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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

event image


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.


Blowing the Filter Off Instagram: A November Breakfast Recap

November 19, 2015 - Posted by

Not all social media channels are the same. Facebook is still the giant, twitter is still the one that makes people ask “why?” and Instagram is the one everyone is trying to figure out because that’s where the younger generations are headed. At the November Social Media Club of Kansas City breakfast, Instagram was the featured platform. Three marketers from three distinct organizations shared their tips on the platform, sharing their stories of how they started in the channel and what they’ve learned along the way.

Katy Zimmerman, the Social Media Coordinator for Bread & Butter concepts was up first. Zimmerman’s job is to get bodies into her restaurant concepts. To do this via the Instagram channel, she shared the 5 things she does when thinking about what she’s going to post on Instagram on behalf of her concepts.

  1. Re-imagine Product – or, more simply, play with food. Zimmerman deconstructs recipes, shows the ingredients in different ways and arranges food to catch the eye.Slide10
  2. Utilize Surroundings – pulling the restaurant’s atmosphere into photos. Bringing the ambiance of the restaurant into the photo inspires thoughts of dining with friends, not just consuming food.
  3. Don’t be afraid to stand on chairs (or tables!)- Creating a different angle for her photos gives potential guests a perspective they might not see for themselves while dining. A shot from above the table shows all food, while a typical consumer view might only be focused on the food in front of them.
  4. Bring in human elements – People connect better with the product when they can visualize themselves in the picture.Slide20
  5. Get Your Staff Involved – Gives guests another connection point when they visit the restaurant to see a person in real life who they have seen online.

Duane Hallock, a Marketing Strategist for the Red Cross presented as both an employee of Red Cross, but also talked about his personal use of Instagram. His two pieces of advice to begin: start somewhere and surround yourself with people who are smarter than you. Hallock’s first pictures of a coffee cup and taco bell condiment packets show how far he’s come, both from a composition and concept standpoint. He shared seven tips for consideration when using Instagram:

  1. Shoot lots of pictures Slide45
  2. Focus more on the art rather than the hardware - Hallock uses a small point and shoot camera and a free editing app called Snapseed.
  3. Avoid photo clichés like the plague – if you have seen it a million times already, don’t take it. Just…
  4. Try something different – for that same photo everyone else does, is there a different angle?
  5. Never compare yourself with other photographers – look to them for ideas and inspiration.
  6. Deliberately blend personal and professional - Hallock follows the guidelines set forth by the Red Cross because he knows he is always representing their brand, even when posting on his personal channels.
  7. Have fun: If it isn’t fun, don’t do it - This speaks more largely of any social channel in general, if you don’t WANT to be on the social channel, maybe you (or your brand) shouldn’t be.

The final presenter of the morning was Marianne Gjerstad of Barkley. Gjerstad began her portion of the talk discussing the “Why?” of Instagram. In a nutshell, it’s where the millennials (especially the younger ones) are. The platform is all about discovery and inspiration and reaches people differently than other platforms. For her clients, Gjerstad considers the following:

  1. Is the post discovery not disruption?
  2. Does it feel like part of the native user experience?
  3. Is it relevant and share-worthy?
  4. Is in consistent with the rest of the images shown? Gjerstad and team only use 3 filters for a brand
  5. Is there a strong focal point? Is it not too busy?
  6. Is it really different than the other channels and not just re-purposed? Gjerstad’s advice if content must be used across channels is to start with content for Instagram and then apply it to other channels. Copy on the Instagram channel is different, as is engagement.
  7. Are we engaging with purpose? Have to pay attention to the numbers and not creep on people. Think about the brand channel from a user perspective.
  8. Does it have subtle cues to drive action?
  9. Are hashtags being employed to enhance brand discovery? Gjerstad recommends no more than 5 hashtags and suggests only ones that are purposeful or trending.
  10. Will tagging the location increase engagement? Gjerstad says test it out.
  11. Does the caption tell a story? Caption content on Instagram can be longer and tell a story differently than other channels. If used to short captions, try longer ones.

