Affiliate Test

Connecting Twitter to LinkedIn

So a couple of days ago, the connection of your Twitter statuses being posted to LinkedIn stopped. For those of us who like to have our statuses going to LinkedIn from Twitter, there is a simple solution!

Bring on ifttt.com! ifttt.com is a service that can connect multiple accounts to each other.

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You create what’s called a Recipe. A recipe says if something happens, do something. Simple as that. So what I have done was to create a recipe that basically states, if I post or retweet something on Twitter, to automatically post the same post to LinkedIn.

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There you go, simple as that! Head over to ifttt.com, sign up and start checking out some of the recipes and creating your own! If you have cool uses, share them with me in the comments section!

Building Buzz on Twitter

Building Buzz On Twitter: Getting Followed Retweeted -My SMX Presentation

 

I was asked to speak at SMX Toronto on the topic: Building Buzz On Twitter: Getting Followed & Retweeted.

What follows below is the process that I use with my clients. This is an outline of what I follow for the clients that my team Ghost Tweets on behalf of:

The first step is to Define Your Objectives! This is the key part of my process. We have generally been able to break an objective into one of these 3 categories:

  • Sales
  • Brand Awareness
  • Support

It doesn’t matter which of the 3 categories you fall into, the process is pretty much the same, however you response times may vary for sales and support.

 

The next step is to Determine Your Demographic Targets. Who is your target audience, is your audience active on Twitter, can you build your audience on Twitter? There are many tools out there that will help you find some of the answers to these questions. But for me, I utilize Sysomos to break a lot of these details down.

Looking at the basic image below, you can see that for the keyword I typed here, there is already a HUGE audience focused on my keyword. Most of them are male, and predominantly in the USA and the there is a TON of engagement.

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So we have determined our audience profile and our objectives. Now we need to look into our policies. Does the company allow for what we are about to undertake?

We need to understand what the companies policies are and what we can and cannot talk about, or even how we can talk about it. If the company doesn’t have a social media policy, this is where we need to start. We need to work with the organization to ensure that they have a solid policy and that everyone understands it and that it is flexible enough to allow for what we are going to start doing.

We generally break it down into two type of policies:

Employee policies, this will define what employees can or cannot do when it comes to social media. How they represent them selves, when they can engage, etc…

Posting policies: These generally refer to how we as a third party can post on the companies behalf. What we can and cannot say, where we communicate, frequency and how we deal with various situations.

Once we have all of that out of the way, we start deciding on what we are going to get involved in, we do this by developing our topics and keywords. This will give us a good starting point for finding where to engage, and who to engage with. We need to determine the topics of interest, find similar topics already being mentioned on Twitter and create a list of keywords regarding those topics. We then take a look at our keywords and analyze them for relevance!!!

 

Now is where the fun comes in! Competitive Analysis… Let’s start by checking out the competition. If you don’t already know who your competitors are, then quit then start researching. You should already have an existing list of competitors! However, when people are discussing your topic, and referencing other people as experts on Twitter. They are now your competition too! Influencers can be competitors! They are competing for your audiences attention! But that’s okay. You can use that to your advantage. You can engage with the competitors and influencers to be a part of their conversations as well, as long as it’s relevant. Then their audience will also see you and your level of engagement.

There are a ton of ways to find your competitors on twitter, but the easiest way (usually) is to just go to their websites or blogs and see if they have their twitter links on the site. If not, just go back into Twitter and check the keywords and their names, usually this will pick them up.

Once you have found them, start to look at who they follow and who follows them. Analyze those accounts for yourself. You can review them to see how engaged they are… Or you can use tools such as Sysomos to see their followers and the gain insights that way, such as demographics, authority levels, etc…

 

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Although I have access to tools such as Sysomos and Radian6 and others, I still go back to old school Microsoft Excel. I like to analyze my own data. One of the key things I do is enter the competitors Twitter ID into Sysomos so that I can export all of their followers to Excel. Once I have them in there, I use VLookups to search if any of my chosen keywords are in their user name, description, or links. Then the list of people who have those keywords in their data get sorted based on their Sysomos based authority level. This is generally where I start when I look to engage with people.

