Creatine Marketing Newsletter | July 2013

Creatine Marketing Newsletter | July 2013

This month I used a different software but with a similar HTML code that I borrowed from the newsletter I created using Mail Chimp. The collage of photos used with the first article are a collection of my Instagrams. Also, the image on the bottom of the little people is from an infographic I created for my company.

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Do Videos on Social Networking Platforms mean TV Style Advertising?

Do Videos on Social Networking Platforms mean TV Style Advertising?Since the Facebook-owned application,Instagram, introduced the video feature to it’s users a few weeks ago—there has been one question on my mind: How long will it be until we begin to see television-like commercials and ads on our social feeds?

With the new addition of video recording, Instagram latched onto the coat tails of the video app Vine, and catapulted itself into first place. But the competitive drive is still in the air, and with this resurgent popularity of video sharing online, (which isn’t really a new development, but rather a new conversation about an existing technology) it is obvious that if companies use this opportunity to do a little video marketing, they can tap into a potentially huge new advertising revenue stream.

Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom is consistently repeating that the application is all about the users, but with the burgeoning new trends in social media marketing and the use of Instagram for branding and product highlighting, it is clear that this update provides a marketing advantage to business owners using the app.

Do Videos on Social Networking Platforms mean TV Style Advertising?

Systrom was interviewed after the event announcing the video feature’s addition, and he believes that the near-term opportunities for brands to use the video feature would be similar to how they’re using Instagram photos currently—which is to capture moments at events that build on the brand’s image. And of course, Instagram is also used to snap shots of products, services, employees, customer testimonials, and more.

The CEO believes that video will just be an extension of this process, but as an avid Instagram user, my biggest fear is that perhaps companies will take advantage of the new feature in order to bring us a series of disruptive, unoriginal, and irrelevant commercials like the ones we are annoyed by on cable television—which is a primary reason that many Americans have switched to streaming their shows using services like Netflix or Hulu+.

Of course, this may only become frustrating for users who actually “follow” brands on their social networks, but of the 130 million people using Instagram, it is safe to assume that many are following their favorite celebrities and companies—patiently awaiting the next opportunity for gossip or discounts.

Minutes after video on Instagram was announced, Lululemon released the commercial above, and while creative and engaging− it is just he beginning of what is to come. It is no accident that Facebook designed Instagram’s new video feature to allow users to record for 15 seconds; that is exactly the same length as most television commercials.

But I have two view points in mind that are battling it out for dominance, and while one has spawned out of my demand for social network purity—free of tracking cookies and targeted advertising— the other stems from my experience working as a social media marketer.

Online video marketing is a phenomenal resource for small businesses because most of them cannot afford flashy commercials that play in 15-minute intervals on major television networks. Setting up accounts on YouTube, Instagram, and Vine takes approximately ten minutes and then you can begin to record personal product pitches, or shoot a video of your pet boutique’s grand opening, or even make a short movie that highlights the efficiency of your carpet cleaning service.

Many major corporations like Burberry are already using the video feature to share behind the scenes footage of their fashion shows—and I believe this is actually a fantastic use of the app’s addition. Because the company’s fans are engaged on Instagram, the more intimate of the social networks, Burberry has a chance to connect on a more direct level, and the people have access to the human side of the company—which enhances a consumer’s perception of the brand’s authenticity.

The Instagram leaders recognize the natural business opportunity inherent to the simplicity and versatility of the video feature, however for the time being they are encouraging brands to interact with their customers organically, rather than allowing market-directed ads, like the ones we see on Facebook.

I take that as a good sign; spontaneity and honesty are fundamental to the nature of Instagram. Businesses have a chance to showcase the candid and genuine elements of their brand. And if you’re a small business owner, that is what social media should be about—reaching out to the public, sans pretense and ulterior motivation. Let’s just hope that the Instagram team and community continue to agree, because I am not quite ready to give up my favorite social networking platform to the advertisers just yet!

What is your opinion on the potential of seeing television style adveritisng on Facbeook and Instagram? 

By Sasha Novikov | Creatine Marketing

 

Introducing Video on Instagram from Instagram on Vimeo.

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Calendar of Social Media, Tech, & B2B Marketing Events

School may be out for the summer, but for marketers and businesspeople, class is still in session. The next couple of months are a perfect time to catch up on the latest trends and technologies, and to acquire some new tools for social media marketing. Perhaps you will even have the chance to visit some very exciting cities while attending these B2B marketing events!

During the summer months, while others may be resting, it’s a wonderful time to get serious about growing your social media presence, blog engagement, or website following. If you are using social media for business, you should seriously consider attending at least one of these conferences!

For local Sacramentans, the Metro Chamber of Commerce always offers some fantastic business mixers and workshops. If you are looking to travel, the events marked in green take place all across the nation.

Take the time to expand your network by meeting with others who work in, and understand your industry. Learn something interesting, secure new resources, and perhaps even embark on an exciting business endeavor.

social media for business,tools for social media marketing,B2B marketing events

The 7th International AAAI Conference on Weblogs & Social Media | July 2013, Boston, MA

The ICWSM is a unique forum that brings together researchers working at the nexus of computer science and the social sciences, with work drawing upon network science, machine learning, computational linguistics, sociology and communication. The broad goal of ICWSM is to increase understanding of social media in all its incarnations.

For more details, click here.

 

eWomenNetwork “Accelerated Networking Dinner” | Tuesday, July 9 6:30p to 9:30p

Double Tree by Hilton Hotel Sacramento in Sacramento, CA

“The Productive Entrepreneur: Boost Your Productivity to be a More Successful Business Owner”

Do you have organizing and productivity challenges that you deal with on a daily basis in business and in life? Productivity expert, Lisa Montanaro, provides solutions to real-life productivity problems.

For more details, click here.

 

Suits and Slippers | Thursday, July 11 7:00a to 9:00a | Market Square at Arden Fair

It’s time for the breakfast event of the year. Join event co-chairs, Councilmembers Steve Hansen and Allen Warren for cereal, slippers, and early morning fun. Don’t miss the celebrity cereal eating contest and stick around for the silent auction items. All that and awards for best slippers, too! Proceeds benefit the Roberts Family Development Center.

For more details, click here.

 

Metro Chamber Power Lunch: Hawks Restaurant | July 12 Noon to 1:30p

The Metro Chamber Power Lunch series provides you an opportunity to maximize your business connections within the Metro Chamber membership. We want to help you expand your network. Bring plenty of business cards, and be prepared to tell others why they should refer business to you.

For details about the menu, the cost, and registration click here.

For information about the Metro Chamber Orientation, follow this link.

 

Business Builder Workshop : How to do Business with the County of Sacramento | July 18, 12p to 1:30p

This workshop promotes and enhances the utilization of local and small business enterprises in the County’s procurement and contracting processes. The workshop is designed to provide procedural assistance and contracting information to any firm wishing to do business with the county.

For more details, click here.

 

Marketing…it’s EZPZ | July 22 9a-4p |Hilton Sac. Arden West

Part of the SacAfWPi Annual Conference and Trade Show—in conjunction with Sacramento NACE (National Association of Catering and Events) and SHIPs (Sacramento Hospitality Industry Professionals).

If marketing is one of those things that mystifies and scares you just a little, or if you believe it is too difficult to figure out and you’d rather be focusing on your business, then this event is for you. We will have some speakers to are going to show you that #Marketing is #EZPZ.

For more details, click here, or find the Facebook Event Information, here.

 

Silicon Valley Innovation Summit | July 23 & 24 | Computer History Museum, Mountain View, CA

The Silicon Valley Innovation Summit is the premier annual gathering of the brightest minds and top entrepreneurs, investors, and corporate players in the Global Silicon Valley. The Innovation Summit has featured dozens of breakout companies before they became household names, including Pixar, Google, Salesforce.com, Skype, MySQL, YouTube, Tesla, Facebook, and Twitter. This two day exclusive event treats attendees to a high-level debate and discourse on top trends and opportunities in the booming digital media, entertainment, on-demand and cloud computing sectors. The Innovation Summit is produced in an intimate and social setting, where participants can easily meet up, socially network, and make deals happen.

For more details, click here.

 

Business Mixer: California Automobile Museum | July 25 5:30p to 7:00p

Join the Metro Chamber at our monthly business mixer. You’ll develop new business contacts while you mingle with community and business leaders, as well as fellow business associates. Great raffle prizes are given away at each mixer.

For more details, click here.

 

Inbound Marketing Summit | July 30 & 31

Inbound Marketing Summit (IMS) is the one event that brings together CMOs, business leaders, agency execs and their teams, awesome keynotes, expert panels, plus solutions providers and their tools, all in a dynamic, community-based setting.  Learn about the latest in social business, content marketing, big data, mobile technologies and more.

For more details, click here.

 

Sacramento Video Industry Professionals Monthly Meeting | July 31 7pm to 9pm

The event takes place at Studio 50 in Mather, CA. The Sacramento Video Industry Professionals (VIP’s) meet monthly to explore new technology, promote learning & collaboration, & encourage professional growth. We study ADOBE, APPLE, & AVID but we strive to enhance our knowledge of ALL media processes, production gear, & industry trends.

For more details, click here.

 

By Sasha Novikov | Creatine Marketing

Google Reader is Gone, What will Replace it? | Social Business News

Google Reader is Gone, What will Replace it? | Social Business NewsAs of today, Google Reader is no longer. But luckily, competing RSS services have developed platforms designed to ease the transition for former Reader users.

What is RSS you ask? Rich Site Summary, or RSS, is a format for delivering regularly changing web content. Many news sites, blogs, and other online publications syndicate their content as an RSS feed in an attempt to deliver immediate updates to those who subscribe to their outlet.

RSS can be a wonderful resource for readers who regularly use the web to stay informed, because the feed provides an orgnazed and convenient way to view the latest content, and current social news. By downloading an RSS reader and adding the sites you frequent most, you can save an immense amount of time because the you does not have to visit each site individually.

Google Reader is Gone, What will Replace it? | Social Business News

Google Reader has been a particularly popular arena for keeping tabs on dozens of social, business, and news websites, and now millions of readers are hoping to find a replacement service.

Fortunately, there are several comparable alternatives to help people track updates from all kinds of websites relating to their jobs, hobbies, or other personal interests. My three favorite are Feedly, Newsblur, and Pulse.

These platforms allow Google Reader users to transfer their feeds over effortlessly by logging in with their Gmail username and password. It is also simple to add new sources to your feeds.

Google Reader is Gone, What will Replace it? | Social Business News

  • Feedly is by far the most popular Google Reader alternative. It has a clean, beautiful interface that you can tweak to work almost exactly like the Google Reader. Its search tool is very effective: you can type in a blog name, a URL or even a topic and get a list of feeds to choose from.

Once you install the Feedly app on your Chrome or Safari browser, it will display a small, transparent button in the lower right corner of your desktop screen. Whenever you browse to a new site that you want to add to your Feedly account, just click that button and it will prompt you to add that site.

Google Reader is Gone, What will Replace it? | Social Business News

  • Newsblur feels a bit more like a desktop reader. You can see stories on the original site, create categories and tags that help highlight the stories you want most, and even create a “blurblog” of all your favorite stories for others to check out.
  • If you’re more of a visual person, Pulse maybe the perfect platform for you. It features a beautiful photo-grid style layout with live tiles that change as new articles are posted to the websites you follow. The site is somewhat reminiscent of the way Pinterest looks because it is almost exclusively image driven. You click on an image, the article expands in front of your eyes and you are able to read a short summary of the article and then decide whether to follow a link to the original piece. Pulse also offers a very effective search tool for finding and adding other feeds. You can organize feeds into categories, and it’s easy to mark the ones you’ve read or the ones you want to save for later.

Google Reader is Gone, What will Replace it? | Social Business News

I wish you luck in finding a new reader platform! While there are plenty more, these are a few of the most popular, and the ones I’d recommend checking out first. If you are ready to give up on RSS feeds altogether, you can follow all of your favorite sites, blogs, and news outlets on Twitter, Google+, and Facebook. Whatever your social content management needs, you’re sure to find something out there that works for you!

 

By Sasha Novikov | Creatine Marketing

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Social Media Food Chain, Where Do you Rank? | Social Media Concepts

The Social Media Food Chain, Where do You Rank? | Social Media Concepts Whether you use social media for business or for personal networking, its not difficult to point out the various categories of sharing and place your friends and business partners into those categories. A social media profile is never far removed from the personality of the individual who created it.

Many people use their Facebook wall as a diary, sharing the most personal of content, while other users create a more discrete online persona, sharing  weekly or monthly highlights. There are those who only post negative opinions, and those who post information so random and irrelevant that you consider removing them from your feed completely.

Working in the social media industry, you see it all. The gurus and experts who enlighten, motivate, and inspire; the popular posters who receive the most retweets, likes, and follows; the over-sharers who update their friends before, during, and after every single experience; the noobs who must’ve just discovered the Internet but are committed in their efforts to impress and build a following; and the trolls who dedicate a majority of their day to sharing their defeatist attitudes, whining, or posting harmful and judgmental remarks on forums and in comment sections.

Follow along with us as we break down the social media food chain and find out where you, your friends, family, and coworkers rank. Discover whether or not it’s time for you to readjust your social media personality.

The Social Media Food Chain, Where do You Rank? | Social Media Concepts The Guru |

At the top of the food chain, we have the social media guru. This user is always staying on top of popular trends, keeping his or her followers engaged, up to date, and entertained. He or she uses social media effectively to stay relevant on all social sites and posts a variety of interesting information, balanced out by personal news and humorous videos or photos. These trendsetters know where to hunt down hot topics before any one else seems to find them and they share valuable tips and articles. The gurus understand that sharing too much can frustrate their friends, so they are choosy with their posting. You will never see a status update about his or her failing love life, or other far-too-personal-for-social-media post.

The Social Media Food Chain, Where do You Rank? | Social Media Concepts

The Popular Poster |

The popular poster occupies the next rung on the ladder. For whatever reason, this digital socialite has bazillions of followers on Twitter and hundreds of friends on Facebook. Do they know all of these people personally? Probably not. But that is irrelevant to this friend collector. A majority of the time, the content they post is regurgitated, or borrowed from someone else.  When the information is original, it is probably about their adorable kitten, their food, or their margarita− whatever will yield the most “likes” or retweets. But hey, at least it’s interesting!

The Over-Sharers |

The Social Media Food Chain, Where do You Rank? | Social Media Concepts

We all have these friends in our networks. The ones who check-in at every single location they visit, Instagram each meal, tweet any thought that enters their mind, and post the most intimate details of their lives. If you’re failing to pin point this person in your life− there is a good chance you are the one who is guilty of being an over-sharer. This goes out to all the dog owners who post each time their pup rolls over; to all the teenagers gushing about a new crush and updating us on each on-again-off-again catastrophe; and to the hypochondriacs who ask for advice about every symptom (try WebMD, people) − please employ your internal filter next time you have an overwhelming need to fill us in on the uncomfortably personal events of your life that should be reserved exclusively for your private diary.


The Noob |

What is this Facebook thing? I don’t understand hashtags. How do you use that Twitter? I want to learn how to “twiddle.” Those are the exact words I heard out of the mouth of a close friend last week. It isn’t always easy for those who have been detached from the networking world to dive in headfirst.

The Social Media Food Chain, Where do You Rank? | Social Media Concepts

The noob is a user who has finally succumbed to peer pressure and established a profile on a few of the major social media networks.But when you arrive to their page, they have no followers or friends, have posted once, and haven’t quite figured out how to set a profile picture.He or she always has questions about how to tag a friend in a photo, and they have trouble understanding why #makingupthelongesthashtagever just isn’t the best hashtag strategy.