Before Gjerstad concluded her portion of the talk, she explained a bit about paid Instagram. The biggest takeaway she noted is that there is no longer a minimum ad buy necessary to sponsor a post on Instagram. Through testing, Barkley also knows Instagram ads have an impact.Slide88

To conclude the event, the panel was asked a few different questions:
When asked about garnering a bigger following, Hallock advised posting Instagram content to other channels such as facebook and twitter. He did note when he pushes content to facebook, he puts hashtags in the first comment of his Instagram post instead of in the original caption because he doesn’t employ hashtags on facebook.

When it came to videos on Instagram, but Zimmerman and Gjerstad commented that they still use more still shots on Instagram than videos, but if videos are going to be used, they have to have an enticing first one to two seconds to be engaged with and have to take risks not seen in normal videos.

A question was also asked about whether to use polished images or rough images. While Gjerstad has a team of creative behind her ready to create the stylized images, her final note was on Instagram, the most successful images were the ones taken on the fly, on a phone.

Instagram is a different channel, with its own opportunities. Its differences are why it earns a different audience looking for something different.

*This blog post originally appeared on the AWG Marketing/Advertising blog. All slides were taken from the deck shared at the Social Media Club of Kansas City's November breakfast.

The 2nd Annual SMCKC AMPS Awards are coming

October 30, 2015 - Posted by

AMPS2016Register now and plan to join us February 18 for the 2nd Annual AMPS Awards. The annual AMPS Awards was created and is judged by fellow Social Media professionals to acknowledge excellence in Kansas City Social Media. Campaigns that ran between August 1, 2014 and September 30, 2015 are eligible for submission. AMPS Awards will be presented in the following categories broken down by industry (Agency, In house, Small Biz/Solo, Government/Financial or Regulated and Nonprofit/Cause-Related):

-      Multi-Channel, Integrated Campaign

-      Integration with an Offline Campaign

-      Facebook (Sole or Primary) Campaign

-      Twitter (Sole or Primary) Campaign

-      Email (Sole or Primary) Campaign

-      Visual - Instagram or YouTube (Sole or Primary) Campaign

-      Blog (Sole or Primary)

-      Event/Real Time Campaign

In addition, special recognition awards will be presented to the following:

-      Rookie of the Year

-      Volunteer of the Year

-      Trailblazer

-      Hat Tip

-      Most Bang for the Buck

-      Biggest Big Deal


From recognizing the best campaigns in KC to the most influential Social Media personalities, the AMPS Awards dinner will be all about celebrating our local impact in Social Media (and a few surprises too). Whether you submitted for an award or want to join in the party, we look forward to seeing you there as we spotlight the best of the best!

Follow #AMPSKC on Twitter now through February 18 to see the who’s who of Kansas City Social Media!

For tickets and tables - Register now

Sponsorship opportunities are available by contacting SMCKC's AMPS awards exist to recognize Kansas City area companies, advertising agencies, and non-profit/government employees for their excellence in social media campaigns and marketing. The suggested list of sponsorship opportunities is below, but SMCKC prides itself on delivering custom approaches to achieve sponsor objectives while supporting our club events:

Event Title Sponsor - $5,000
The Title Sponsor will include branded logo use with all events, dedicated social media posts, recognition in all event signage, and the opportunity to have a custom portion of the AMPS program (2-5 minutes to present). Title sponsors will also be listed on all website and program material for the event.

Amplifier Sponsor - $1,000
Amplifier Sponsors will be mentioned in all printed and online materials and receive four free tickets.

Category Sponsor - $500
Category sponsors will announce the winner of their sponsored category, be mentioned in all printed and online materials, and receive 2 tickets to the event.

Retweeter Level Sponsor - $250
Retweeter Sponsors will be mentioned in all printed and online materials, and receive two tickets to the event.