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Recipe for Virality

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Everyone wants create something that goes viral. It’s the new American Dream. While Internet users strive for millions of clicks and instant fame, it doesn’t always turn out that way. But when it does, it may come as a surprise as to how certain videos go viral and others do not.

For instance, who would have guessed that a young boy would become an Internet sensation just by acting crazy after getting hit in the head with a basketball? The boy, now dubbed “Crack Kid” by the the World Wide Web, has inspired many spin-off Vines after his was posted a week ago. (To see what in the world we’re talking about, check this out.)

Making viral videos is sort of like baking cookies. You need quality ingredients, a repeatable recipe and a tad bit of skill, all of which should eventually result in the best darn cookies you’ve ever tasted.

Want to get started on your own viral video? Here’s our recipe for success:

1. Mix together a sprinkle of Short and a dash of Simple.

Long, complex videos typically do not go viral. Why? The modern human being has an attention span shorter than 8 seconds, and scientists say this average is decreasing every year. If  you don’t grab someone’s attention quickly with a simple idea, you can bet your video will never see viral status. Platforms like Vine, Instagram and Snapchat are great for viral content because of their fast-paced nature.

2. Add in one part Randomness and one part Timeliness.

It’s a fact: some videos go viral due to perfect timing. (Anyone remember the massive explosion of “Let it Go” parodies and lip-syncs after the movie Frozen was released?) If you create a video based on something that is currently popular or trending, you have higher chances of getting your own work seen by millions of people searching for that specific term or topic.

Additionally, randomness could be the key to your viral success. Think of the last viral video you saw. Was it scripted? Was the outcome an expected event? Probably not. Random antics usually fare the best when trying for viral status.

3. Fold in a heaping tablespoon of Emotion

Playing on people’s emotions is what ultimately gets them to share content with others. Typically, the content is either cute, shocking, comedic or useful. These variations stimulate the urge to pass on whatever it the content may be (article, video, photo) to friends and family. Is your content share-worthy? If not, take another look at it before releasing it.

4. Bake on high in a Social oven 

Make sure to upload your content on a platform with wide audiences that allows easy sharing. Sites like Facebook, YouTube, Vine, Instagram and other social networks are perfect, since they automatically include a share button or an option to send an email with a link to the content.  Also, sites like Upworthy, BuzzFeed, Digg and Reddit thrive on viral content, so contributing your video to these sites may be a smart move on your part.

 

Have you had success in the viral video department? Have any extra tips to add? Leave your thoughts in the comments. 

Google’s Twitter Advice

What starts a legitimate question on Google can quickly turn into a laughable moment, as demonstrated quite recently in our social media office.  The following are screenshots of what comes up when you do a simple search for how often you should post a tweet on Twitter.

 

driving

First of all, tweeting and driving is hardly a good combination and is more than likely illegal in your state. Now, tweeting while drinking juice or drilling? That’s just pure talent right there.

 ———-

pregnancy

Apparently, this is a common concern among social media-savvy mamas. Well, you have t minus 9 months in counting. Please don’t use every minute of it spamming your followers, or else you may land in Twitter Jail. (Yes, Twitter Jail is for real.)

———-

running

Probably not very often, considering your main focus should be on, well, running. PS: We won’t laugh when you accidentally run into a light pole or trip over someone’s dog in the park.

 ———-

 

tweet

Oh, that Twitter Jail…it just makes tweeting so complicated.

———-

tweetstuff

Wow. Just…no. What happens in the bathroom STAYS in the bathroom.

 

 

Thanks, Google Auto-Search feature for making searches a little more exciting.

What’s the silliest thing you’ve stumbled across while searching terms on Google? Leave it in the comments!

Weddings, Live-Tweeted: A New Social Media Service Takes the Cake

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The concept of “live-tweeting” is simple: you log on to your mobile Twitter account and describe via words, photos and hashtags what is happening before your eyes. Think of it like social media-driven journalism. Sure, live-tweeting is expected during sporting events and concerts, but what would you say if people are now paying for specialists to live-tweet their wedding?

It’s a service that’s catching on in New York, specifically at W Hotels, as reported by HLN TV. While the idea isn’t completely far-fetched due to the popularity of live-tweeting, it seems many aren’t so keen on the idea.

However, W Hotels believes this is the cutting edge in wedding services.

“We’ve been noticing a huge trend among our wedding clientele to integrate social media into the wedding experience,” said Alyssa Kiefer, the Global Social Media Strategist for W Hotels. “Think about it — every milestone event, whether it’s a wedding, engagement, graduation, etc., is documented through guests’ personal social channels. Instagram, Twitter and Facebook have become the status quo. So many of our couples are asking guests to use a specific hashtag when uploading photos and we even have guests update their Facebook status while standing at the altar! That got us thinking… we at W pride ourselves on our “Whatever/Whenever” service, so what better way to stay ahead of the curve than to offer social capabilities as part of a wedding package with W Hotels? It’s one less thing a bride or groom has to worry about.”

What do you think? Do you think brides and grooms will start paying to have their wedding live-tweeted by a professional service? Let us know in the comments.

