As a marketer and web designer specializing in social media marketing, I have one rule that is never broken. No personal pictures of children. I would rather lose a client because I know that the web is a scary place filled with anonymity and people with no value for children. While parents protect their children from those hiding in the shadows of secrecy in real life, many parents unwittingly expose their children to thousands of sexual predators and molesters who are simply a click away.

If there is one message that I would love to give every parent who engages in social media or marketing for their business it would be: the web is not your friend!

Here are six NEVER DO things for social media and websites to protect your children:

1.  Never use pictures of your children as your profile picture. So many parents use pictures of their children instead of themselves as profile or avatar images. While I appreciate the need for parents to retain obscurity, think about the exposure of your children and their image to mass populations of people.

2.  Never put pictures of your children on your website or blog. Perhaps the most accessible way to gain pictures, a website or blog surrenders pictures with just a right click and SAVE AS. Posing a double threat, many website and blogs are directly traceable to a location by phone number or direct address.  Might as well place a google map on your child with a large YOU ARE HERE arrow.

3.  Never share pictures over social media.  Having seen people post a link to vacation pictures or family fun on Twitter or Facebook, the warning light bulb burns white hot upon the realization that thousands of unknown people exist in each account. Even in the strictest of social media sites that require you to validate your “friends,” people can sneak in to your connections. Further, when connections comment on your photos, your photos show up in the highlights of their connections! In certain social media, your pictures can be shared and re-tweeted to a whole new group of people without your knowledge.

4.  Never send pictures over email. If you send pictures of your children to company email addresses, then they go through a server administrated by people. As email can easily be viewed, saved, downloaded, and forwarded, grabbing these pictures of your children is not difficult. Most servers automatically scan downloads and attachments for viruses and generate reports to administrators.

5.  Never forget that someone does not have to touch your child to exploit them. When placing the pictures of your children in any online electronic format, never forget that you are exposing them to exploitation by one simple right click. In the thousands of people on the internet and in social media profiles, consider the chances that one of them is either a pedophile or sexual predator. The chances are very good!

6.  Never let innocence block your view of the truth. So many parents see their children with innocence rather than the potential for exploitation. Innocent pictures of children in the bath tub or playing in the backyard sprinkler are graphic to a sick mind. Although it might be painful to think in that manner, there are many consequences more painful than protecting your child by seeing the truth.

People often protect their financial information more stringently than their children because they feel safe in tucking their children into bed at night.

Not quite…in reality, it takes less than 10 seconds to right click on a picture and upload it to a new webpage. In those 10 seconds, a charming picture of a 7 year old girl in her new bathing suit splashing around in a pool can hit a child pornography website and be up for sale to thousands of pedophiles for a few dollars.

Sickening? Yes.

Are you ready for worse? Social media pages and websites often have exact locations connected to the parents’ profile. Even more directly, many social media profiles have websites that list as a location and phone number on the website or in a domain search. In less time than it takes to post that innocent picture to share with family and friends, a child molester can find the exact address of your child. When posting pictures of children, many parents post their names and ages with the picture.

Is there anything more persuasive for a child than a person who knows their parents name as well as their own? It is quite an advantage for sexual predator.

After watching a recent episode of Raising the Bar, it was very clear that my own experiences with parents reflects the comfortable naiveté of reality in how often people forget that the web is not their friend because we have grown up with the web as a part of our lives. I suggest this episode to every single person responsible for the well-being of children who uses the social media or the web as part of their connection with family, marketing for a business, or expansion of a social network.

Raising the Bar http://www.tnt.tv/dramavision/?oid=49111&eref=sharethisUrl.  

Remember: The web is not your friend!

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People often ask me why I am in marketing. I know, it seems like your insurance agent. You don’t want to admit that something horrible could happen, but you need to make sure you are covered in a case it does. Well, marketing people are much the same way. The best of us, really good at what we do, watch people…analyze….and find ways into their buying consciousness. Does that seem predatory? Perhaps.

Unfortunately, people sense this about marketers. Like we are all the tele-markers that call you during dinner time trying to refinance your house or get you to take another credit card. No…but I would like to note in this space that if AT&T calls me just once more (7 times in 2 days) that I will be going to a cable phone line!!

See, for each client I work with, I can see the vision of their dreams. I don’t take every client. I would not waste my time or efforts with people less than motivated to reach for success. They get to define that goal for themselves. Is it tons of money? Ok. Is it taking their messages of love to the world? Yes. Is it starting a business so that they don’t move through life stumbling over a 9-5 existence? Super. I can help with these visions.

Here’s the confessions part: What is in it for me? If you say money, true. I get paid, but that is not the payoff. If it were, why would I live in the blogosphere? Why would I turn down clients who do not have the passion needed or the understanding of achievement? Why would I fire clients who are not meeting my expectations? (yes…did that twice this week!)  I mean, anyone can write a check each month!

What is in it for me is a small idea I have called “Building Dreams on Dreams.” That means, quite literally, that I get to participate in the construction of other peoples dream.

  • I get to see that first direct mail campaign equal a sale.
  • I get to watch as the website or blog start to get responses.
  • I get see their PR turn into interviews and product buzz.

I build my dream—being the Marketing Goddess—on the successful achievement of the dreams of others. That is worth more than money to me. So, here I am blogging about the best ways to market for those who need help and understanding to get their part of the dream.

If you have questions, comments, or emotional outburst….well, that is why I am here! ~~Diana, Marketing Goddess

Have you ever noticed that almost every person selling something is yelling the word FREE?  Most times, customers are so desensitized to the idea of getting something for FREE, that you automatically become suspect and jeopardize your credentials.  If you customers do not trust you, then you will not make the sale.

Does this mean that you should never use the word FREE in a sales or marketing promotion?  No, but it does mean that FREE must have value for you customer to give them a reason to share their information with you.

The three most common mistakes that marketers make when trying to reach customers with the word “FREE” hanging like an albatross around their neck are:

  • Not providing content worthy of your customer’s interests.
  • Using deceit to draw your customer into your marketing without providing value.
  • Trying to sell goods or services to your customer with the word FREE attached.

What you are saying?  Not try to sell to my customers?  If you are starting to stutter and shift uneasily in your chair, then please get a grip.  The Marketing Goddess is ready to explain all to those trusting souls with patience!

Your goal is never to sell someone a product based on your FREE product.  Your goal is to get them to buy into later sale efforts by leaving their contact information.  Whether you offer a free newsletter, podcast, white paper, or report, your goal is to build a trust with your customer by providing a FREE value.  Later emails set up a drip marketing campaign in which you touch your customer repeatedly with information of products mixed with education.

Here are some great case studies from clients-

In truth, it’s like someone asking you to buy a car before you have driven it.  What your customer wants to feel assured about is that you have their best interest at heart.  As you can see from anyone of these documents, they are all timely, focused marketing pieces built to help the consumer with important information or education.  After all, why spend your days knocking on your customers door when you could be using the power of your blog and the internet to bring them to you!

Want an extra Marketing secret?  Dont want to produce content yourself?  Contact someone who has free marketing podcasts, white papers, or materials and ask to promote it on your site! 

If you have questions, comments, or emotional outburst….well, that is why I am here! ~~Diana, Marketing Goddess