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Not only to I search Twitter to find Influencers, but now I need to really start looking outside of twitter. There may be influencers who are not as loud on Twitter, but have a huge following on their blogs. They can be invaluable to you growing your following. You can reach out to them, see what type of opportunities are there for you to guest blog, or comment on their blog, or maybe even sponsor their blog if necessary.

Your searching for bloggers is very similar to your Twitter search. You already have your keywords, you can use tools such as Scrapebox to speed this up! I use Scrapebox for almost everything I can! It is such a great tool for automating information finding and retrieval. It really is. It may have started as a black hat tool, but it doesn’t have to be used that way.

 

So people often come to me and ask how I define Twitter influencers. I usually go back to the paper on “Identifying ‘Influencers’ on Twitter” by Eytan Bakshy, Jake Hofman, Winter Mason, and Duncan Watts.

Great paper (still), basically they define it as such:

  • A user’s influence on Twitter is the extent to which that user can cause diffusion a posted URL, as measured by reposts propagated through follower edges in Twitter’s directed social graph.
  • The best predictors of future total influence are follower count and past local influence, where local influence refers to the average number of reposts by that user’s immediate followers, and total influence refers to average total cascade size.
  • The content features of individual posts do not have identifiable predictive value.
  • Barring a high per-influencer acquisition cost, the most cost-effective strategy for buying influence is to target users of average influence.

 

Actions, Engagements, Evangelism

So you’ve started to engage and follow people. Next step is to find their interests, can you genuinely provide engaging content regularly to your audience? Don’t start something and then not continue it. People have short attention spans! (Me too!) Keep them engaged or they will find someone who can. Retweet relevant tweets, people are ego driven, they want people to acknowledge them! Retweeting is a great way to do just that! If you are targeting the bloggers that you have found, post their links, acknowledge them with @ mentions and in general @reply when you have value to add to their conversation!

Overall the theme is to ay attention, listen and engage. Use lists/organize your audience and auto organize (IFTTT to add to lists)!

Find great content! Buffer great content! Retweet great content!

When it comes to evangelism, start by teaching the rest of your organization these same methods, Don’t forget that the people in your organization are your audience too! Engage them as you would the rest of your audience!

People leave Twitter because of lack of engagement

One of the benefits of evangelism within your organization, especially if you are a large organization… The power of the retweet and ability to affect trending topics.

 

So now to the tools themselves

If This Then That

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I LOVE ifttt.com. It’s uses are endless. I use it to track people who mention me, follow me, mention my keywords, all sorts of things. Think about the one where someone tweets: “Thinking about buying a snowboard”, well the term buying and snowboard just triggered something in a company profile to add that to CRM to have a sales guy follow up on. Now I have someone who is interested in purchasing a snowboard, and I can reach them in a very personal way. Hey @snowboarder, I hear you may be interested. Here is a comparison of some… Can I help?

 

Instapaper

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So because we manage so many account for companies as well as individuals, we force the use of Instapaper. We use ifttt.com to automatically take all tweets that we post under that given account and send the page to Instapaper. We then work with the individuals whom we post for to ensure that they are reading the articles and that they are inline with what they would actually post about or read themselves. We also do this so that when they meet a follower in real life, they don’t sounds as if someone is Ghost Tweeting for them.

 

FollowerWonk

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Followerwonk is a quick way to do an analysis of you versus them… I use it to do comparisons of competitors.

GoFish

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GoFish is an awesome research! Type in your keyword and BOOM a list of people who are/have been talking about that topic! Very cool for quickly building a twitter list!

 

LinkedIn Signal

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LinkedIn Signal is another great hidden gem… You can use this again to type in a keyword and see people who have that keyword in their profile.

 

Scrapebox

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Scrapebox is THE tool for anyone in digital marketing… The amount of data, sites, site related information I can get from this tool in a very quick manner is just awesome! If no other tools are purchased, purchase this, go the forums and and research how people use it. But beware! With great power comes great responsibility! Do not spam with this, do not autopost with this… Unless you have been in this business a while and doing things for a while the ramifications of what this tool can and will do are significant!

 

Google Trends

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Looking for something to post, look at what was popular… Talk about it, argue about it, post about it, and most importantly tweet about it. Smile Find the articles that are popular and track them.

