35 bridge at 25th Street

For tickets and to RSVP, visit the official event link.