Tag Archives: social media

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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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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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 & 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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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 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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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

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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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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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