 

Google Adwords Keyword Tool

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Simple. If you are not familiar with Google’s Keyword Tool… Well, that’s just unfortunate. This will give you volume around your keywords, as well as suggest other potential keywords to use too! You can also look at http://ubersuggest.org/ for keyword generation.

Twitter Advanced Search

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Again, like the other tools, great for finding people based on Keywords! Learn to use Twitter Advanced Search!

Bufferapp.com

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This is the key to success for maintaining engagement. As you come along a post that your audience will be interested in, throw it into your buffer! You not only need to keep your buffer full, but you need to review it and play with it! Test your posting times, test the frequency of posts, review all of this data. Test it, and review it on a regular basis! See how many click throughs you get, retweets, etc…

 

 

TweetDeck

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(blurred on purpose)

Tweetdeck is my tool of choice. I use this to engage with my own audience, as well as other peoples/companies accounts. I like it because I can monitor certain lists, people, mentions, etc in a very easy way!

 

Sysomos

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From a Twitter perspective, I use this to review profiles for engagement levels, export competitor followers to excel (gold) and gain insights to a Twitter users profile and authority levels. I also slip into Sysomos to gain insights into the Share of Voice that we have. There are a whole whack of other ways that I use Sysomos, but this is a twitter chat, so I will save those for now.

 

People who always have great content (in no order)

Dr. Michael Wu @mich8elwu

Alan K’necht ‏ @aknecht

Jeremiah Owyang ‏ @jowyang

Neal Schaffer ‏ @NealSchaffer

Maggie Fox ‏ @maggiefox

Rhea Drysdale ‏ @Rhea

Aaron Friedman ‏ @AaronFriedman

MyCool King ‏ @iPullRank

@Marketingland

Cher Jones ‏ @itscherjones

Quick High Social Level Stats for SMX Toronto

Just some quick Social Stats for SMX Toronto…Quick Stats for SMX Toronto

The Never Ending Backlink Battle

Why do we build links?

There are many reasons that we build links. The first reason should be to help people find the relevant parts of your site. We don’t build links just to send visitors to the site, there is no point in having 5000 people come to your site that sells sprockets if they aren’t interested in sprockets. Anyone with very minor skill can drive thousands of links to a website without much difficulty. We build links however to drive the right traffic to the website.

We also build links so that the search engines know where we are, what we are about and how important we are.

Keys to link building?

Some of the keys to link building are to add value for the web searchers, and that they need to be relevant and natural! Yes we ask people for links and such, however we should only be asking website owners to put links on sites and places where the link would be relevant.

There would be no point in having a link to a Truck Repair Services website on a site that specialized in Document Management? (Yes, I worked for a company that thought this was ok…)

You also don’t want to have a link on a website that says “click here to go to www.randomtruckrepairs.com”. Instead, you may want to have the link just say “Truck Repairs” that then goes to a page on your truck repair site that is more relevant to the visitor. Having a relevant Anchor Link can go a long way into having Google see the relevance of the link to your website!

Some ways that I do it?

If you read my previous blog about keywords that is a good start. Keywords are… Well… The key. Before I start my link building campaigns, I make sure that I have a good solid understanding of the keywords that content that I am trying to promote. I have already completed my onsite SEO making sure my titles, h-tags, keyword density, etc… is solid. I also make sure that I know what content I am going to start linking to first. I break my content pages down into priorities.

This process should have already been completed as part of your content creation and prioritization strategy. Maybe I will put together a blog post about how I manage the content strategy…

So since we have the content prioritized and our keywords properly identified, we can start looking for backlinking opportunities.

There are many tools that can help with this, however I suggest starting with Microsoft Excel. Always put the backlinks that you find into Excel so that you better manage and track them going forward.

For competitive link finding, I use Open Site Explorer. This allows me to put in my competitors URLs and see who is linking to them. This is a great start. I can then take all of my competitors links and throw them into scrapebox to get even more data, such as the type of site that it is, WordPress, Blogger, Forums, etc… As well as whether or not they are “dofollow” or “nofollow” links, and their Page Rank.

A lot of people that I talk to say that there is no reason to go after nofollow links. I happen to disagree with this completely! I have a personal algorithm that I use to rank backlinks, and I may give nofollow pages a slightly lower point, but they are still valuable links and have done some tests where I have used nothing but nofollow links and still received decent rankings in Google.