The Troll |

The Social Media Food Chain, Where do You Rank? | Social Media Concepts

When I think of a troll, I imagine a lonely, grumpy, hunched over little creature living beneath a bridge, guarding the passage way, and scaring off those who wish to cross by screaming, taunting, or pestering them. Coincidentally, an Internet troll isn’t far removed from the age-old fictional character− only they are hunched over a keyboard, monitoring forums and blogs instead of bridges, and pestering anyone, with any opinion, anywhere. These people can be judgmental, intolerant, and somewhat narcissistic. Trolls tend to complain about trivial things and have trademarked the “woe is me” attitude.

The best social media management comes from a place of balance and respect for others− just like managing relationships in the real world. We all love to share our milestones with loved ones and there are days that we feel rage when someone cuts us off on the highway− but rather than turning to Facebook for a quick rant, call up a good friend instead.

Sharing vacation photos, news about huge life events, hilarious memes, videos, and articles or keeping your followers up-to-date on news that you find interesting is a wonderful use of social media. But on the other hand, it’s your network, your friends, and your life− so be free to post, repost, and post again come Throwback Thursday.

 

By Sasha Novikov | Creatine Marketing

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Current Social News | The Global Impacts of Political Networking

Current Social News | The Global Impacts of Political Networking In the past several years the role of social networking in arranging, encouraging, and responding to protest and revolution has been a hot topic of conversation. From Occupy Wall Street to the Arab Spring Revolutions, social media has been at the epicenter of many of the major demonstrations against political corruption. The protests taking place in Turkey add to this trend and are transforming our understanding of how social media can cultivate and fuel public involvement.

Last week authorities assembled outside of Istanbul’s Gezi Park. Surrounding the nucleus of a three-week protest against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the police shouted muffled warnings, and forcefully moved in.

It was several hours before the commotion ceased, and by then the vast encampment that had been assembled by thousands of protesters was demolished and evacuated. The park had been the focal point for demonstrations, strategy meetings, circulation of current social news, and activity planning− and with Gezi still empty− social media, used considerably in the movement’s adolescence, is more important than ever.

Just a week before the raid, Turkish police arrested over 20 people just for using Twitter to “spread untrue information.” And Erdogan labeled social media “the worst menace to society.” But the people of Turkey consider it more of a critical resource and a civil right− an instrument of revolution and a symbol of the power they hope to take back from corrupt politicians.

Current Social News | The Global Impacts of Political Networking

Civil and political unrest is not unique to Turkey; revolts are erupting all throughout the Middle East. Protesters in nations like Libya, Jordan, Yemen, and Egypt are rising up against the injustices carried out by their governments, hoping that change is on the horizon. Economies are unstable, jobs are non-existent, and the tight-lipped government-run media networks are starving the people of information. The uncertainty, general distrust of the government, and bleak vision of the future create an environment that is ripe with civil unrest and disorder.

Mainstream news, media, and research agencies are failing to cover the demonstrations, and in addition, many nations closely monitor networking outlets to hunt down anyone plotting to lead an uprising. Protesters in other nations are following in the footsteps of Egyptian demonstrators, and are relying on Twitter as a life source and sole communication line to other activists.

People are sharing videos and images on their social networking sites in order to unveil social issues that are rarely discussed in local newspapers or on television programs. Campaigners have posted Vine videos of riots that highlight the asymmetrical violence faced by citizens at the hands of the police− footage that would never have been released to mainstream news outlets.

According to research by NYU Politics Ph.D candidates Pablo Barbera and Megan Metzger, unlike the protests in Egypt however, nearly all of the geo-located tweets in Turkey are coming from within the country. In other words, they explain, social media is a tool for the protesters themselves, not just a medium to show solidarity from citizens abroad.

We are living in a time that is unique in history, this is the first time in human existence that people can tweet, blog, post, and interact across networks and across the globe−and the latest development in communication is the use of social media to share and discuss news of dissatisfaction with the political state of your nation. While many people in the United States are of the opinion that Twitter, Facebook, and other networks can be used as tools in maintaining an honest democracy, other nations are struggling to exercise what we recognize as our First Amendment right.

 

By Sasha Novikov | Creatine Marketing

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Crafting and DIY | Business Using Social Media

 

Crafting and DIY | Business Using Social MediaIn the past few years, the online crafting community has expanded tenfold. With the success of sites like Etsy, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Instagram, Flickr, and with the popularity of blogging, arts and crafts is no longer just a summer camp activity—it’s a thriving, all inclusive economy.

With increased opportunities for exposure, simple web designs for commerce, and unlimited inspiration—small crafting businesses are springing up everywhere and they are succeeding. The crafting communities are supportive, encouraging, and loyal; the customers value the authenticity and unique nature of products that are handmade, original, and that cannot be reproduced or purchased at a chain retailer or department store.

When our economy took a dive, many people were laid off or lost hours at work—and many women, in particular, had to allocate new resources. Some that perhaps saw crafting and DIY projects as a hobby, were now utilizing their skills not only to create things instead of buying them, but also as viable side businesses. And as the trend grew, savvy entrepreneurs enhanced their businesses using social media.

Crafting and DIY | Business Using Social Media

On Pinterest, the “DIY and Crafts” category is one of its most widely used. And Etsy is designed exclusively for those who hand craft, sew, upholster, restore, paint, draw, crochet, and make jewelry. Instagram and Flickr offer artists the opportunity to show, and not just tell, people about their products. And now, with the new video plug-ins on Instagram, and apps like Vine, crafters can create promotional videos and engage with thousands of people, for free.

If you are just getting started with social media, there are dozens of avenues that you can use to propel your hobby into the realm of prosperous businesses. On Pinterest for example, creatives have a chance to engage in some fun marketing ideas. One way to use Pinterest as an indirect tool is to start a collection of your favorite things and incorporate some of your own items into “style guides” or seasonal “must haves.” For instance, if you create and sell jewelry, it would be helpful to include a collection of your pieces with handbags, shirts, and summer sandals to inspire people to buy.

You can share these collections via your social media networks and blogs. This method says, “Here’s how my items go with current fashion trends,” rather than “buy my necklace and earing set.”

Once you start selling your merchandise, you can invite customers to share photographs they’ve taken of themselves wearing or using your products and feature the photos in a contest.  Offer the winner some free goodies, and it is guaranteed that person will not only return for more, but he or she will tell other people about your product and online site or shop.

Crafting and DIY | Business Using Social Media

Finally, with sites like Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook etc, you can utilize hashtags that will incorporate your photo or marketing phrase into a collection of other similar photos or phrases in the same category. Let’s say you’re selling hand sewn onesies for newborn babies, you can hashtag your product #babies #moms #parenting, and your product will show up any time another user searches in that category.

Social media sites provide extremely high conversion rates for small crafting businesses, and when you consider how simple they are to use—you’d have to be nuts not to put your marketing energy into developing a social presence.

 

By Sasha Novikov | Creatine Marketing

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Creatine Marketing Newsletter | June 2013

Creatine Marketing Newsletter | June 2013

For the June newsletter, I used a service called MailChimp. I’ve you’ve never used this service for creating newsletters before, you should try it out. It’s user friendly and offers a variety of beautiful and engaging templates. You can import all of your email contacts and the software will even present you with analytics after the campaign has been sent out. It shows how your networks are interacting with the newsletter: how many have unsubscribed, what they are clicking on, and ultimately- whether or not your email campaign is worth the effort.

This month’s newsletter was not very difficult to create and has a simple, clean look to it, which I love.

If you, or your company needs a biweekly, monthly, or quarterly newsletter prepared quickly and efficiently please contact me via the comment section, email, or through my social media channels available on the About Me page. I will offer affordable rates, I never miss deadlines, and I write my own content.

By Sasha Novikov

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Let’s Get Social

Let's Get Social

An Infographic I Created using a blank template and tools on the website Piktochart.com

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Do You Need a Social Media Education to Execute A Social Strategy?

Do You Need a Social Media Education to Execute A Social Strategy?We’ve heard of students majoring in Social Studies, but Social Media Studies? That’s a new development, even for us. At Creatine Marketing, we are in the business of digital marketing and social strategy, but last year, while we were in the process of seeking out new employees, interviewing them, gauging them for experience, and putting them to work— some interesting questions came up.

Mainly, everyone was curious about what kind of training, education, or experience qualifies a person to create an effective social media strategy. How do you hire the right person for the job and instill the proper skill sets necessary to develop a social strategy? Now that we are in the market for new interns and employees again, we’re attempting to answer some of those questions and offer our readers and clients some insight into the various methods of obtaining a social media education, or experience in the field.

A common misconception is that the average social media user is sufficiently qualified to carry out a successful marketing campaign. Many businesses make the mistake of finding someone who uses Facebook every day and trusting him or her with the responsibility of creating a strategy, developing a focused direction, managing a budget, and controlling access to major accounts and passwords. Being an individual with a few social media accounts does not prepare you for analyzing engagement, interacting with thousands of fans daily, measuring SEO metrics, or meeting with clients to discuss and execute plans for branding, reputation management, and content creation.

Do You Need a Social Media Education to Execute A Social Strategy?Social strategy aids companies in communicating with their customers via digital channels, and the goal of a campaign created to function online is not too far off from the objectives of other marketing campaigns designed for radio, print, or television. A strong background in marketing, advertising, communication, sociology, business, or consumer relations is highly valued in this field. Whether you learn these skills in a classroom or from years of experience as an independent entrepreneur, they will ensure your success when developing a strategy for your business or other clients.

Universities and colleges now offer courses in digital media, online strategy, social media, web analytics, search engine marketing and more. Even Harvard offers a course called Digital Marketing: Social Media and Online Strategies. Because the field of marketing has dramatically shifted with the rise of social media and the increase of devices, platforms, and applications, companies are recognizing that it takes the right person to head their social media marketing department.

Do You Need a Social Media Education to Execute A Social Strategy?It is also important to remember that a degree or university education is not the only qualifying factor.  Many companies can train the right employee to understand the importance of branding, promotion, research, writing and distributing content, keeping an open dialogue with customers, managing bad press, and mastering effective communication. Additionally, digital marketing is a constantly evolving field and, because of the continuous metamorphosis, social strategists need to be the kinds of people who adapt quickly. This kind of skill is hard to teach.

Individuals from a wide variety of education and experiential backgrounds are taking on roles with social business components—social strategy, community management, and managing social campaigns. While formal courses may not be the most productive route in an ever-changing field, jumping in with no experience is even more harmful to your company.  If you are truly interested in being successful in social media and digital marketing there are books, blogs, articles, podcasts and plenty of online information offering introductory and in-depth knowledge about the field.

By: Sasha Novikov| Creatine Marketing

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Buying Fans and Followers | Part 2 “The Pros and Cons”

Buying Fans and Followers: Pros and Cons| New Trends in Social Media

In our last post we discussed some of the reasons companies and individuals feel justified in purchasing social media fans and followers, rather than growing a fan base organically.

Business owners feel as if buying Twitter followers or Facebook Likes makes their company look more credible and established, but it is also possible that buying friends just creates an illusion of social status. And so the question remains: will this controversial practice inspire trust from new and potential customers, and will it actually increase sales?

This continuation from last week’s article will explore some of the pros and cons to paying for follows, that way you can decide for yourself whether or not this is a strategy you want to add to your marketing campaign.

The Pros:

Buying Fans and Followers: Pros and Cons| New Trends in Social Media

An inflated Twitter/Facebook following Creates the Illusion of Importance

To be honest, as an avid social media user, it feels pretty good when my Instagram picture gets double-digit likes, or when my timely and well-thought-out tweet is favorite-d or retweeted.

Much of my social media activity is just an extension of my desire for acceptance and validation, and, although I cannot speak for everyone, I know I do not stand alone here. While I would never spring to purchase more followers on any platform, I am thrilled when my numbers increase.

But a business owner has the advantage of labeling their self-promotion as branding, and there is something to be said about an organization that is popular online. While boiling down the value of your online presence to a mere number on Twitter sounds ridiculous, there’s really no denying that one’s Twitter following, despite being a vanity metric, is often thought to correlate directly with importance.

So your Followers are Fake…but the Clout is Very Real

An increase in fans and followers can transform a stand-up amateur into a professional comedian, a garage band into a rising star, a movie extra into fresh new talent, and a small business into an authoritative source. Individuals have even been hired for job positions as a result of their high Twitter following, since the number serves as a representation of how powerful your online word can be.

Trending on Twitter #Bandwagoning

Once users see your numbers rising, they will be more likely to follow you as well. I can claim to be an expert food critic, but if I only have 26 followers, most people will assume that the only food I’m judging is my own mac & cheese. If that number was more like 700 or 1,500, I become a considerably more reputable source—one that users are much more likely to check out. This could mean that the users you’ve purchased can actually generate real followers as a result of your imagined prestige.

Simple & Affordable

Building a legitimate fan following takes time and effort—you need to consistently be sharing great and original content, posting funny videos or remarks, or broadcasting the latest news. Most companies just don’t have the time.

You could spend months gathering information, writing and publishing articles, scouring the web for news and videos…or you can grab your wallet and buy a militia-sized army of followers for less than a latte at your local coffee shop.

Buying Fans and Followers: Pros and Cons| New Trends in Social MediaThe Cons:

The Zombie Follow-pocalypse  

When you buy fans, you get little to no interaction because you’re really purchasing mindless spam bots. The profiles are fake, no one is manning them, they are all for show—so when you post interesting and relevant stuff, no one will comment and no one will retweet. Your content stands still and does not function as it should—to drive traffic to your website or increase your search engine rankings.

The Number is not Enough

All of the zombie followers in the world won’t do much to raise your Klout score. Social media influence scores tend to look at engagement and interaction rather than sheer numbers, so you wont be getting added benefits with your inflated metric. Additionally, if you manipulate your numbers, it is much more difficult to properly measure social media return on investment and the true influence of your campaign on the public.

You’re Walking Right into a Trap

Be familiar with the dangers associated with purchasing friends. Other than the sheer humiliation when your practices are discovered, many of the sites that offer to sell you more followers are a scam. You part with your hard earned cash and come away with absolutely nothing. Often times, these nefarious groups are simply looking to take advantage of businesses that do not know any better. As a general Internet rule, you must always be wary when entering your personal information on a website, and providing your credit card to many of these sites in particular might not be the brightest idea.

Your fake followers could also end up doing damage against your real followers by hacking, phishing, and infecting them with link spam. Is it worth buying your fan base when you consider all the risks?

Reputation ControlBuying Fans and Followers: Pros and Cons| New Trends in Social Media

Some genius wrote an algorithm that can now easily detect who is desperate enough to buy friends. The Fake Follower Check tool can lead to public embarrassment and force you to take a defensive stance and fight to redeem your character and the save the reputation of your business.

Naturally boosting your followers on your social media accounts isn’t easy—but it is worth it in the end. Just a handful of engaged, active followers is infinitely more valuable than hundreds of fake accounts that exist as ego inflators.

The practice of buying fans and followers is considered unethical by a majority of online users and is not a replacement for conventional marketing efforts needed to build any successful business.

On the other hand, purchasing friends is completely legal and the practice is definitely rising in popularity, especially among startups. For small businesses, growing pains are essential for character development, so while buying friends can be considered when planning a marketing strategy, discovering new followers organically and becoming a power player in your niche is what will really increase your following.

By: Sasha Novikov| Creatine Marketing

Buying Fans & Followers | New Trends in Social Media

Buying Fans & Followers | New Trends in Social MediaSocial media is a vital element of any online marketing campaign when it comes to expanding a customer base, search engine rankings, and brand recognition. And as major players, Twitter and Facebook are two of the most important and popular social media networks frequented by millions of users worldwide.

Fan and follower count is often considered a status symbol on these networks, and growing a large and dedicated following is a landmark goal of many Twitter and Facebook users. However, getting users to follow or like your page organically is quite challenging, unless you are a celebrity or a major corporation.

