Tag Archives: social networking

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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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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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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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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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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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,

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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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‘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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