Contacting Potential Linkers (site owners)

The key to contacting site owners, is to be personal! Be direct. Don’t use a standard shitty form letter! Read their blogs, or look through their sites, get to know it, and them. See what their interests are. If they’re on Google Plus, Facebook and or Twitter, reach out to them there. I have way more success reaching out to someone in the social space then I do by sending them an email. I can tell you with 100% certainty that I have never allowed someone a link spot that has emailed me! Especially emailed me using a “Dear (first name)” type form letter.

Now, someone reaching out to me and saying, “hey what’s up Patrick”, or something like that, may end up getting my attention. So think about how you would want to be contacted. Also think about how they use their blog and their site and such. Reach out to them in their language. The chances of getting a response are much better.

Guest Posting

Another great way to get links has always been to guest write on other peoples websites. If you’re doing SEO, I am making the assumption that you already know how to do advanced boolean queries with Google? Well, use those queries and do some searches for your keywords, and terms like guest post, guest writer, etc… Then, just like above, don’t just use a form letter. Actually investigate and get personal to learn about the site that you want to post on, also do some research to understand the value of that site, what’s it’s PR, rough traffic estimates, what kind of writers to they usually accept? This type of information will help you when you do reach out to them to ask for an opportunity to write for them!

Directories, Forums, and Blog Commenting

Do I really need to talk about these? Okay, you are kind enough to read this, so I guess I should. Get a coop student, or an intern, generate a list of these types of sites and turn them lose. These are the easy ones. If you can’t get a thousand of these in a week as an SEO taking your time, then you aren’t doing your job properly. The weight that the search engines give these is questionable though. I still do it, but I don’t think there is a lot of value. This is straight forward though. Use your tools (scrapebox in my case), and find a few thousand or tens of thousands of these, throw them into your spreadsheet and track them as you get on them. Easy enough.Just make sure that you have targeted the right ones.

EDU Links?

The other one that you have to be leery of are .edu links. I can give you 20,000 .edu links tomorrow. The problem is, google is on to us. They know that .edu links were of great value, and so do the students. Therefore you can find a TON of spammy links out their on university sites. Students would happily sell you links on their sites. Therefore, you have to think the value that these have now are not as great as they once were. However… If you can get some prime .edu links within the site that are not on the student pages, say perhaps links to content that is relevant to the university and to your site… Those can be quite valuable. They are just a little trickier to get, and not many of us will share those secrets with you. Sorry. Smile

If you are looking for more guidance, check out the this post on Link Building Strategies, or this post on Linkbait and Infographics

 

So this is just a brief look at some of the stuff that goes on in my link building backpack. There are reasons for every link that I get for a client, whether or not they are nofollow, have high PR, or whatever doesn’t always play into it. I do what I have done for many years and what I have found to be effective for my clients. It’s all about finding the balance for you.

7 Habits of Highly Effective Keyword Building

Creating an initial keyword list

The first thing that I do when I am working with a client is have them give me a list of what they think their keywords are. This helps me to understand to what level I have to educate the client. Do they understand what keywords searchers are using, or do they just give me the standard marketing list? Do they give me one word answers, or do they give me phrases (longtail keywords). Once I have this list. I either accept it as is if it’s not bad, or I sit with the client to educate them on how searchers use the search engines. I also teach them about long tail keywords and to understand the value and placement of keywords.

Competitive Research

I also have them provide me with a list of some of their competitors.  There are many tools to analyze the competitors’ keywords. Some of the things that I do, is look at the competitors backlinks and see what the anchor text is, use some tools such as keywordspy to check their keywords, as well as scrape their site to see what their meta tags tell me, or even their prominent on page text.

Once I have completed the initial competitive keyword analysis, I take all of the keywords that I have from the client list, as well as the competitive list and combine these into what I will call my first draft keyword list.

Further develop keywords from the first draft list

I now have a primary draft list to work with that I can analyze. I start by looking at the clients Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools accounts to see what keywords are driving traffic to the client website. I then take all of those keywords and load them into tools such as scrapebox, and Ubersuggest to see what other possibilities there are. Maybe throw them through some thesaurus tools and generate a much larger list to evaluate.