Many users are tempted to buy followers via outsourcing websites. And while this may seem like a good idea because more followers means a higher klout score, more visibility, and increased engagement, companies also run the risk of exposure which can be embarrassing.

Buying Fans & Followers | New Trends in Social MediaIn fact, Google Adword keyword tool shows that over 100,000 Google searches are performed monthly, for the keywords “buy Twitter followers,” and over 160,000 for “buy followers,” confirming that this once well-kept secret is now common practice.

The concept of buying popularity online may seem like a strange one, but this idea has been around since the birth of social media itself− and possibly since the beginning of complex human interaction. (We’ve all seen the character in a movie who is paid off to befriend another, less popular character). For years now, companies have been offering services to purchase Twitter followers, Facebook Likes, and YouTube views—but recently, these activities have landed among the not-so-savory new trends in social media.

The New York Times recently ran an article exposing major Twitter “celebrities” for purchasing fans rather then growing a following naturally and progressively. The author, Nicole Perlroth, wrote, “social media experts say there are several reasons why Twitter users would want to acquire large volumes of Twitter followers. For some people, it simply feeds the ego. For people and brands, a large Twitter following or Facebook fan base helps increase their visibility. If followers are constantly clicking on links to a brand’s landing page, it also lifts the brand’s position in Google’s search results.”

It is natural for brands to want to build their Twitter and Facbeook accounts because they are constantly looking for ways to expand awareness of their products and services. Susan Etlinger, an industry analyst at the Altimeter Group, says that, “many brands struggle to measure the top line value of social media, so there is a thirst to show momentum in different ways, one of which is to show that the brand has a bigger audience today than it did yesterday.”

Some major brands are skeptical however. Coca-Cola for example, has 700,000 Twitter followers and more than 60 million Facebook fans− more than any other brand on Facebook− but a corporate study found that online buzz had no quantifiable impact on short term sales.

Buying Fans & Followers | New Trends in Social Media

This is probably because social media fans are volatile, and may start to follow a brand for a specific reason and then drop off when a contest ends or interest fades. Other users with inflated followings, like 50 Cent, Mercedes, Diddy, and Pepsi have been called out publicly when their followings spiked dramatically and then dropped substantially without explanation.

These celebrities and brands have denied the purchase of followers, but most experts agree that there is no other justification for this kind of strange activity. When a following rises by the thousands and then drops by the same amount, those who are paying attention will notice, and may publicly chastise your company for unethical or unauthentic practices.

With a simple swipe of a credit card, you can obtain legions of followers, but is it worth it? Are they helping your campaign or boosting your overall profit? And if those followers or fans are not interacting with your content are they really friends of your business at all?

Find out more in our next article, which will break down the pros and cons of buying followers and fans.

By Sasha Novikov | Creatine Marketing

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Creatine Marketing Newsletter | May 2013 Issue

Creatine Marketing Newsletter | May 2013 Issue

Creating May’s newsletter was an easier process. I found a wonderful template online that I felt was clean, efficient, and simple. While this is still an evolving process, I am happier with this month’s issue than the last two that i’ve completed. The learning experience has been enlightening– for some reason when taking on this project, I thought it would be easy to create the newsletter, it would only take me a day I said. I was wrong.

But with practice and experience using all of the various languages, from HTML to Java to the long acronym one that starts with WSY…. the process is becoming less daunting. Perhaps next month’s will be even better.

Oh, and if you happen to be reading this and live (or know someone who lives) in the Sacramento area, Creatine Marketing is hiring social media interns, graphic design interns, and probably sales people. If you have experience and are not a student, but still need work, I would still apply!

The Power of Online Video Marketing

The Power of Online Video MarketingOnline video is a key part of the content marketer’s playbook. With today’s technology, video content is less costly, easier to create, and more effective than ever—and most companies have taken notice. There is a lot of compelling evidence suggesting that video marketing should be a major focus of your digital advertising campaign.

According to Dr. James McQuivey of Forrester Research, one minute of video holds more value than 1.8 million words. That’s the equivalent of 3,600 typical web pages, which means if you were to write an average of one web page each hour, it would take you 150 days of writing to achieve the impact of one minute of video. Taking those numbers into account proves that online video marketing is the single most practical use for your marketing time and energy.

Each day, over 100 million Internet users watch online videos, and while it’s true that many of those people are watching the latest viral video featuring a cute kitten or a silly child, an increasing majority of them are looking for advice on how to do something or how to make something work better. This number has increased by 43% since 2010, and studies show that a large amount of viewers are looking to buy a service or product.

A recent study conducted by Forbes magazine shows that 75% of executives watch work-related videos on business websites at least once a week, and a majority of them visit the marketer’s website after viewing a video. So why should your company care?

With video marketing in your arsenal, your advertising campaign can reach a wider audience− more than 167 million people consistently watched online videos last year and that number is increasing exponentially. Over 50 million people view videos from their mobile devices, and mobile users seem to have a longer attention span. While desktop viewers stick with a video for 2 minutes or less, iPhone users commit for almost 3, and Android users surpass 3 minutes of engagement. Tablet users have the longest attention spans of all, and remain glued to the screen for an average of five minutes.

The Power of Online Video Marketing An infographic I created to accompany this article.[/caption]

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Crucial Internet Tools

The World Wide Web is simultaneously a means of entertainment, education, productivity, and innovation. In the business world, whether you are working from home, in a small office, or are part of a global corporation, the Internet provides you with the resources you require to complete any creative or professional project. The tools available online can also help with marketing, scheduling, file conversion, document storage, and note taking. There are even websites that can lock you out of Facebook for a few hours or remind you to pick up the dry cleaning.

Many of these free and readily available web applications are well known, but there are others that are found in the cracks and corners of cyberspace− and since I know few people have the time to dedicate to hunting them down, I wanted to share several websites that I find practical and useful, not only in the business world, but also for the stay-at-home moms, the pseudo photographers, and those just getting started online.

For the designers, web developers, and photographers:

Creatine Marketing Reviews | Crucial Internet ToolsDid you know that Google Chrome offers a free, full-featured photo editor that is available in your browser? It’s called Pixlr Editor. You don’t have to download or purchase any software; there is no waiting, no product key− it’s 100% free. If you are familiar with Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro, you will be right at home with this software; it offers many of the same features but without the headache. Some of the tools included are: red eye reduction, spot heal tool, drawing tools, clone tools, sharpen and blur tools, and many more. You can turn your modern digital image into a vintage looking photo with the many filters that are available, and the program even offers Adjustments that are fairly advanced, such as Levels, Curves, Cross process, Desaturate, Auto levels, Hue/Saturation, and Brightness/Contrast. You can upload images right from your Desktop and once you are done working with the file, you can save it, email it, or print it out.Creatine Marketing Reviews | Crucial Internet Tools

Another alternative site that provides a similar service is BeFunky.com, a Turkish startup website that is known for special effects. The site also has a popular mobile app option that contains more filters and editing options than Instagram and any other photo editing mobile app put together. The image-editing process is easy and accessible, and gives you the opportunity to create beautiful, professional-looking photographs from your computer, tablet, or phone. What makes this site different is that the editing process is merged with an intriguing social aspect. You can work with your photographs to bring out their best qualities and then you can share them with others placing them into categories like nature, tattoos, music, pets, and more.

Have you heard of Sketch Toy? This website provides another tool for people to practice their creativity by offering drawing tools. Sketch Toy is a free use site that offers a simple drawing interface but with a unique twist− the lines you draw appear as shaky animations as if watching a still image or cartoon on an old television. The canvas you are given has a texture that highlights this animated effect. You can choose from a solid drawing or a dashed one, there are various colors and effects, but there are no regular shapes because all the drawing is done freestyle by using your mouse.

For the savvy, productive, office-bound busy bee:

Creatine Marketing Reviews | Crucial Internet Tools

Your coworker emails you a document that cannot be opened on your computer because the file format isn’t recognized – what do you do? A few years ago, you might have panicked or responded with an email asking him or her to save it again, some other way, and resend it. This is no longer an issue today thanks to online file conversion websites. I like to use Online Convert. Here you can convert m4a files to mp3s, or videos to mp4− and the converter lets you specify dimensions, video quality, audio quality, frame rate, and video duration of the resulting video. If the file you want to convert is online, you can provide its URL instead or uploading it from your computer. You can convert image files, documents, videos, audio files, and there is even a hash generator. Zamzar also offers a similar service.

Creatine Marketing Reviews | Crucial Internet ToolsMany of us have heard of Evernote, I could write an entire article just about the productivity and efficiency of this one application, but I will offer a short summary. To say that Evernote is simply a note taking software is a severe understatement. With this application you can capture images, create voice recordings, edit screen shots, and create lists. You can then add your notes directly to the images you create or the voice recordings you’ve saved. For example, when we have a business meeting, I can record the entirety of the meeting while taking notes and then go back and edit what I had missed. Evernote works on a cloud system so it is available on any device, at any time. If you make a shopping list on your iPad, the list shows up on your mobile device so you can access it while you’re at the market. There are even little check boxes so you can mark off the items as you locate them. You can store recipes, project ideas, and reminders all in specific folders, then easily access them by searching for keywords in the top corner of the app’s home screen. If you aren’t already using this application, you need to be, and you can download it for free on any device.

Creatine Marketing Reviews | Crucial Internet ToolsWhen I first found wakerupper.com I was slightly amused. I thought the site was kind of a joke, not because it wasn’t useful and well designed, but because I thought that perhaps setting alarms and reminders on my phone was all I needed− that maybe this site was designed to be fun and silly. I was half right. This site offers an amazing resource; scheduling reminders I can do from my phone, but setting a wake up call? Now that is incredible. You can have your phone ring to wake you up and even record or notate a message to your ‘not a morning person’ self. Some of the alternative uses that people have been raving about are that you can schedule calls to remind your husband or children to clean the house− you can schedule calls that can save you from a horrible date or a boring business meeting, and you can even set calls to urge your elderly parent to take his or her medication when you are on working or on vacation.

For the academics and overachievers:

Creatine Marketing Reviews | Crucial Internet ToolsHas anyone in your circle of friends or coworkers mentioned something called a TED talk? Maybe you’ve heard of or even seen one of these presentations, but on their website you can watch hundreds of them for free. TED talks are inspiring conversations written and presented by remarkable and highly successful people. You can find one on almost any topic. There are conversations about biomechanics and engineering, and others explaining why we see colors when we smell certain things. There are talks on social media, the obesity epidemic in America, sustainable architecture, and our education system.

The Khan Academy is another incredible tool; the website offers a library of over 2,100 quality educational videos on various subjects including math, physics, biology, test prep, literature, history, and more. Read more about the Khan Academy, and how people are using it here.

Creatine Marketing Reviews | Crucial Internet Tools

Another service that is well known, but worth mentioning, is Dropbox. Dropbox and Google Drive actually function in a similar fashion, so this paragraph can be applied to both resources. Dropbox lets you sync selected files or folders between computers and mobile devices. Any file you save to Dropbox is instantly transferred into a cloud storage system that is then accessible from any other device anywhere else on planet Earth. The main difference when using Google Drive is that once you share a document in the drive, the parties that have access to the file are able to download it or edit it right in the browser providing a dynamic and collaborative workspace. With Dropbox, once the receiving party has access to your document, they would have to download it, edit it, save it, and re-upload it to Dropbox. While both are easy, the Google Drive option is more immediate.

I found most of these web tools using Stumbleupon.com, the final site that I want to talkCreatine Marketing Reviews | Crucial Internet Tools about. This web service is not only a means of inspiration, but also a source of knowledge, a research aid, an entertainment center− and sometimes a time suck. But if used properly, you can sometimes avoid being lost in its trance forever. When you create an account, you are urged to select your interests from a list of various choices like travel, music, literature, online games, Internet tools, fitness, philosophy, art, humor, and more. You then hit the orange button that says, “Stumble” and the random generator brings you to one of billions of webpages. With every click of the stumble button you arrive at a new website that suits your interests− and you can choose to remain in one category or stumble all of your interests at once. Sometimes you will land on a picture of some tropical paradise, other times you will land on a gardening blog, a space exploration tool, an article about collecting jazz records, or a digital relaxation experience− a website that uses satellite imaging and ambient noise recodrings to make you feel like you are on a private Caribbean beach.There are unlimited possibilities when you stumble, and each time you are guaranteed to find something new and interesting. Stumble Upon is like a flashlight illuminating the dark shadows and unexplored spaces of the web.

Every day new websites are erected out of a human necessity for efficiency and time management. Like stars and planets, there are hundreds in the works this instant and millions that we have yet to discover− the web was nicknamed cyberspace for a reason. For more interesting and useful web applications, you can select the sub-category “Internet” or “Internet Tools” on Stumbleupon.com and continue the hunt. There are useful tools everywhere if you take the time to discover and play− and if you don’t have that kind of time, then I hope this article was helpful in highlighting some of the amazing resources that are just one click away.

By Sasha Novikov | Creatine Marketing

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Creatine Marketing Announces Merge with MXSweb | Press Release

Sacramento, CA - Creatine Marketing, one of Sacramento’s top digital marketing agencies, is thrilled to announce a merger with MXSweb, a 14-year-old brand enhancement and website development company. With this union, Creatine Marketing will combine its proficiency in social media creation, education and management with the unmatchable talent of the MXSweb team’s website and logo design.  creatine mxs merge

Since 1999, MXSweb has been leading the way with excellent website design, Internet marketing, app development, and video production. The minds behind MXSweb believe that innovation is the heartbeat of a successful business and strive to create unique and dynamic webpages, apps, and marketing strategies, videos for their clients. Nicholas Fordham, the company’s creator, runs and leads a development team that can code in every language, and they are WordPress and Joomla experts.

The creative minds behind the company have worked with businesses that are just starting out and with Fortune 500 companies− and are dedicated to handling all aspects of online and offline marketing and promotions.

“This merger, between Creatine Marketing and MXSweb, enables us to service our customers more effectively by helping to build a stronger online presence,” said Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Robert Black. “In the past three years, I have met with hundreds of business owners face-to-face and a majority of them—if they even have a website—do not have a site that is functional, mobile ready, user friendly, designed to convert viewers into customers, or to generate high traffic in terms of search engine optimization. MXSweb harnesses the expertise that will correct these drawbacks for entrepreneurs.”

Together, the two companies are trailblazing along the new frontier of responsive framework technology and web development. This style of coding allows desktop and mobile browsers to play nicely together. Each website is flexible and changes dynamically when the browser window is resized. These new high-end and cutting edge technologies will provide the individual entrepreneurs, small business owners, and even larger companies with the best team in Sacramento when it comes to creating an online presence, producing brand recognition, and developing imaginative logos, videos, and websites.   Both companies have made a commitment to offering the highest quality experience to their clients by understanding each distinctive customer’s needs. They are dedicated to their clients’ success and work diligently to design services that produce results.

Use Foursquare to Enhance Exposure | Foursquare for Business

Use Foursquare to Enhance Exposure | Foursquare for BusinessWhen you think about promoting your business on social media, you often visualize the primary six platforms: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google +, and Instagram. Even as a social media marketer, I tend to focus a majority of my attention on these social networking giants− pushing content to where I assume I will get the most reach and interaction. But when I’m off the clock, I’m constantly using certain apps to organize my life and to help me make decisions. One of these resources is Foursquare, and although it receives less attention from marketers and businesses, it is one of the most useful mobile applications on the market.

Foursquare is a location-focused mobile app that allows users to “check-in” to places of business using their phone’s geo-location software. When you visit your favorite restaurant, a local spa, the gym, or a bookstore− you tag yourself there, and then share your location with Foursquare, Facebook, and Twitter friends. Not long ago, I thought this service was simply an enabler of narcissistic over sharing on its best day, and a stalking-for-dummies tool on it’s worst. However, like most trends I’ve tried to ignore, curiosity eventually got the best of me− and now that I’ve checked-in, I won’t be leaving for a while.

