Social Media Buzz Kill: Legal Snags for Marketing Alcohol Online

I met the owner of Lone Tree Brewery, a niche Israeli microbrewery located in the picturesque plains south of Jerusalem, about three months ago when she attended a seminar I gave on social media marketing for small businesses.  The main focus of the talks was on Facebook Ads, which in my opinion are one of the most effective marketing tools available.  At the time she said that her company had done some ads and saw little return, but that she felt what I was teaching had value.  We haven’t spoken since the seminar, and I have been meaning to catch up with her to see how things are going.  Then I read an article on cnet titled, For alcohol brands, social media a stiff cocktail. The article discusses the potential difficulty that US alcohol concerns are having in using social media tools to market their brands on things like Facebook Pages and Ads, Twitter promoted tweets, and Foursquare.  Generally state laws prohibit advertising by alcohol brands that target minors, and some states like Utah and Pennsylvania have stringent laws against this.  According to Ted Zeller, a PA lawyer with Norris, McLaughlin, and Marcus who has represented the Yuengling brewing company, “if you’re an alcohol brand, I know of no federal Internet law restrictions as far as advertisements go–the same would be applicable to TV advertisements.” Which raises a problem: lawyers advising alcohol brands who use social media campaigns need to consider and plan for the backlash that can come from violating a state advertising law related to company’s online advertising activities.  According to Zeller, it’s a tremendous hurdle from a legal perspective.” A...

Obscurity is Worse Than Plagiarism: Fear of Putting Your Stuff Out There

My father in law is talented; I mean really talented.  He’s a hypno-therapist whose clients absolutely love him.  Through his work he has changed lives (including my own – he’s one of my main inspirations for becoming an observant Jew).  There’s just one problem.  If you look for him on the web he’s practically non-existent. Try it.  Type in “Sheldon Libby Therapist” on Google.  Sure he comes up in the first three results: (1) a directory called “Revolution Health,” (2) another directory called “HelpPro,” and (3) his own website, but notice something about all these results?  For each of them you get some information about him, at best a write up of the kind of work he does, but nowhere do you see anything written by him.  There’s a reason for that. My father in law has thousands of hand written pages in his possession of original work that could really help people.  He wants to publish it and have people see it, but in every conversation I’ve ever had with him about putting his stuff out there on a blog or in social media he’s said the same thing: “people plagiarize stuff in the social work industry.”  He’s afraid of publishing his work online because he thinks people are going to steal it. Tonight we had an interesting phone conversation, and his these fears came up, yet again.  I told him, “obscurity is worse than plagiarism.”  The Internet has changed everything.  We have produced more information in the last three years than in all of recorded history combined.  There is no excuse not to get your ideas out...

Online Advertising: How to Attract Customers

Whether you are a small business owner, marketer at a large corporate, or an artist trying to get an audience, writing ads that grab attention is important … In this post I’ll talk about three components to ad writing which can be used on message board posts, magazine spreads, or even Facebook ads. We start with a pretty picture.