So with all of this data, I now have my Master Analysis Keyword List that I can go and evaluate. How do I evaluate it you ask? With Microsoft Excel of course.

Keyword Evaluation

Once in Excel, I set up multiple columns:

 

Keyword | Monthly Search Vol | Raw Comp | Direct Comp | Keyword Effectiveness Index

 

The formula for Keyword Effectiveness Index is:

 KEI = (DS^2/C) = (DS/C * DS), where DS is the number of daily world searches and C is the competition. The KEI ranges from 0 to over 400.

< 0.001 = Poor keyword

0.001-0.010 = Good Keyword

0.010-0.100+ = Excellent Keyword

 

Using this formula will allow me to show data driven information to prove why one keyword should be more effective than another one to the client.

 

Building pages for those keywords

Now, why do we do all of this research? We want to ensure that the pages and content you are going to develop will be as effective from a keyword standpoint as they can be! Now this is just the content. There is also great supporting evidence that that the design of the site can play a lot into how users complete actions, so remember. When looking at your website development, you want to look at a team that can handle the full process, from keywords, to content, to user centered design and follow up analysis, testing and monitoring. Don’t just hire an agency because they make things pretty.

You want to ensure that you are using your keywords in the most effective manner. Heading tags, titles, alt tags, file names, etc… I’ll do a post later about what I call the keyword pyramid for more info on this.

Rinse and Repeat

Remember. Keywords don’t stop just because your site is up and running. The search engines crave content, give them what they want! Continuously develop new content, and to develop new content, you need the right keywords!

Guest Blogging Ops via ScrapeBox

So one of my friends was asking me how I find Guest Post opportunities for my clients the other day.

Well, in reality, I have a database of thousands of links that accept guest posting, however I am always looking to add to my list. (For some reason I collect URLs). So I showed him a little technique I use. I utilize Scrapebox (for pretty much everything), but in this case, I use it to find guest posting ops. Same as any other search, I would just type the topic that my customer is interested in (energy saving, SharePoint, whatever) and then type various other keywords, such as Guest Post, or Guest Blogger, etc… Then run that through Google, Bing, Yahoo, AOL, etc…

guest post ops with scrapebox

Guest Posting Ops with ScrapeBox

 

I will run this a few times for the keywords I want. I then take this list and just do a quick PR check to sort the blogs. Once I have a list of opportunities, I export this to Excel (I do everything in Excel).

I may also scrape the email addresses for these blogs as there may be a good opportunity to email all of these people to get other places to post to as well? But once I have them in Excel, I set it up with various other column headings to let me know the contact details for the blog, whether or not we’ve written there, and when, and the URL of the post.

This is just a quick start, but should get you pointed in the right direction to help your brand awareness and backlink building program.

Remember, Scrapebox is your friend! Use it wisely!

A Gamification Model for Recruiting

What is Gamification?

So Wikipedia defines it as (at a high level): The use of game design techniques[1] and mechanics to solve problems and engage audiences. Typically gamification applies to non-game applications and processes (also known as “funware”)[2], in order to encourage people to adopt them. Gamification works by making technology more engaging[3], by encouraging users to engage in desired behaviors[4], by showing a path to mastery and autonomy, and by taking advantage of humans’ psychological predisposition to engage in gaming.[5] The technique can encourage people to perform chores that they ordinarily consider boring, such as completing surveys, shopping, filling out tax forms, or reading web sites.

Why Gamification?

So the problem that was encountered was around recruiting a specific type of specialized talent. A SharePoint Architect. Although there are many of these types of people in the workforce, the problem is they are working and not necessarily actively seeking out our job ads. So, we had to reach them another way. Through their wide network of friends perhaps? Through people who influence them perhaps? Bloggers, LinkedIn, Twittersphere, Facebookers? Anywhere people can and will be.

So what’s the plan?

Web Tracking Site

Upon first use, a user is presented with a screen to enter a referral code. This code can track to a Parent Referrer. If they do not have a Referrer code, they will be considered a Parent Referrer.

Authentication should be done via the various OpenID providers. Google, Live, Facebook and Twitter should all be allowed.