As an individual user, I find the mobile application efficient, user-friendly, and entertaining. Once you add some friends, you can see the restaurants they are trying out and then add them to your “To-Do list.” I have even searched out businesses based on my location, read reviews and tips, viewed images, and chosen where to shop based on the experiences my friends have had. From the application’s Home page, you can “explore nearby” and seek out food, nightlife, coffee, shopping, sights, and art. You get points for checking in, and even receive badges like, Local : “Sometimes you want to go…where everybody knows your name…You’ve checked in at the same place three days in one week”. People can be dubbed “mayor” of a place they frequently visit, and then others can dethrone the mayor and take his or her spot.

Using Foursquare to Enhance Exposure | Foursquare for Business

The app has become somewhat of a game, and over 25 million people are playing. The witty and sarcastic musings written by the app developers make me snicker, and the deals I get for checking in are the reason I keep coming back. And that is where businesses on Foursquare benefit from being on the platform. As a business owner, you can offer people coupons and discounts for checking in at your establishment. When users’ friends see where they are checking in to eat, shop, work, and play they are influenced to do the same based on recommendations from people they trust.

There are over a million businesses on Foursquare currently, so it’s not an application you can ignore -, it’s one you need to master in order to build your customer base and reward your most loyal customers simultaneously.

Use Foursquare to Enhance Exposure | Foursquare for BusinessClaiming Your Location | In order to get started you need to claim a physical space. Your venue is your business’s home base on Foursquare. Once you’ve downloaded the app, attempt to check in by searching for your business, and assuming it isn’t listed, select the plus sign that allows you to “Add this place.” Next, you will be asked to list the name of your business, the category it falls under, (i.e. Arts & Entertainment, Food, Professional, Shop & Service) and the exact address. The main categories will break down into more options, for instance, ‘nightlife spot’ offers subcategories like bar, beer garden, cocktail bar, dive bar, etc. It is important to give as much relevant information in each field as possible to help inform your current and potential customers, and to give them everything they need to communicate with you or your business. Finally, your company must be verified by Foursquare in order to finalize the process. You will receive a code to confirm your location and then you must pay a $10 fee to process your venue claim.

Updates and Promotions | Sending updates from your venue on Foursquare is a feature that allows you to send company news to a user’s feed about specials, coupons, deals, announcements, and other relevant information. Fox example, you can use this opportunity to offer customers something special while keeping them connected with news about upcoming events. Use Foursquare to Enhance Exposure | Foursquare for BusinessAnother feature for business owners is the Promoted Updates option, which allow a business to pay to have their local updates promoted in the Explore tab. It’s a new and exciting way for businesses to choose which updates deserve an extra push for maximum exposure.

Foursquare Check-In Specials | Offering specials to your patrons will keep them coming back, and these deals are a fun way for your customers to earn rewards whilst spreading awareness about your delicious food, innovative product, or unique service. Some businesses have used a Flash Special “The first 10 people who check in after 8pm get 25% off their order,” while other benevolent and tempting offers include a free cupcake on your first check-in. Chili’s offers a free order of chips & salsa upon check-in, and as a loyalty special, they offer a free dessert on every 3rd visit. When you’ve checked into a business more than anyone else in the last two months, you are granted

Use Foursquare to Enhance Exposure | Foursquare for Business

Mayor-ship of that location, and many businesses offer a mayor special which grants 20% off the entire bill. This kind of deal in particular encourages loyalty and rewards returning customers. Many businesses use a combination of these various specials to reel in and satisfy clientele. Use local updates to promote your specials on Foursquare, and also remember to update Facebook, Twitter, and all of your other social networks in order to spread the news about your special.

Add Tips about Your Company | People visiting your business can leave their opinions about what they’ve experienced. They are even promoted to leave tips about places they’ve checked into in the past, leaving the opportunity for both positive and negative feedback. When a user checks into a place for the first time, a different user’s tip flashes on the screen. The tips that appear atop the list of feedback are the ones with the most likes from other users. The goal behind ranking the tips is to boost the relevant and truthful ones to the top. If you add helpful tips about your location using a company page, you can share your strengths and highlight the human side of your business. Leaving a tip about your famous secret sauce, your employee of the month, or the most convenient parking location are all examples of how you can help your customers get the most value from your Foursquare presence.

Let Users Know they can Check-In | Integrate Foursquare into your website and social media profiles by adding the plugins and buttons below.Using Foursquare to Enhance Exposure | Foursquare for Business Doing this is the best way to connect your audiences and boost your following. The unique aspect of Foursquare is that it’s connecting your actions in the real world to your actions online. Don’t forget to leverage calls to action at your physical locations in order to

Use Foursquare to Enhance Exposure | Foursquare for Business

encourage, communicate and support your company’s presence on Foursquare.Be sure to display window stickers or signs to remind people to check in at your business. Reminding your customers to use Foursquare will help drive them into your place of business more often, leave tips, and become more active with your company on the platform.

One of the main reasons people do not use the apps they’ve downloaded is because they forget. Dozens of apps wax and wane; they get our attention for a while, and then like our winter wardrobes, we get rid of them to make space for something new (well in California at least). But Foursquare offers a one-of-a-kind ingenuity, and its developers are constantly updating and adding new features to the service. Every business should be using this mobile app in order to build a loyal client base that will work with you to increase your presence and profit.

By Sasha Novikov | Creatine Marketing

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What Your Startup Should Be Sharing on Social Media

Humanize Your Business by Sharing the Right Content—

I’m not even going to start by asking if you’re using social media to promote your startup, that should be a given. But what about strategy? Are you standing out, while staying true to your mission statements, goals, and personality? Why not go simple and self-brand? This will help advance product recognition and general brand awareness, create connections, build a reputation, and eventually reach your target audience.

However, I am consistently hearing that many companies are concerned about drowning in a sea of content, so I’ve compiled a few tips to aid you in creating and sharing material that will make your business stand out.

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Make it Personal

The anonymity of the world-wide-web allows many people to lurk in the shadows, hiding behind a profile pictures and a status. This isn’t the Wizard of Oz; we are ready to find out who’s behind the curtain. Users want a peek into your personal life, and it’s important to show your followers that you’re no different than they are. You may have children; you probably take trips, you wait in lines, and take pictures of your food—just like they do. Posting pictures that offer your fans some insight into your business—personal and professional– is a great promotional strategy.

Odds are, You’re not Perfect

It isn’t easy to start a new business. It is trial and error every day, and demonstrating what works for you and what doesn’t can be very insightful to aspiring entrepreneurs. Swallow your pride, and remember that it’s admirable to divulge the mistakes that you’ve made along the way. Those experiences are relatable, and even though it may be difficult to admit your blunders, showing how you’ve learned from them is a sign of growth.

What your Startup Should be Sharing on Social MediaOpen a dialogue in which you and your fans, followers, and friends are able to discuss your experiences in order to overcome and work through their own obstacles. Be honest about what you may have done wrong, what could be done better, and how you resolved the issue or attempted a new approach. Create a safe environment in which ideas are shared; where other industry professionals and individuals can communicate and learn from one another.

If You’re Interested, So are We

Read, share, read, share, read, share—it has become as natural to us as breathing in and out. Keep this in mind,anyone can write an article and throw it up online; links are ubiquitous and if you’re posting too many, people will start to ignore you—just like they ignore your links. Unfortunately a simple repost isn’t showcasing the content, or you, in the best way possible. If you find an interesting article, video, or link you think is worth sharing, copying and pasting the title won’t help establish you as an expert. Try contributing your own opinion. When you add a quote or reference of your own, it helps to differentiate you as an industry leader and trusted source of information, not just another voice in the crowd.

Visual Creatures
In 1996, Bill Gates said, “Content is King,” and the quote has become one of the single most overused and misapplied phrases in commercial Internet history. Humor me here, but I think, that seventeen years later, it’s finally time to retire the saying. I’m not saying you need to drag all of your brilliant Word documents into the recycling bin, but you should consider mixing it up with some graphics and videos.

Human beings are highly visual creatures, which explains the exponential success of social media platforms like Vine, Instagram, and Pinterest. Visuals are a powerful way to show, not just tell people about your brand and personal story. Share interesting and unique photos of your staff and coworkers, events that you’re attending, or projects your team is working on. Personal photos help your followers get to know you, but don’t over do it; there is a fine line between your personal and your business networks—potential clients do not want to see photos of your drunken escapades (even if they are hilarious to the rest of us).

Words of Wisdom

Whether they comes from Shakespeare, your grandmother, your pastor, or Lady Gaga—when you come across some words of wisdom, share them, tweet them, pin them, and Instagram them. Everyone loves a good quote, and fans will usually participate somehow when you post one, either by “liking” what you’ve shared, or sharing it somewhere else. Also, many insights can be summed up in a sentence, which will help you introduce and expose others to a whole new interesting world they have yet to discover.

What Do you Do all Day?

Creatine Marketing

Create a Space for Constructive Criticism

Piggybacking off the last point, I want to reiterate the importance of using social media to receive feedback on every single stage of your product life. At the starting line, your social networks will validate your ideas—or show you where they could use improvement. Once your product is launched, the platforms can be used as a low-cost promotional tool. Don’t refrain from talking about your product, but please don’t let it be the only thing you talk about. Find a balance between your promotional and your conversational, or personal posts. Share the information that is relevant to the feedback you’d like to receive without exposing your followers to all the strategy and information you’ve gathered along the years.

Jokes and Memes

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSXHND7xFos?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent%5D

Viral content is social media gold. Memes are fun, light-hearted, and human. They are created by other Internet users, and are often right on the pulse of what is trending and popular online. You can even create some yourself to suit your own needs, but again, it’s important to strike a balance. When you are timely and selective with jokes and memes, it testifies to your awesome sense of humor and to the fact that you don’t live in a world of your own. I would just suggest refraining from the use of political or disrespectful content so people don’t get the wrong idea of who you are.

In the end, when it comes to social media, there’s no magic potion. Just try a little of everything until you figure out what works best for you—and then write about it! Ultimately, the more time you invest in discovering and sharing relevant stuff, the better the outcome and the more likely you, and your startup, are to succeed.

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The Conscious Commander, The Modern Manager, The Diplomatic Director

How You can Mold Employees Without Offending or Creating Resentment

The Conscious Commander, The Modern Manager, The Diplomatic DirectorWhether you run a Fortune 500 company, own a local coffee shop, coach little league, or hold a respected position in your community—being a leader sometimes means you have to correct and guide the people you are in charge of. But how can you encourage the behavior that you desire without offending people or arousing animosity? Also, are there ways to get your employees or friends to do what you want, need, and expect without attacking their ideas and damaging your relationship?

In 1936, Dale Carnegie wrote and published a book called How to Win Friends and Influence People; it quickly became a best seller and is still popular amongst business leaders and communications specialists. The book is packed with advice and short stories that are meant to help foster successful communication in the office and in life outside of work as well. I want to focus on Part Four, where Carnegie teaches us how to speak to others respectfully, how to manage a group of people tactfully and honestly, and how to improve work ethic and stimulate enthusiasm for any project.

1. Begin with praise and honest appreciation|

Be constructive and diplomatic. If you notice your employees could be doing something better, start by pointing out what he or she is doing well—then get to the areas that require improvement. As Carnegie puts it, “Beginning with praise is like the dentist who begins his work with Novocain. The patient still gets a drilling, but the Novocain is pain killing. A condemnation is easier to hear when preceded by a compliment.

2. Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly |

Charles Schwab was passing through one of his steel mills one day at noon when he came across some of his employees smoking. Immediately above their heads was a sign that said “No Smoking.” Did Schwab point to the sign and say, “Can’t you read? Oh, no not Schwab. He walked over to the men, handed each one a cigar, and said, “I’ll appreciate it, boys, if you will smoke these on the outside.” They knew that he knew that they had broken a rule – and they admired him because he said nothing about it and gave them a little present and made them feel important. It’s hard to keep from respecting and appreciating a boss like that.

Simply changing one three-letter word can often spell the difference between failure and success in changing an employee’s behavior without arousing bitter feelings. Many peopleThe Conscious Commander, The Modern Manager, The Diplomatic Director begin their criticism with sincere praise followed by the word “but” and ending with a critical statement. For example, “Sam, I’m really impressed with your work on this presentation, but if you had worked harder on the last part, it might’ve made a stronger impression.”

In this case, Sam might feel encouraged until he hears the word, “but”. He might question the sincerity of the original praise. This could be easily overcome by changing the word “but” to the word “and.” “Sam, I’m really impressed with your work on this presentation, and with some more focus on the ending, it will be that much stronger.”

Calling attention to one’s mistakes indirectly works wonders with sensitive people who may resent bitterly any direct criticism.

3. Ask questions instead of giving direct orders |

No one feels comfortable taking orders from a barking, power hungry, boss—or even a sweet, calm one for that matter. Try giving suggestions, rather than demands. Instead of, “Do this or Do that,” or “Don’t do this or don’t do that,” try, “you might consider this,” or “do you think that would work?” Always give people the opportunity to do things for themselves—that way they can learn the proper ways to complete tasks and can learn from their mistakes.

A technique like this makes it easier for a person to correct his or her errors and can save a person’s pride. It makes an employee feel important and encourages cooperation instead of rebellion. Resentment caused by a brash order may last a long time—even if the order was given to correct an obviously bad situation.

Asking questions not only makes an order more palatable, it often stimulates the creativity of the person or people whom you ask. People are more likely to accept an order if they have had a part in the decision that caused the order to be issued.

4. Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to |

What are your options when a person who has been a stellar employee begins to turn in work that is under par? You can fire him or her− but that is only a temporary solution. You can berate the worker, but this will definitely incite resentments. The average person can be led readily if you have his or her respect and if you show that you respect that person for some kind of ability.

If you want to improve a person in a certain area, act as though that particular trait were already one of his of her outstanding characteristics. Assume and state openly that other people have the virtue you want them to develop. Give them a fine reputation to live up to, and they will make extraordinary efforts in order not to leave you dissatisfied.

5. Make the other person happy about doing the things you suggest |

Good leaderThere are many tasks that will seem banal, difficult, or pointless to your employees− but you are the leader, and you have a method. Sometimes by making something seem like an honor, your employee will feel like he or she is doing you a favor− and that feeling of importance will make for wonderful motivation. But be sincere; do not promise anything that you cannot deliver. Forget about the benefits to yourself and concentrate on the benefits to the other person.

Make clear exactly what you want the other person to do, but remember to be empathetic− ask yourself, “what is it the other person really wants?” Consider the benefits that person will receive from doing what you suggest and match those benefits to the other person’s wants.

Finally, when you make your request, put it in a form that will convey to the other person the idea that he or she will personally benefit. You could give a curt order like this: “John, we have customers coming in tomorrow and I need the stockroom cleaned out. So sweep it out, put the stock in neat piles on the shelves and polish the counter.”

Or we could express the same idea by showing John the benefits he will get from doing the task: “John, we have a job that should be completed right away. If it is done now, we won’t be faced with it later. I am bringing some customers in tomorrow to show our facilities. I would like to show them the stockroom, but it is in poor shape. If you could sweep it out, put the stock in neat piles on the shelves, and polish the counter, it would make us look efficient and you will have done your part to provide a good company image.”

He might not be thrilled to complete this job either way, but he will feel better than if you hadn’t pointed out the benefits and just demanded he complete the task. Assuming you know your employees take pride in their work and are interested in contributing to the company image, they will be more likely to be cooperative.

It is naive to believe that you’ll always get a positive reaction from the people you lead when you use these approaches, but research and experience have shown that individuals and groups will be more likely to work with you and not against you if you use these principles. And, honestly, even if you increase your successes by a mere 10 percent, you have become 10 percent more effective as a leader than you were before – and that is your benefit.

By Sasha Novikov, Published on Jeff Pulvino’s blog.

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What is a “meme”? | Trends in Social Media

What is a "Meme"? [New Trends in Social Media]I’ve just spent the last several hours scouring the Internet for silly images, but unlike the rest of you who have a passion for digital culture, I get to claim this time spent in the name of research.

Most of you know what a “meme” (pronounced like team) is, you’ve been bombarded with them online, and even though you may not recognize the term—you’ve seen the phenomenon. A “meme” is a socially transmitted cultural symbol or idea. It can appear as an image, phrase, video, or some combination of those—they criticize, highlight, or generally represent an element of our culture that is passed from one individual to another by means of imitation. With the success of the web and social networking as an information dissemination tool over the last twenty years, memes have become a commonality on the Internet, but they’ve existed for decades even without the help of Willy Wonka, the Grumpy Cat, or Ryan Gosling.

A meme behaves kind of like a virus; it travels quickly from person to person but transmits an idea or an opinion rather than a living organism. That is where we arrive at the term “viral” when describing a video, image, or story that receives a lot of attention online, in a short amount of time.
What is a "Meme"? [New Trends in Social Media]Memes can either create new trends in social media, or highlight existing trends in order to mock them. Historically, memes were more discrete. Usually traveling by word of mouth, a meme could manifest as a mesmerizing story, an anecdote, a joke, or an expression of speech. With the aid of email, instant messaging, link sharing, Facebook, Twitter,Pinterest, etc. memes now travel instantly via social networking. The Internet, by sheer virtue of its instant communication, has brought new life to the way we spread modern memes.

Generally, the concept behind a meme is either really deep, or ridiculously clear. They function to make us think, make us laugh, to help voice our sarcasms, our concerns, our judgments, beliefs, and fears in a popular, accessible, and safe way. Tracking the development, distribution, and transformation of memes, it is obvious that they directly influence modern society and recreate the way Internet users view their lives; memes affect everyone who interacts with social media.

I can send a link to a YouTube video of the “Harlem Shake” to my boss, and the next day, we are in production to create our own version of the wacky dance. If I’m assigned an article with no time to prepare, and look across my office and shout, “Ain’t Nobody got Time for that” everyone in earshot will understand to which video I’m referring. And if I were to show you an image of the Dos Equis “Most Interesting Man in the World,” you would read the words surrounding his head using his accent, his inflections, and it would make perfect sense that, “I don’t always write articles explaining the significance of memes, but when I do, they’re fascinating.”

Memes have become so ubiquitous that they no longer simply exist on the web– they follow us through our daily interactions. It is hard to be a part of mass culture and not encounter a meme. Any given situation can evoke a preexisting image or video—take this Willy Wonka meme, or the Monday Blues as expressed by this grumpy looking cat.

What is a "Meme"? [New Trends in Social Media]

Humorous memes yield the most reach, they are hilarious, and they transmit sentiments that are familiar to most of us. But other memes exist to shed light on cultural feelings that are deep; these memes function as social commentary, and can quickly become controversial which only helps their distribution time.

What is a "Meme"? [New Trends in Social Media]On November 18, 2011 during an Occupy movement demonstration at the University of California, Davis, campus police officers asked students to leave the school and when they refused, Lieutenant John Pike began to pepper spray the peaceful protesters. A photograph of the UC Davis officer in the act of spraying students in the face spread like wild fire across news channels, social media networks, blogs, and websites. Within the week students, protesters, Internet trolls, and people around the world inserted the pepper spray photo into famous works of art and images of popular culture—and just like that, in a matter of days Lt. Pike became one of the most well known memes in 2011.

Following the incident, and the subsequent attention his actions received online, the police
What is a "Meme"? [New Trends in Social Media]chief and two officers were placed on administrative leave. Had there been no one present to take the picture, or had the idea to alter images, like the version of the Creation of Man painting modified to show Pike spraying God in the eyes, never surfaced—would these men have been properly chastised for their extreme abuse of power?

It is only in the past several years that memes have been growing at an exponential rate, which makes them an unmistakably relevant piece of our culture.  They are no longer seen as silly images, but rather as templates for creativity. They are easy to create, and even easier to share; they encourage people to consume information and then reproduce it in new and innovative ways. They can work as advertisements, sarcastic musings, or snarky tips on life. Some memes fight to unveil injustices, to open dialogues about sensitive subjects, or simply to make someone smile on a wearisome Wednesday afternoon.

By: Sasha Novikov, Creatine Marketing

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Creatine Marketing | Newsletter April 2013 Issue

Creatine Marketing | Newsletter April 2013 Issue

With my guidance and few creative inspirations, Creatine’s Senior Graphic Designer Allen was able to create a standardized banner for my newsletter. I will continue to use this banner “Creatine Monthly” for most months, but may consider having another one created for major holidays like Christmas.

I didn’t stray far from the March layout on this one, but I did write all of the content and create the picture strip at the bottom. You’ll never guess how I did it…I’m a bit embarrassed to admit how amateurish the process was.

Since I have very little knowledge of various design and editing softwares like Photoshop for example, I have to make due with the skills I do have. I created that strip using Microsoft Word. I sent the images from Instagram, placed them side-by-side in a Word document, sized them accordingly, and then added lines.

By creating thick black lines I was able to connect the photos in that landscape photo strip way, and then I simply took a screen shot. Then I was able to edit the screen shot in Preview. All of those steps to complete something that probably could’ve been accomplished easily in some other software– but hey, it works for me :)

For May’s newsletter I hope to use a different program that will allow me more freedom in the layout and the design/editing options.

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I Like You; Therefore, I like your Work. [Building Your Reputation]

I Like You; Therefore, I like your Work. [Building Your Reputation]Do you care about being liked? Most of us do. As an adult you eventually adopt the “you win some, you lose some” mentality− but as a businessperson, it is important that people hold positive associations to you and your company so that when they see you or think of you or your brand, it is with a mental smile.

Your reputation follows you, not only when meeting with clients or customers face-to-face, but also on the Internet. At the end of the day, being liked does matter. The way that you are regarded by others can affect your business the same way it can affect your mental and physical health. People who are liked have larger social networks, which, in their personal lives, provide them with more emotional support− and in their professional lives, provide them with increased levels of success.

We all have friends or coworkers who are quick to praise or condemn a particular experience at a restaurant, store, or other establishment using their social media networks. I can admit that I’ve even left a Yelp review or two. How can you, as an individual, ensure that social media has a positive impact on your business? Confident, honest, and engaging business people tend to notice a steady increase of Facebook fans, Twitter followers, or real-life customers.

If people are keen on you, they are more likely to help when you need a favor, for example− promoting your business through word of mouth, or via the web− both courtesies, which hold immeasurable power. When people like what you represent as a person, they are likely to identify with your brand, your ethical foundations, and your goals− and as your business ideals are often rooted strongly in your character, the people that like you as a human will extend those sentiments to your company and show their appreciation− these days, using social media.

Just like with your personal relationships, in your business affairs, simply getting along with people is not the same as being liked or respected. There is a fine balance that needs to be reached between meeting your needs and making sure they are inline with those of another. Whether you are trying to make new friends or solidify business partnerships, these tips will boost your “like” factor− tangible and digital.

  1. Don’t be boastful. Overemphasizing your success comes off as pretentious. No matter how fortunate you are, remember to stay humble. You don’t have to down play every single achievement, but there’s no need to make them overly apparent to everyone, each time you speak. Timing can be very important. If you learn to express your accomplishments in a manor that is nonthreatening, people are less inclined to write you off as arrogant. You can demonstrate that you are a competent person without being a show-off.
  2. Become genuinely interested in others. People can usually recognize someoneI Like You; Therefore, I like your Work. [Building Your Reputation] who is trying too hard to be liked. In fact, the desperation of approval is directly associated with phoniness. Remember, there is no need to put on a false front just to get people to like you. When you show interest in the activities, ambitions, and triumphs of those around you, they will feel appreciated and acknowledged. Not to mention, you may be able to learn something new. Be a good listener, ask plenty of questions, and encourage others to talk about themselves. When they bring up something you find interesting or a mutual passion you should begin a deeper conversation on that topic because it will make the other person feel important. But be sincere, do not interrupt when a person is speaking to you− there will be an appropriate moment for you to share your own stories and experiences, but not at the expense of someone who believes you are listening to what they are saying.
  3. If you are positive, your presence is positive. People can only stand a “Debbie Downer” in moderation. They are difficult to befriend because they make us uneasy. If you are overly critical, even your closest friends will find you unpleasant to be around. It’s fine to offer constructive assessments, but be ready to provide several solutions or ideas to resolve the issues you point out. What good is a cynic with no better cause? Most people do not enjoy reading the status updates of that one friend who is always whining and complaining− and that woe-is-me attitude does not translate well in the business world either.
  4. Smiling, it’s a simple salutation! Maybe my obnoxious alliteration will help you keep this one stored in the memory bank. A smile is like a decorative, “Welcome, I’m friendly” banner− on your face. It’s your first chance to invite someone into an interaction with you. Not only do you seem more open and nice, but you also feel better on the inside, and that is a proven formula for gaining people’s affections.
  5. Leave the judging to the American Idol panel. You don’t need to build your own reputation on the failings of others. Instead, let your own stellar qualities stand for themselves. When you root for the success of your coworkers, friends, or family, they will return the support. As a leader in your community, business, or social circle you need to accept and appreciate those around you− quirks and all.

I Like You; Therefore, I like your Work. [Building Your Reputation]In an age where every single opinion is tweeted and then retweeted, it is crucial to maintain a positive reputation in your personal life because that will echo in your professional decisions. This is especially true if you’re company is using social media in business because your character must remain completely transparent in order for you and your business to be perceived as authentic.

In reality, no matter what you do, what you say or look like, how you behave, dress, or what you believe− some people will like you and others won’t. But as a business leader, you need to increase your odds by following the methods in this article and working even harder to be reachable as well. Connect with others on a one to one basis by allowing them to penetrate your private bubble. Letting people get to know you, being nice, and caring about others− whether about their personal or professional endeavors− will ensure the same feelings from them in return.

By Sasha Novikov, Creatine Marketing

If you liked that article, you might also enjoy this

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Kickstarter [Using Social Media Effectively to Follow Your Dreams]

Kistarter [Using Social Media Effectively to Follow Your Dreams]Kickstarter is the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects. The company was founded in 2009 and through the website, individuals or businesses are able to raise money via crowd funding. Basically, as long as you have a fundraising idea, Kickstarter provides the tools you need to bring your project to fruition.

The website has connected entrepreneurs with financial backers on a diverse array of endeavors including: charities, indie films, music, stage shows and comics, video video games, and food-related projects–among hundreds of others. A person or group of people create an event, product, or service and advertise it on Kickstarter, then regular people can donate money—as little as one dollar, or as high as you can imagine. Once the project reaches its dollar-amount goal, the people who invested will receive thanks, maybe a t-shirt, the initial product their funds helped create, or perhaps even dinner with its inventor.

This community based encouragement system has sparked innovation and creativity worldwide. By helping people gather money from the public, this service offers anyone with a imaginative new idea the opportunity to circumvent traditional avenues of seeking out investment—which can be tedious and time consuming— without struggling to come up with the money needed to kick start a project.

Kistarter [Using Social Media Effectively to Follow Your Dreams]Project creators choose a deadline and a minimum income goal, and if this goal isn’t met by the deadline—no funds are collected. In this way, the system still requires creators to market their idea by producing interesting commercials and speaking about why their idea is necessary, interesting—or worth the $5,000 they’re asking for.

In 2012, over two million people pledged a total of $319,786,629 and successfully funded a little over eighteen thousand projects. That means that, on average, backers were pledging about $606.76 per minute, and seventeen projects raised $1million or more.

In this article, I want to focus on two projects that struck me as particularly remarkable and unique. Neither are tangible products, but both are life changing for their creators. The first venture is called Friend Request: Accepted—by photographer Ty Morin, and the second is called Twinsters (combining the words twin and sisters) started by Samantha Futerman.

Friend Request: Accepted

Kistarter [Using Social Media Effectively to Follow Your Dreams]

Ty Morin, a Connecticut based photographer, is setting out to locate and get to know every single one of his Facebook friends… all 788 of them. He will spend the next few years traveling all over the world, seeking out his “friends” and photographing them doing something they are passionate about—while filming the entire process.

Morin states that at least half of those 788 people, he’s never even spoken to, so this project will give him the chance to connect and reconnect with people. Rather than hiding behind the computer screens, he will be using social media effectively to make genuine real-life, human connections.

His idea isn’t to just gather people together for a group photo—rather he wants to sit down with each individual person and be witness to his or her passion, whether that is a project, piece of music, artistic endeavor, or new baby. He will be using a vintage 8×10 camera so each portrait will take about an hour to complete. This method will be frustrating Morin admits, but it will give him a chance to spend time with the people he’s meeting.

Morin initially set a $5,000 goal to be used towards film, darkroom chemicals, travel expenses, transportation, and fuel. He enticed big spenders to pledge $5,000 or more by stating that he will personally add the backer on Facebook, and show up to take his or her portrait with his camera—so this backer would appear in the film, receive a copy of it, and have their name in the credits. Someone took the bait. Two people pledged $500 or more—another two pledged $250 or more, and so on.

The deadline to pledge came and went. By March 26, when people were no longer able to contribute, Morin had raised $14,166—almost ten thousand dollars more than he had planned to receive. Morin promises each backer his or her name in his film, which will be completed sometime within the next 5 years.

Twinsters

On February 21, 2013, Samantha Futerman, an actor living in LA, received a private message via Facebook from a random stranger, Anais Bordier. Little did Samantha know that reading the message would dramatically change her life.

Anais, a French fashion design student living in London, noticed a very familiar face starting back at her from a YouTube video she had watched featuring Samantha. Her friends pestered her about the resemblance, but without access to a name or any other information, Anais left it to coincidence and lived her life, but with a lingering curiously always there in the back of her mind.

Earlier this year, however, when the film 21 and Over hit theaters, featuring Samantha again, Anais could no longer leave the phenomenon unexplored. This actress shared an identical, carbon copy or her face—and after a few late night social media stalking sessions, the young French girl—born on November 19, 1987 and adopted shortly after—read the same exact story on Samantha’s Facebook page. Both girls were born in Seoul, South Korea—on the same day in the same year—and both adopted out to different families. Once Anais realized that it was possible that Samantha was her biological twin sister, she reached out to her via Twitter and Facebook.  Kistarter [Using Social Media Effectively to Follow Your Dreams]

The girls have been communicating via Skype, Facebook,Twitter, etc. for months now, and their goal is to create a full-length documentary that follows both girls as they prepare to meet in person for the first time. They will document their unique experiences through a series of blogs, video journal posts, and digital conversations. They hope to hire a film and production crew to follow them as they travel through Europe and the United States learning about each other’s different countries and meeting one another’s families.

They also hope to raise enough money to conduct a DNA test in order to officially confirm their relationship—although both girls say they already know the truth in their hearts and have created a bond unlike any other they’ve ever had.

With 854 backers, the girls have surpassed their initial request for $30,000 by over five thousand dollars—and they still have 13 days in their campaign. Some incentives the girls are offering their supporters include digital downloads of the completed film, t-shirts designed by Anais, tickets to the premiere in either LA or London followed by dinner with the twins, and even executive producer credits!

Once again, I am amazed and astounded by social media’s ability to bring communities and individuals together. Whether you are starting a project using Kickstarter, or helping someone’s dreams come true—this service is one of the most innovative tools ever designed.