The Potential Referrer will then complete a form and be added to a database. Once added to a database, the Potential Referrer becomes a Referrer. Once they are a referrer, they will be presented with a Unique URL. This unique URL can be used anywhere they wish, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, G+, their Blog, wherever else.

When the referrer comes to the careers site, they will be presented with the ability to grant access to their Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus, Live and LinkedIn pages.

They will also be presented a list of current openings. Beside each opening is a set of “Share” Buttons. These share buttons will represent the social networks that the Referrer has added to their list.

Referrers and SubReferrers

Referrers will also have the ability to create their own network of SubReferrers. This will allow them more opportunities to move up the leaderboard, as well as earn more money.

However the key is that there can only be a parent/child relationship. A Referrer can have many SubReferrers, and SubReferrers can have their own set of SubReferrers. (I will draw this out when I get time to make it easier to understand).

Referrers should also be able to see the people they have made SubReferrers and also see Recruits that they have sent and see the status of each.

Example: When a Referrer or SubReferrer comes back to the site, they are greeted: Thank you Patrick McKeown for coming back to the Company X Careers Page. Great to see you back! To date you have recruited 28 Sub Referrers and they have provided us with 2 recruits gaining you $1000 total.

As well, you have also sent us 8 recruits that we have hired, earning you a total of $8000. Your recruitment total is $9,000.00.

You can see how this compares to the rest of your team below via the leaderboard.

Team Member Status Who’s Richest?
Patrick McKeown 2 Recruits, 8 Team Members $9,000.00
Bob Anderson 0 Recruits, 7 Team Members $1,000.00
Terry White 1 Recruit, 75 Team Members $500.00

Building a Recruitment Team

  1. New Hires earn referrers $1000
  2. Referrers can recruit others to be sub referrers.
    1. When a SubReferrers Candidate gets hired, the SubReferrer gets $1000, and the Referrer gets $500

Updating of our Careers Web Site

When a visitor comes to the site, some sort of attention getting big banner style headline, “what would you buy with $1000.00, refer someone and find out” –links to the recruitment team page.

Non authenticated users are presented with a list of currently open positions, as well as the usual career marketing type sub pages.

Authenticated users are presented with the same as above, but they are also presented with other options:

  1. Social Share icons next to each Job Opening
  2. Link to Recruitment Team Stats Page
  3. Link to Recruitment Team Recruiter Options

When a new posting is created, it automatically emails out to the “recruitment teams” to let them know that there is another opportunity for them to log in and see their stats as well as get their recruitment teams working on it.

Candidate Submission

When a candidate comes to the career site, they have the ability to submit their information for the job of their choice. This data will then get submitted to the CRM system, on the submission confirmation page (Thank you page), will also be the details on how to build out their own Recruitment Team.

Once the candidate information has been captured in CRM, the referring Recruiter will get the following:

  1. Email message stating one of their candidates has applied and is being considered
  2. If Recruiter on twitter, @CompanyX tweets publicly to them that @recruiter may be getting an extra $1000 soon with a link to the Recruitment Program Site (maybe)
  3. If the Recruiter is on Facebook and a fan of the CompanyX page, an automated message to post to the CompanyX Wall that Recruiter may get an extra $1000 soon.

This is just the start of the program. We still need to get the word out to start the program, and there is still work to develop the backend and frontend portions of the system. You then need to socialize and continue to socialize the program to get the word out.

The NDP thinks Canadians are idiots!

So an article on http://www.cp24.com/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20110624/110624_NDP_Tax/20110624/?hub=CP24Home really got me pissed. The NDP are saying that they are going to reduce taxes if they get voted in in the fall. They are going to reduce gas by 1% a year, and that they are going to put the burden back on business…

Okay… It’s all fine and good to say that you are going to remove this tax and that tax and put the burden back on the businesses, however all the businesses are going to do is put the price up to cover the tax increase. Therefore you are zeroing out the work you do to try to make yourself look good. Instead of “trying” to look good. Try reduce government waste and gov spending and maybe reduce the crazy salaries you all have to help save Canadian tax payers! Come on morons, Canadians are not that stupid.

Beastie Boys -Make Some Noise

Super awesome!! New Beastie Boys album coming out May 3! Check out one of the tracks below. :)

 

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