As an individual or businessperson, you can take an idea from its infancy and watch it become a reality. Kickstarter is the best friend of entrepreneurs and creative souls all over the world.

Let this link lead you to more amazing Kickstarter projects, inspiring stories, and fun marketing ideas.

By Sasha Novikov

Also Check out:

Social Media Fast: Unplug Without Feeling Disconnected

or

Engage Your Classroom | Social Media and Education

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Social Media Fast: Unplug without Feeling Disconnected

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We are nearing the end of the Lenten season, where millions of Americans sacrifice one or more of their indulgences for about forty days and forty nights. Most of my friends and coworkers have given up the usual, carbs, sweets, or sodas—but I have others that have attempted the impossible—a 40-day social media fast.

I hear you skeptics out there; you think this idea is brilliant, a way to reconnect with the tangible world around us rather than dedicating hours to the Internet time suck. I have to admit, a part of me agrees—it’s a good idea to unplug every now and then. But here at Creatine, we understand that maintaining a social presence for your business is very different than logging into Facebook to chat with your friends.

There is nothing wrong with you, or your social media management team, stepping away from being online, however, you can’t simply ignore your company’s social networks altogether. If the circumstances arise, and you decide you need to take a break from blogging, tweeting, and sharing—but you know that you cannot completely leave your followers in the dark, create a strategy that aids you in making the most of your time while you’re connected.

Construct a streamlined approach to shorten the amount of time you spend at your computer by concentrating on managing six major social networks. Your channel mix may vary from the ones I cover in this article, but you should still isolate a few specific activities for your networks and set yourself a time limit for each one.

twitter Twitter: 10 minutes

Take a few moments once or twice a day to respond to any tweets that may have been directed your way, nothing lengthy, just a quick acknowledgement of your gratitude.

Continue by scheduling out tweets for the next week to promote any recent content, current and upcoming events, or any news that you feel must be shared immediately. The act of automating tweets has caught some heat lately, but remember, you aren’t an individual who has the time to update Twitter with every single thought in your mind; you are running a business and automation is key to productivity, efficiency, and consistency. Schedule out some funny jokes, an interesting quote, or a statistic and your followers aren’t frustrated—they are aware of your presence and perhaps even comforted in the change of pace. Additionally, your automation tool allows you to see and revisit any scheduled tweets in one place—this is convenient and dynamic because if you realize you need to make a change, you have that opportunity.

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Use the remaining minutes to share the content of others in your industry to help build relationships. Retweet interesting articles, images, or ideas—don’t go nuts here, scrolling through your feed for an hour is over doing it. Stay focused so you can remain dedicated to your fast.

facebook Facebook: 6 minutes

A business has to utilize Facebook the same way a normal human might. Over-posting is obnoxious, and posting the same exact content every time becomes monotonous. Because Twitter is a live-feed it is important to update more frequently so your content isn’t obscured by other information—but on Facebook this just isn’t a concern. If you post every day, reducing your activity will not necessarily hurt your campaign. But disappearing completely isn’t an option either.

Schedule out some core updates, like with Twitter, about new content or upcoming events. Focus on producing timeless content. Anything that is highly visual will perform the best—share some behind-the-scenes images of your staff caught in the act of performing their work, share a trending and relevant YouTube video, or ask a question to which your audience can respond.

Take a minute or two to respond to any comments on your wall or on your content, and spend about one minute liking the content of your partners, clients, and thought leaders in your industry. Then it is time to move on to the next network.

linkedin Linked In: 6 minutes

Linked In offers you the opportunity to share your more professional content. Post an article or two in your industry specific groups and engage in any notable discussions. Perhaps take a few minutes to pose your own discussion questions in order to start a dialogue of your own. Let the conversation build and then subside; only jump back in if other questions are directed exclusively to your company. Otherwise, let people chat and respond to one another and check back in a few days to gather any information or to reengage.

pinterest Pinterest: 4 minutes

PInterest Meme

Alright, I know I’m pushing it with a suggested four minute time limit. I have never been able to sit on Pinterest for less than an hour, but it’s time we all restrain ourselves. Pinterest can be one of the most useful social media marketing tools, or it can suck you into its wonderfully fascinating black hole of random content. Create what I call a mind-anchor before delving into this network. Concentrate on the tasks at hand, and remember—all of the recipes, exercise tips, crafting ideas, and cat pictures will be there next week too.

Take two minutes to pin any recent internal or external content and obviously make sure there is some form of graphic to accompany it, considering the platform. If you want to highlight your blog article, pin the image. Also you should search for some infographics, staff, or client photos. Then take the final two minutes to engage with your recent pinners. Return the favor by repining an image they have contributed, following one of their boards, or just leaving a comment that thanks them. Saying thanks on a new social channel can be extra engaging.

google_plus Google +: 2 minutes

For now, Google+ demands less attention than all of our other social networks. This may be changing quickly, but in the mean time—be where your friends and followers are and dedicate more of your time there, but do not forget the underdogs and up-and-comers.

Share your recent content on your page and use your circles to segment our only the most relevant audience. Google+ is a fantastic forum for longer posts like blogs and news articles.

Your audience on Google+ is receptive to longer form content like engaging questions and discussions. Perhaps you could try to facilitate a dialogue between your customers about certain products or services you offer.

instagram Instagram: 2 minutes

Instgram offers your business a chance to be social, relevant, quirky, and fun all while marketing for your business and building your brand. You only have two minutes here, so make the time count by taking your fans behind the scenes with pictures of your staff, events, and office space.

Offer your followers a deeper and more personal look into the personality of your company. You can highlight each staff member and explain some of their responsibilities and roles; you can snap images of work and creative spaces, or banners and logos.

If you are out if ideas for pictures, inspire your followers with motivational or relevant quotes in a stylized format. Those images tend to receive a lot of attention on Instagram.

So there is a short breakdown about how to rock your social media in 30 minutes; enabling some down time without becoming a ghost. Remember that disconnecting is healthy, but your customers and followers may be depending on you for news, deals, and content. Rather than dedicating each and every day to your social media marketing campaign, learn to use your time wisely and efficiently in order to build a clean, but solid and strong presence for your business. Sometimes taking some time off is just what we need to clear our heads—that works for social media the same way it works for any other responsibility.

By Sasha Novikov

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Creatine Marketing | Newsletter March 2013 Issue

Creatine Marketing | Newsletter March 2013 Issue

This month it was my responsibility to create the newsletter template in SNAP. I also chose all of the images, created the banned with photos I took myself, and wrote all of the content in this particular issue of Creatine Marketing’s newsletter. 

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Through the Social Media Grape “Vine” | Popular Mobile Apps

vine-app-for-iphoneEarlier this year Twitter released a new mobile application called Vine. The software lets users add 6-second videos to their tweets or Facebook updates. You simply point your mobile device, (you can call out “ACTION!” If you’d like), touch the screen and the app records the scene.

What makes Vine different, however, is the ability to stop and start the recording instantly. You just lift your finger, and the recording stops—you touch it, and it begins again, right where you left off. You can create frame-by-frame animations, montages, or (really) short films.

Vine is already one of Apple’s most popular mobile apps; users are increasing every day— and with a few creative, yet simple ideas, you can enliven your Twitter feed, entertain clients and followers, and have fun as an amateur filmmaker. Vine offers individual tweeters an opportunity to catch their cats doing funny things, and professional tweeters a fresh and innovative new tool for their social media campaign! It’s a win-win.

Images really catch our attention, and moving images—well that is just a bonus. With six whole seconds you can broadcast a message from your company, include your logo, showcase some recent projects or products, invite your followers to suggest ideas for clips, or personalize your brand with a video of your employees performing a simple action—like we have in this Vine video!

Another great idea is to ask your customers to wear your logo, or use your product, record themselves, and submit the videos to your marketing team. You can make it a friendly competition, and feature your favorite videos via social media—or you could just compile the videos into a longer-form advertisement. Hold contests where you encourage your consumers to create videos that

help with brand recognition and visibility, and simultaneously make them an equal part of the process they will remain interested in your business.

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Use Vine to create short instructional, how-to videos for services or products that are perhaps a little confusing. Additionally, you can entice your followers with short 6-second teaser ads of a longer video that you plan to release in the future.

Perhaps this is your opportunity to be a little silly as a company. Turn your smartphone into a candid camera situation. Sneak up on employees and catch them texting or checking their Facebook page. Surprise people out on the street or in your store by asking them questions about your brand, food, or service. Use your imagination to create hilarious and memorable clips, because those are the ones that are the most popular—and wouldn’t you like to be the one who records the next viral video?

But be careful, because Vine is enticing and easy to use. Don’t be tempted to upload a dozen videos a day. Think twice before uploading a collection of poorly thought-out videos. Just like any other social networking platform, you want to seem organic, original, and human. If you are bombarding your Twitter followers with 6-second ads, do not be surprised if your engagement decreases and you’re hit with some bad publicity. Reward customers for their click by offering fun and creative videos so they come away with a positive image of your brand.

By Sasha Novikov

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Engage Your Classroom | Social Media and Education

Social Media and EducationSocial networking tools aren’t just for advertising, flirting, and making us jealous of the dessert you’re eating. The evolving world of Internet communication—blogs, podcasts, tags, file sharing—offers students radically new ways to research, create, and learn. Computers and tablets should not be used solely as glorified workbooks, teachers should be embracing networking because certain platforms have the ability to transform and improve education.

It seems obvious, right? Social media allows people to come together around an idea or topic of interest, to discuss that topic, to lead and follow debates, to add new information, to share existing information, and the data can be shared all over the world—why isn’t every single classroom utilizing these resources? Bloggers write detailed pieces about Shakespeare, Greek history, advancements in microbiology, and grammar. An instructor could use this information in his or her classroom and encourage students to leave comments, ask questions, or even write their own articles. We live in a social world, and it is crucial that we teach students how to be effective collaborators in that world, how to interact with other people, how to be engaged in current events, and how to be well-informed citizens. And, here’s the kicker; it’s free. Even in low-income communities, one computer and a projector in each classroom can offer unlimited educational potential.

Teachers all over the United States have already attempted to incorporate social media into their teaching strategies. Here are a few examples of how three movements, using social networking, are making significant impacts in the lives of students and working to change the face of education by bringing it into the twenty first century.

The Buffelgrass Shall Perish Facebook “Fan Page”Social Media and Education

In Tucson, Arizona a science teacher at a local middle school called upon his eighth grade class to pick a problem in their local community, and solve it. The students converged and came to a consensus. Buffelgrass is a weed that grows rapidly, is flame resistant, and is being imported by some states as a cheap alternative to control erosion and as cattle feed. This grass is a menace; it has the shelf like of a Twinkie, and where it’s left to spread, it destroys the natural ecosystem by hording all the water and depleting the soil of nutrients.

The students were sure they needed to educate the community about the dangers of this plant, and began by creating a Facebook page devoted to uncovering the horrors of its behavior. They also created a YouTube video to promote their cause, and used the Facebook page to update the world on their progress.

Using the networking tools of their generation, they became advocates for their town and spread their message to politicians, farmers, other schools, and parents.

Digital Youth Network: Remix World

Screen shot of Digital Youth Network Webpage

In Chicago, the Digital Youth Network runs a private website called Remix World, which emulates popular online social networks like Facebook and MySpace. Students create profiles and include images, profile information, and links to their friends’ pages. They use this platform to post digital artwork, videos, and other creative work to their pages, and then they interact with other users. They can comment on the work of their friends and participate in discussions with other users through the Remix World forums.

By providing these students with a safe space to share their work and ideas, Remix World allows them to solicit feedback and offer constrictive criticism—some have even found the process so enriching that they have continued to post their work on public sites, like YouTube. Children ranging from middle school age to seventeen years old are posting graphic art, original videos, and computer games.

When students are motivated to create work that they can share online, it ignites an independent learning cycle driven by their ideas and energized by responses from peers. Through trial and error, they are able to add new media skills to their repertoire. These innovative skills are critical when looking for work after high school or college, and the activity helps to stimulate the mind.

The Khan Academy

The Khan Academy is a “not-for-profit organization with the goal of changing education for the better by providing a free world-class education for anyone, anywhere.” The academy offers an extensive YouTube video library that includes thorough lessons in all levels of mathematics, science and economics, computer science, history, civics, art history, SAT prep, and more. The website also includes interactive challenges and assessments that are available to students, teachers, home-schoolers, adults returning to the classroom, and pretty much anyone with access to the Internet who is looking for a quick brush up on biology.

Khan Academy- Math Problem Screen ShotThe system is customizable to suit each individual student’s needs, and the lessons are self-paced—so unlike a live classroom, where if you day dream and miss the crucial part of a lecture, you panic—when using the Kahn videos, you can rewind the material multiple times until it makes perfect sense. Some teachers will assign Kahn lectures to their students, and use class time to go into detail on that lesson. They let students work problems out, or ask questions in order to clarify ideas—so rather than teaching a topic at one pace, and hoping every student keeps up, the teacher lets the student learn at his or her pace and then uses class time to let students put the lessons into action.

The Academy’s content is used in classrooms and by individuals in over 20 languages around the world. More than 920,000,000 interactive math problems have been solved, and the videos have been viewed over 225,000,000 times. This virtual classroom offers a high quality education to students all over the globe. Even Bill Gates uses this software when teaching his children.

This project, and others like it, is possible because of the ubiquitous power of social media. YouTube enables the founders of the Kahn Project to share university quality knowledge, for free, with eager minds all around the world. Instructors are able to share groundbreaking research with their students, and students are able to share their work with others using Facebook, Twitter, Delicious, Reddit, YouTube, and Pinterest, just to name a few. In this way, social media has been repurposed—it has evolved from being solely a means of chatting and following, into a remarkable tool that fosters immeasurable advances education.

By Sasha Novikov, Creatine Marketing

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Tips for Protecting your Privacy Online

Tips to Protecting your Privacy OnlineCyber privacy is a hot topic in the media right now. Millions of Americans fear that their personal information is at risk, and the scary thing is, they aren’t wrong. If multinational corporations like Apple, Twitter, Facebook and Evernote cannot deter hackers, perhaps that means we all need another lesson in protecting our private information online. When 250,000 Twitter accounts are hacked it is frightening news because that means 250,000 passwords are now potentially public information. And anyone who has had their credit card information stolen via the internet, knows how a situation like that can turn your entire world upside down.

When a company that has access to your private information is attacked by malware, there is very little you can do to protect yourself in that instant. That is why it is wise to be proactive about your online identity. Stay vigilant by updating your passwords regularly, be discreet about the information you offer to any website, and be wary of which sites and people you trust.  While you shouldn’t be scared to death of using useful ecommerce websites like Amazon or Etsy, you should be prepared to invest time into shielding yourself while doing it. If you are one of the 100 million American consumers that shop online, these tips to protect your online persona can be a real cyber-life saver.

Tips to Protecting your Privacy Online

  1. Passwords: Change them from time to time. Do not post on your Facebook wall or Twitter feed anything that may give them away, like your birthdate, pet’s name, or the street you grew up on. In fact, if your passwords are that simple, you are asking for trouble. Your passwords should be some what complicated, random, and difficult to guess. Include capital and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Sometimes using a word or phrase you pluck out of thin air, is smarter than choosing your child’s name. Create different passwords for every site you use, your email, bank, Facebook, Ebay, etc. Also, there are applications available via mobile device, like Password Keeper, that can store and protect all of your digital passwords.
  2. Cookies: Mmm Chocolate chip, these sound harmless? Wrong, Block them! When you surf the Internet, hundreds of data points are collected by the sites you visit. These pieces of information, referred to as cookies, are stored and complied into your “digital profile,” which is then sold without your consent to companies around the world. Ever wonder why adds that seem to perfectly cater to your every want and need bombard the margins of each webpage you visit? Block cookies. Yes, you may have to enter passwords more often, but it’s a smarter way to peruse the web.
  3. Familiar Emails: Be cautious. There is a new trend in phishing scams, which use the name or handle of someone very familiar to you. The email may appear to be from your mother, your boss, your university, or your cable provider but when you open it, the message asks for your social security number or credit card information. DO NOT open attachments from these emails, do not reply, do not download any information from that email, and forward it to spam@uce.gov.
  4. Geo-Location: Seems awesome, but be wary. First of all, this is another way for Tips to Protecting your Privacy Onlinecompanies to track your purchasing habits. If you check into Taco Bell three times a week, you can expect advertisers to notice and fill your newsfeeds and web-surfing experience with advertisements for Mexican food, and who knows, possibly weight management products. You may think it’s cool to let all of your friends know where you are at every second of your day, but you are also letting people know that you probably ARE NOT at home- guarding all of your valuable possessions. Never publically post that you will be leaving your home unattended for days or weeks, unless you are positive that your home security is more dependable than your cyber security
  5. Shred, Shred, Shred: Before tossing out credit-card offers, billing statements, or any other hard copies that arrive to your house with your information—rip them up into tiny microscopic, unreadable, irreparable, pieces.
  6. Privacy Settings: Always become very familiar with the privacy settings of each website you choose to subscribe to. If you become a member of a site, usually that page requires some information—make sure that material is protected. Especially on social networks, max out your privacy settings.
  7. Tips to Protecting your Privacy OnlineFree WiFi: Is like a shining beacon in a dark, disconnected world! Sometimes I choose my hangout spots based on whether or not this service is offered to me. But did youknow, that an Internet connection without password protection opens your device up to hackers? For example, if I am sitting at a Starbucks, working on my screenplay so that everyone can see how busy I am, while simultaneously surfing the web—another user on that network, depending on his or her hacking savvy, can access any information that is stored in my computer. If you have a wireless router at home, set a password and enable the encryption to scramble the data you send online. Do not let everyone in your apartment complex hop onto your Internet. You will be paying for a service that they will use for free, they will siphon your bandwidth, which will slow your connection, and while the chances are minimal, someone could gain access to your personal computer.

Most people aren’t even aware of how much information can be found about them with just a few clicks. Search the web frequently by Googling yourself or your friends and family members and make sure to remove yourself from websites that store your private information. If there is an old networking site that you are no longer frequenting, like Myspace for example, go delete your account.

It helps to monitor your banking statements as well; browse for suspicious purchases at least weekly. If you feel like your card details have been stolen, you need to contact your financial institution immediately and report the fraud. They will help you cancel your card and order a new one. Also, place a fraud alert with the three major credit bureaus and put a security freeze on your files. You can even file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.

A physical invasion of privacy, like a home robbery for example, is terrifying and unsettling which is why many families have security systems in place. We offer so much information over the Internet, yet enforcing the same systems of security are often ignored. A digital invasion of your privacy can destroy your credit and leave you financially in limbo until your case is resolved, so take these tips into consideration and protect yourself while surfing the web.

By Sasha Novikov, Creatine Marketing

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Business Blogging

Writing for your business can be challenging. Treading the line between being inappropriate and being dull is not always easy. You want to keep your readers engaged while simultaneously sharing important information about your field or your company and its services or products.  Don’t fret; there are some practices that you can implement to make your posts dynamic and relevant to your brand at the same time.

It’s All About Personality

Make your words stand out by letting your own unique voice shine through. Boring and repetitive content exists all over the Internet. Even if you’re going to say something for the hundredth time, say it with a character that is all your own. Be funny; it is one of the greatest assets any writer has. It puts your reader at ease and is generally more accessible and interesting to read. Use puns, make pertinent and times-related jokes, tell stories—your readers will be absorbed because they can identify with you—who doesn’t love a good anecdote?

Business Blogging

Just because you are writing for your business doesn’t mean your blog has to read like an instructional pamphlet. If you are bored writing your articles, chances are your reader will fall asleep half way through and drool all over his or her keyboard. (Check the comment section for a confusing jumble of letters, numbers, and symbols to see if this has happened). The writing doesn’t have to be stand-up worthy, but colorful language can really jazz up an article about a seemingly tedious subject. Clearly, there is a time and place for humor—but most likely your reader will not be annoyed that you made him laugh. He may be annoyed, however,  if he spent his valuable time reading an article that put him to sleep.

One more note on language—jargon and technical speak are usually confusing and can be off-putting for readers. You may know what you’re talking about, your colleagues may know what you’re talking about, even your mother may know what it is that you’re saying—but there is a good chance your customer might not understand. Evoke simplicity and practice explaining complicated business terms using informal language. Plain-ol’-English is the best way to appeal to a broad audience.

Be Consistent, and Mindful of your Audience

Try and write something down every day. Brainstorm ideas, create vague outlines, and at least once a week dedicate your time to constructing a solid article. You may not be ready to publish every single word you write down, but practice is crucial when writing, just like when playing sports or mastering a musical instrument. Once you start your blog, it pays to stay committed to creating new content—even if your articles aren’t all gems, keep in mind that it takes 50 posts for Google to index you, so if you stop after two or three, you wont drive as much search traffic to your blog or webpage.

Business Blogging

Be mindful of your topics as well, and remember to be diverse. While your blog is obviously a marketing tool for your business, you don’t need to remind readers of that in every single post.

Mix it up; have posts from other writers on related topics, post photos and memes, and always keep your audience in mind.

One easy way to remember what your audience may like is to think selfishly (this may be one of your only outlets for that, so take advantage!) Think about what you prefer to read; what kind of prose captivates you? Reading an informative blog with thought-provoking tips, amusing little quips, and a few pictures is, hands down, more effective than monotonous industry news that specifically applies to the business and always manages to force in twenty links to its products. Odds are, if you find something interesting, others will, too.

Take it Personally, and Build Strong Relationships

Most successful bloggers are not shy about offering their readers an insight into their personal lives. Whether you blog for business or for pleasure, make it personal. No one wants to read extensive details about your colonoscopy, however, but a short narrative about your daughter’s school play (if relevant to your main point) is usually a welcome topic.

Let your readers get to know you. Your business is an extension of yourself and you’ve put incredible amounts of energy and time into creating it. If people know you, they will feel more comfortable with whatever you are selling or offering. Humans like interacting and doing business with other humans, show that you are approachable by being transparent and you will build valuable relationships with your customers.

Being a dependable business owner doesn’t mean you need to be pitching, selling, and closing 24/7. If you identify with your customers on more levels than one, they will appreciate you as an individual and see the services you offer as a benefit, without any added pressure of your persistent salesman chatter.

A few final thoughts:

Business BloggingThis article is lengthy—the majority of people who browse the Internet want their information in concise packages. Three hundred words may be short, but 1,000 words is an essay.

Spell check and grammar check are your friends; please use them.  Good writers are usually people who read a lot, so you may think you have some down time, but you should probably be searching for an article to peruse.

Let others read your work before it is published, as the author, it is sometimes difficult to see mistakes or awkward phrases because you become attached to every sentence you write.

If you practice these steps, and attempt to improve with every blog you post, soon you will see a spike in subscribers and an increase in revenue for your business.  Who knows – with such a great avenue for stress release, maybe you’ll even see a decrease in your blood pressure.

Written by Sasha Novikov, published on Jeff Pulvino’s blog.

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When to Outsource Social Media

Social media should be a critical part of your company’s marketing strategy. Through each network, you have the opportunity to present an image of your company, in hopes that you will positively influence the customer’s perception of your brand. The image you present through your social media campaigns, therefore, should be just as well devised and prepared as the image you would present in any other advertising pursuit.

When to Outsource Social Media

This may sound insane, because it’s 2013 and social media is no longer in its infancy stage—but far too many businesses get on the social bandwagon simply because their competitors are doing it or because it seems like something you ought to do. However, simply being online isn’t enough - you need a sense of direction, a clear understanding of what your goals are. What do you hope “getting online” will achieve? Opening up a few social accounts without mapping out a clear strategy is completely useless to your business.

When it comes to social media, you cannot afford to make mistakes or refuse to do it at all. When thinking about whom to assign to your campaign, as with any job, you need to find the person or people with the relevant skills and experience.

I wouldn’t trust my social media campaign to a junior
member of staff because they mentioned they are bored
and have a Facebook page.

Using social media for personal purposes is a completely different ball game. The people you trust to speak on behalf of your company, your brand, your product, and your service should have more than just a passing familiarity with social media. Knowing how to tweet, post, like, and re-pin, is child’s play. What about tracking your company’s analytics, ensuring stellar search engine results, maintaining daily interaction with thousands of fans and followers, generating unique and compelling content, and producing return on investment metrics?

While you may be able to find a candidate to do this work within your marketing department, often times it is wise to branch out to an agency that is prepared to handle the workload. You need to choose people who understand your goals, have a passion for customer service, and hold creativity as their main priority when coming up with ideas on how to engage current and new followers.

Effective social media takes imagination, superior
interpersonal communication skills, and excellent grasp of
business objectives.

When to Outsource Social Media

Although, you may think it’s clever and cost efficient to assign the management of your accounts to several employees, and while this may help spread loads of content, it can also create incoherence and confuse your customers and followers. For many small businesses, handling social media activity internally isn’t always an option because they do not have the time or expertise. Calling in the services of a knowledgeable social media marketing team may be the smartest way to go.

A good digital marketing firm will offer extensive experience working with clients across multiple sectors and will be able to use tried and tested techniques. If you offer the agency additional insight into who your target audience is, and what you want to achieve with your campaign, outsourcing social media to an expert will pay off, big time. Rather than taking on the stress of managing hundreds of your own accounts, you can work with your marketing agency to create a cross-platform message that is genuine and true to your brand so that your customers feel like they can trust you.

A social media marketing agency will know how to protect your cyber privacy, and how to subtly include sales promotions without bombarding your followers with advertisements. Once you establish a good line of communication with an agency, you can go over all of the details of your strategy including how consistently you want to post content and when you want to engage with your audience. You can then trust your social media campaign to a competent team of marketers who will dedicate their time to constructing a strong digital marketing campaign for your business.

By Sasha Novikov, Creatine Marketing
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Social Media Management Apps Are a Great Resource – Just Sayin’

Social Media Management Apps Are a Great Resource – Just Sayin’Have you ever read a tweet or meme and heard the inflection of a specific voice in your head? We all have a friend, relative, or coworker with such a distinct voice, that we can hear them above all other sounds– even in a packed, noisy bar or in the airport. Have you ever logged into Twitter to see two celebrities locked in an argument or battle of wits? You secretly wish, “If only I could hear this, instead of just reading it!” Well, now you can! Never miss another nuanced expression, a sarcastic exclamation, a silly impression of the president, or that exclusive celebrity interview with this new social media management app!

Comedian Ricky Gervais recently collaborated with David Hayden, CEO of the voice-technology company, CloudTalk, to release a new mobile app called Just Sayin’. This app uses a voice-recording tool to let users post a combination of spoken updates, images, and videos to Facebook and Twitter via their iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.

The way the app works, is that you post voice-recorded messages onto the platform similarly to the way you would post an image on Instagram. Like Instagram, the audio and video messages can then be sharedvia Twitter or Facebook. Your followers can now hear yourtweet as well as read it!

Social Media Management Apps Are a Great Resource – Just Sayin’

While the app is currently being used largely for entertainment purposes, Gervais refers to it as a business app as well. The app’s co-founder, Hayden, believes that adding the human voice to social media is, “the next big thing.” He adds that news outlets could use it to broadcast voice interviews, celebrities could use it to interact with fans, politicians could use it for public statements, and the average person could use it to simply say what’s on their mind. This new social media platform offers a user the opportunity to voice his or her opinion and then engage in conversations with many others.

Gervais has been podcasting for years now, so for him, expanding the social aspect to voice recorded conversations was a logical next step. The entertainer appeared on USA Today saying that this new app, “will be to radio what Twitter was to newsprint.” His analogy references the way in which Twitter users, sharing images and stories of live occurrences from all around the globe, can directly affect media campaigns and news content.

Small business owners and entrepreneurs can use this app to record instructions, dogmas, daily musings, hiring requirements, and much more. You can offer employees the option of voice memos, digital meetings, and virtual water cooler conversations.

 Perhaps this app will encourage Internet gabbers to develop well thought out and interesting voice recordings– or it could lead to an influx of angst-y teenage rants about overprotective parents. Whatever the case, its developers believe it will turn out to be something really positive. Offering social media users a chance to use their unique voices, to really stand out and be human in a world of automation. The idea that millions of people will be able to engage in public conversations is, indeed, revolutionary and innovative.

By: Sasha Novikov, Creatine Marketing

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Facebook’s 20% Policy

Earlier this month, Facebook changed its policy regarding text overlay on images that appear in a user’s ‘cover photo’ and in News Feed advertisements. The updated policy limits the text in these photos to 20 percent of the surface area. In the past, Facebook restricted the use of “calls-to-action” and “price and purchase information” in photos because the developers wanted to prevent advertisers from sharing (and over-sharing) images that looked like typical promotional material. The guidelines were vague, however, which led to a lack of participation and enforcement.

The new policy states that advertisement photos are now permitted to include calls to action and purchase information as long as the text makes up less than 20 percent of the image. The cover photo specifications are considerably more restrictive.

Page Terms Section III. B reads:

Covers may not include:

1. Images with more than 20% text;

2. Price or purchase information, such as “40% off” or “Download it on socialmusic.com”

3. Contact information such as a website address, email, mailing address, or information that should go in your Page’s “About” section;

4. References to Facebook features or actions, such as “Like” or “Share” or an arrow pointing from the cover photo to any of these features; or

5. Calls to action, such as “Get it now” or “Tell your friends.”

Starting January 15, Facebook associates will begin reviewing images from page post ads that are eligible for News Feed. The company is developing a grid-based text overlay detection tool to identify non-compliant photos; a version of this resource will be available for advertisers and small businesses in order to help them determine, in advance, whether or not their images will be approved. It is important for advertisers and small business owners to remember that text within logos and taglines will also count towards the 20 percent limit. Also, there is nothing written in the rule that requires text to fit into a specific area, just that the cover image cannot be more that 20% text.

Facebook's 20% Policy

How will these changes affect business owners and entrepreneurs who depend on Facebook as an integral part of their social network advertising campaign? That depends on your perspective. Many business professionals argue that it is your content and not your cover photo that builds relationships. The cover photo may be an eye-catcher, but the page itself is what encourages customers to stay.

“Facebook people react negatively to content that they perceive as inauthentic or impersonal. Since text is rare in photos from friends, text in brand photos triggers negative emotions in people. Instead of introducing text in your images, choose photos that send a message or tell a story on their own without words.” 

-Facebook’s Page Post Practices 

Rather than including deals and contact information within your cover, reserve that space for your company name, logo, and a catchy tagline. Or perhaps you could use your 20 percent to describe your unique services, features, or the benefits your organization offers. The main objective should be to keep it simple and focus on quality. Customers should be able to understand what your image represents without having to squint in order to read fine print.

In your ‘about’ section, be sure to emphasize your website address so that is prominently visible beneath your cover image. That way, if your customer is eager to learn more—he or she knows where to head next.

There are no limits to the number of photos a company or general Facebook user is allowed to post on their own News Feed, so remember to post plenty of photos of your products, staff hard at work, or services you’ve provided a client. Human beings are very visual creatures; we buy with our eyes—so the more photos, the better.

If you are still concerned about the new policy sabotaging your Facebook advertising strategy, keep in mind that you can purchase as many advertisements as you please. Each one can contain a separate, but related, message. Last year the ads were not allowed to highlight product cost or purchase information. Now that the advertisements can include a call-to-action, the price of a product, or information on an upcoming sale, your marketing campaign will be more effective.

By: Sasha Novikov

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A Report Card for your Website [Web Analytics Training]

Unknown-1So your website is up and running; you have created effective and interesting content, optimized the pages in order for the search engine results to highlight your site, and you’re promoting all of your information using social media. You’ve come a long way, but in order to progress even further, tracking your website’s effectiveness is crucial.

Some important questions to ask yourself are:

  • How many visitors are coming to your site each month?
  • How are they finding your site?
  • How long do they stay each time?
  • How many pages do they view?
  • Is the money you’ve spent on graphics and layouts influencing your customer in a positive way?
  • Which online advertisements are actually leading traffic to your site?

The answers to these questions can help you write better content, feature various new products or clients, ensure brand visibility, and extend your market base. When you know how your website is being used, it is much easier to make enhancements or adjustments accordingly.

The data offers businesses well-defined information about the effectiveness of the website they’ve created.

Web analytics tools were created to help answer these questions. Whether you use Google’s analytics service or any other— the web-based application is able to collect the data based on the questions we asked in the previous paragraph, and through a variety of calculations, generate comprehensive charts and reports. A fantastic benefit to web analytics is that they are quantitative—they neither sugar coat the shortcomings, nor praise the successes of your website. The data offers businesses well-defined information about the effectiveness of the website they’ve created. Armed with this material, you can restructure your website in order to maximize profitability.

Now that you have the resources to track user behavior, it is important to determine what your goals are:

  • What do you hope to accomplish with your site?
  • What are the necessary courses of action to obtain your desired outcome?

Try compiling a list or a series of processes that are essential to progressing onto the next step.  For example, if you are concerned about not having enough visitors to your website, perhaps your next newsletter or email blast can include a call-to-action. Offer a free eBook or a coupon that provides your customer with a discount on a product or service. These offers not only function as advertisements for your business, but they also drive traffic to your site and could even boost your conversion rate.

•	What are the necessary courses of action to obtain your desired outcome? Finally, be open with your clients and customers about your ambitions. When you are reaching your goals, let everyone know. When you set new objectives, speak up about that as well.  If you’ve modified your webpage or revitalized your campaign, publicize the changes using your social networks.

With web analytics, we can explore multiple facets of online marketing. We can gauge the power of email marketing versus search engine marketing, as well as monitor the effectiveness of blogging and social media advertising. Once we travel down each avenue for a period of time, we are able to determine how useful each method really is in growing your business.

By Sasha Novikov, Creatine Marketing

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Creatine Marketing Named in Best Social Media Marketing Services

Sacramento based marketing company, Creatine Marketing, is proud to announce that it has been named #13 Best Social Media Marketing Services worldwide by TopSEOs.com.

Robert Black, Creatine Marketing, Social Media MarketingCreatine Marketing specializes in website design, video marketing, social media management, and mobile applications. The company was founded in 2010, and with a recent explosion in its client base, and an increase in staff, is off to a promising start and prepared to take on new challenges this upcoming year.

The online marketing firm qualified for the list based on its strong search engine optimization (SEO) ranking, distinct social presence, and its brand managementexcellence. One of the biggest challenges in SEO is staying current with the newest techniques associated with obtaining top search rankings. The Creatine Marketing team uses an advanced software called SNAP Social in order to manage their client’s accounts efficiently and effectively. The social media marketing professionals diligently seek out and publish content based on popular trends. They ensure that clients are kept up-to-date in order to increase their brand visibility, reach, and overall success.

The organization has an expansive reach and excels in SEO. In fact, if one were to search for ‘social media marketing companies or agencies’ using Google, Creatine Marketing’s webpage would appear on the first page nearly every time. Some of the other companies on the list have been in business since the late nineties, so for a firm so young to reach this rank in such a short amount of time is an incredible accomplishment.

Ranking number 13 on a list of 30 Best Social Media MarketingServices is no small feat. TopSEO - Best Social Media Marketing Services, Creatine MarketingThe people at Creatine Marketing understand that progress requires effective communication, useful information, quality keywords and phrases, and the insight to always be adapting. The firm has a straightforward and practical vision — to help individuals and businesses establish an online presence that not only communicates the vision of theirbrand and captures the attention of their target audience, but also demonstrates a tangible ROI (Return On Investment).

http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/creatine-marketing-named-in-best-social-media-marketing-services-186953761.html

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Have Yourself a Charitable Little Christmas

Creatine MarketingThere are lights up on your neighbor’s home— the department stores are setting the mood with festive holiday songs, the weather outside really isfrightful, and it might be time to get your big box of decorations out of the garage. Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, we are elbow deep in the holiday season. It’s that time of year to invest in some peppermint scented candles, reconnect with family and friends, and to max out your credit cards on the perfect gifts. But this is also the time of year for selfless acts of kindness and charity. If you were wondering how to give back to your community, your nation, or your planet, let social media be the guide to– and maybe even the inspiration behind– your generosity.

The old saying “No good deed goes unpunished” is a reflection on a sad but often accurate fact: those who do good deeds are often not rewarded for them. Your social media networks, however, have given good deeds a new lease on life. On Facebook and Twitter, no good deed goes unnoticed– in fact, it goes viral. A decade ago, any given charity or cause reached a very limited amount of people unless that foundation sprouted in response to a national or global emergency. Today, there are one billion (and counting) Facebook users, and over 500 million users on Twitter. Altruism and compassion resonate with nearly everyone, and nowadays nearly everyone is keeping up with their friends on the Internet. For many, these networking hubs are the most reliable, up-to-date, and accessible news source, and while not every single human being can commit to sheltering hurricane victims, or volunteering time at a soup kitchen—he or she can simply pass a story along or donate financially.

Last year, the organization Invisible Children Inc. created a video to raise awareness of, andCreatine Marketing relief funds for children in Uganda that were abducted and sold as sex slaves or soldiers. The short film targeted Joseph Kony who played a critical role in the kidnappings, and urged people all over the world to get involved in bringing him to justice. In a matter of days the video was reposted and re-tweeted hundreds of thousands of times. It was a staple upon the news feed of nearly every American social media user. Many supported the charity, some criticized it, but never the less—it’s publicity gained the funding of celebrities and politicians alike. As of July 2012, the video has been viewed 91 million times, and while this occurrence is a unique one—since then many charities have turned to social media in order to raise consciousness.

If you visit http://www.facebook.com/causes, you can view hundreds of charities that have been created in order to serve a specific community, state, or nation. Searching #charities using Twitter will bring up over a thousand local, national, and international organizations for any and every cause imaginable. If every Facebook user has approximately 300 friends, one single post can potentially reach over a thousand people.

Many Americans prefer to donate money rather than time, it is more convenient and it is tax deductible. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, in fact, websites have been created to cater exclusively to the way we contribute. One can simply create a donation-based website for his or her cause by visiting kickstarter.com, gofundme.com,

Creatine Marketing

fundable.org or networkforgood.com (to name a few). These online networks offer a platform for the every day citizen to gather funds and other resources in a secure way. Once you have created your site,gaining support and capital is easy—post links to your site on your blog, Twitter, Facebook, or any other social media site you frequent, and watch the cash roll in. Once you meet your goal and satisfy the requirements to complete your project, don’t forget to thank those who made it possible.

This holiday season, spending money isn’t the only way to make a difference in the lives of your closest family and friends. Invest in a project that betters your community, start a charity, donate your time to those less fortunate, and stay involved using your cyber and tangible networks in order to find out how you can give back this winter.

By: Sasha Novikov, Creatine Marketing

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Social Media: Slow and Steady Wins the Race

The United States harbors an impressive population of innovators with new ideas and unique products. But where there are trend setters, there are trend followers. We’ve all seen fads explode onto the market for short periods of time before fizzling out into obscurity just as quickly as they arrived. From Beanie Babies, to Tamagotchis- LiveStrong wrist bands to
MySpace, products wax and wane; some make a significant impact on the market, while others are easily forgotten. What are all of these companies doing differently, and what do they have in common?

what is innovation

Creating a business plan that is solid and sustainable is a challenging process. In fact, many new companies struggle to hit the ground running, and later fail to operate for more than five years. Often times, even the most driven and prepared business owners accept that investing more money and pushing forward is no longer a feasible option. These entrepreneurs are wondering what they did wrong; what could’ve been done to increase brand visibility, to build a stronger consumer base, or to offer products and services through a medium that is easier to access?

Developing marketing strategies with the aid of social media, like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or Linked In is the new frontier. These platforms offer powerful tools for advertising, communicating, enlightening, and ultimately, selling. Businesses with a distinctive and well-developed social media presence have the capability to reach a wide audience very quickly. Not only does this create a higher volume of consumer requests for products and services but also these demands can now be satisfied in a much faster, and simpler manner.

When utilizing social media networks, companies are able to target larger and more diverse audiences by pushingengaging, attractive, and current announcements and special offers. With the ability to spread messages about products, provide unbeatable deals, and to creatively highlight the brand, many companies experience immediate success. The next challenge to ensure longevity and popularity is to prepare for, and properly handle an expanded customer base and the inflated number of sales that may result from a flourishing cyber campaign.

Social media is beneficial when used to advertise new products, send updates, and offer promotions, but personalized Social Media Sites jpgcommunication is also necessary. Businesses can use social media to quickly and consistently follow-up with consumers. A customer can be appreciated for shopping with the business, and invited to voice his or her satisfaction with the product, service, or purchasing experience. This information can have an impact on the future success of the company, as it helps to pinpoint areas that might need improvement quickly, while bringing focus to tactics and that have been executed well.

A regularly maintained social media presence is also critical in ensuring that positive press is publicized, while negative press is addressed and corrected. If a satisfied customer writes a positive review, is should be shared, re-posted, and highlighted on the business’s social media profile. Was a complaint made? If the business is regularly tracking their social media presence, they can quickly respond with an apology and a solution.

In this modern age of virtual shopping, mobile application hunting, and digital network construction, social media advertising is the next big step in surviving in the business world. And while the endeavor might seem daunting for business owners who are less technologically savvy, or for those who just do not have the time, the good news is that there are innovative platforms in the works that give one person the ability to update every social media site using one easy-to-learn system. There are also courses that help entrepreneurs navigate the, sometimes overwhelming, world wide web. And finally, there are companies, like ours that will launch, maintain, and update all of the social media networks for your business. We keep your brand in mind, we summon the voice of your company, and we use social media as our tool to help your client base grow.

by Sasha Novikov, Creatine Marketing

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‘Tis the Friday to be Greedy

Black Friday Shoppers:

It’s late Thursday evening and you are just about as stuffed as your Thanksgiving turkey was. As the tryptophan begins to coarse through your veins and your eyelids strain to stay open, reach for that energy drink or second cup of coffee because Black Friday is approaching quickly and you need to be prepared.

Black Friday

Luckily, we are living in a time where more consumers have access to the web and most businesses have noticed. This year, it is easier to hunt for sales and promotions before you decide to camp out in front of your favorite store, or wait in line for 10 hours.  A vast majority of your preferred brands, companies, corporations, and even independent retailers are urging consumers to check their social media outlets in order to prepare for the deals they plan to offer on Black Friday, the first official day of the Christmas shopping season. After you search for your favorite stores on Twitter and Facebook, remember to ‘follow’ or ‘like’ the company so you can revel in the once-a-year specials. And although ‘tis the Friday to be greedy, don’t hesitate to share them with all of your friends and family.

Business Owners:

As the holiday season approaches, social media is your strongest business-boosting tool. Most established, high-volume, retailers launch comprehensive and robust ‘Black Friday’ marketing campaigns every year; they spend months preparing digitized circulars, mobile apps, and online coupon offers to promote special deals.  But for many years, the average small business owner was unable to properly compete.

With the prominence and power of social media in your arsenal, however, developing innovative ways to promote your products and services is no longer a daunting challenge. There are several ways small businesses can create a buzz on Black Friday without overextending the budget on costly marketing campaigns.

A few weeks before Thanksgiving, start by using Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Google+ to post, pin, or tweet about early deals and special offers for customers who subscribe to your networks. After enhancing your client base, gaining followers, and increasing your mailing list, it is time to follow up with your customers. Send a Black Friday-themed email to your existing and new customers in order to drive traffic. Make sure your message includes a click-to-call button, maps, and all of the re-post and share buttons that will encourage customers to share your email with their mailing lists and social networks. Also, keep in mind that nearly half of the people who open marketing emails do so on their smartphones or tablets, which is why it’s important that marketing emails are optimized for mobile devices.

Shopper

While continuing a dialogue with your customers by engaging with them on Twitter and Facebook, you can also send push notifications and alerts though mobile applications on Thanksgiving Eve. Encourage your customers to arrive early by providing extra incentives like higher percentages off selected items. Finally, have some fun with your customers; run some contests and offer giveaways exclusively on your social media platforms. Discounts are very attractive to the savvy social media deal hunter. And that customer is more likely to boast about your business with a friend, coworker, or family member if he or she has something to interesting to share!

Social media is one of the least expensive and most effective ways to boost brand visibility, strengthen your client base, and to maximize profit—especially during the holidays. Highlight your special offers using Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Google+, remind your customers why your store is the place to be on Black Friday, and use this pseudo-holiday as a way to build ongoing relationships with your clients or customers to ensure a brighter future for your business.

by Sasha Novikov, Creatine Marketing

 

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Social Media to the Rescue! #HurricaneSandy

How social networking saved lives during Hurricane Sandy

As superstorm Sandy continues to devastate the states of the Northern American East Coast, thousands of families are left without electricity, food, shelter, and aid. The ongoing hurricane has caused upwards of $50 billion in damages; US citizens that inhabit the areas are in a state of confusion and desolation. In the wake of the trail of destruction left by Sandy, where are East Coastians turning for emergency information? And how are the rest of us getting our minute-by-minute updates about our friends and family members?

While there may not be enough power to fully revive many of the coastal states, there is enough to charge hundreds of mobile devices. And where there is even a minimal amount of electrical current, there are those who will manage to update their social media accounts and keep the rest of the world informed.

Within a day of the Sandy making landfall, “#Sandy” had more than 4 million mentions by almost 400,000 unique sources on Twitter. “Hurricane Sandy” was the top phrase on Facebook in the United States for several days. Thousands of people posted images of the wreckage, designed donation based webpages, and “tweeted” their prayers for safety.  While the ongoing debate about the effects of social media continues, there is no doubt that these platforms helped thousands of disenfranchised Americans gain national exposure, and then aid.

#HurricaneSandy on Twitter

Americans were saddened by images of cars floating along flooded highways, and rooftops peaking out of waters that rose over 10 feet in some areas. These pictures appeared on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and other social media networks—and because of them the public learned about how to donate time and money to those in need. People used these platforms to communicate where there was power, or shelter, where gas stations had opened, and which ones were accepting cash. News outlets were able to keep the general public informed using the same websites, while keeping residents of New Jersey and other affected areas up-to-date on the status of their family members, school and business closures, voting information, and local news.

As the storm approached the mainland, articles began to immerge reminding citizens how to download a flashlight application, and how to use the Red Cross First Aid app for various medical assistance tips. All of the articles were available on Twitter by following “#Sandy; some articles even read, “following #Sandy could save your life.” During this disaster, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram became communication lifelines that many used to call out for help and to send prayers. Thanks to citizen journalists and photographers images and alerts spread across the nation in hours, encouraging hundreds of people to come to the rescue with blankets, food, generators, water, cell phone charging stations, and other necessary materials. Some tweets even assisted law enforcement officials and firefighters in rescuing endangered citizens and animals. When utilized properly, social media is a mighty resource that can relay critical news, important information, and provide by the minute updates about any situation or event.

by Sasha Novikov, Creatine Marketing

 

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