Source article: http://www.hlntv.com/article/2014/03/26/social-media-wedding-concierge-w-hotels-new-york

 

Social Media Supernova: Disney’s March Magic Campaign Sparks Internet Buzz

Once in a while, we like to talk about creative companies making a ripple in the digital universe, a social media supernova, if you will. Want to ignite an online chatter-storm about your brand?  Maybe you should take some pointers from today’s featured company: Disney.

It’s no surprise that Disney has a knack for creativity. Just in time for March Madness, Disney Parks has given the annual basketball tournament a magical makeover. Dubbed “March Magic“, Disney puts an innovative spin on the competition by creating “teams” based on popular attractions at Walt Disney World in Florida and Disneyland in California. Facebook users can vote for their favorites on Disney World & Disneyland’s official Facebook pages. Disney fans can even predict the winning teams at home by using their own bracket and sharing their conversations about it using the hashtag #DisneySide.

Here’s a look at Disney Parks’s March Magic East & West Coast teams (as well as official bracket) shared on the company’s blog earlier this week:

Why is this digital campaign so awesome?

Here are a few reasons the campaign works:

1.  It blends social media campaigns with other marketing initiatives: Disney isn’t making this an exclusive social media campaign. Instead, the company seamlessly ties it in with its year-long marketing efforts where visitors, celebrities and other icons are encouraged to show off their “Disney Side”. This spans multiple platforms, including billboards, commercials, social media, print and online advertisements, in-park promotion and other mediums.

2. It’s timely: It’s March so that means everyone and their brother is talking about March Madness. Why not play off that conversation and point it back toward your business? That’s what we in the marketing industry like to call “pure genius”.

3. It stirs up emotion: If you’ve gone to Disney World or Disneyland at any point in your life, you’re probably going to have a reaction to the teams represented in the March Magic brackets. You going feel a personal connection (or resentment) to certain attractions or characters and want your favorites to win.  Which leads us to the next point…

4. It gets brand supporters involved: This campaign gets Disney fans doing something. They may not be able to take a trip to one of the parks this year, but they can easily show their friends and family their March Magic brackets. Ultimately, this boosts positive feelings toward the brand, which is exactly what Disney wants.

What are your thoughts on Disney’s March Magic campaign? We want to know! (We won’t cry if you say you’re not a fan. Okay, maybe a little.) Leave your opinions in the comments.

5 Ways to Kickstart a Strong Online Brand Strategy

No matter what industry you are in, a strong brand strategy is a must.  The goal seems simple enough: get your slogan, logo or spokesperson (or animal) ingrained in your audience’s mind so that they have a higher chance of turning to your product when they need it. With online platforms, unleashing your brand strategy to the world makes it even more obtainable.

I’m new to brand strategy, you may be thinking. I have an idea of how to reach my audience in traditional ways but don’t even know where to start online. 

You’re not alone. Many businesses aren’t sure how to effectively craft their brand into a strong entity and carry over that message to the World Wide Web. That’s why we’ve come up with several steps for success to get your brand headed in the right direction.

Here are 5 ways to inspire the launch of your brand’s online strategy:

Step One: Outline what your brand is and is not

Courtesy Shutterstock

Courtesy Shutterstock

Before you can broadcast your message out to the masses, you need to decide what makes up your company’s brand. What do you sell? How is it different than other products? How will you present your product to your target audience? Hammer down the specifics on your brand strategy before you start signing up for social networking sites and make sure your message is clear, accessible and easy to relate to.

Step Two: Come up with a “mascot”

Courtesy Facebook

Courtesy Facebook

Brands benefit from spokespeople or characters. Take Progressive, for example. Progressive’s eccentric and quick-witted character, Flo, is a fun and personable character that plays on the emotions of customers. Many people trust the Progressive brand because of the company’s commercials and human-like presence on social media. Your customers want to interact with a personable online presence not an entity. Humanizing your brand is key to obtaining and keeping customers.

Step Three: Determine which social platforms are the best for your message

Courtesy Old Spice

Courtesy Old Spice

Now that you have your brand’s message and content figured out, you need a platform on which to communicate with your customers. A great example to look to is Old Spice. The deodorant company’s quirky and hilarious brand message lends itself to many social media sites, but they tailor most of their content for a small handful of platforms. The brand particularly excels at releasing quality video content on YouTube and witty one- or two- liners on Twitter. (They’ve even been known to get into hysterical spats with Taco Bell once in a while.) Don’t get caught up in the infinite social media sites and think you need to have a presence on all of them. Chose two or three to start with and build your presence on those sites.

Step Four: Maintain brand image across all platforms

Courtesy Disney

Courtesy Disney

There’s nothing more frustrating to a customer than a non-consistent message or image. What does the company actually stand for?  Who are they, really?  If they’re not consistent with their image, are they consistent with what they offer? These questions are reasons why it is so crucial to maintain a company’s brand across all platforms: website, social media, and content creation. Disney is a great example of a corporation that sticks to the same voice and brand image across the digital universe.

Step Five: Don’t be afraid to break the mold

Courtesy Dove Campaign for Real Beauty

Courtesy Dove Campaign for Real Beauty

Launched in 2004, Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty overturned the standard beauty industry message by showing women they are beautiful no matter what. Dove wasn’t afraid to broadcast a message that might be offensive to some, including fellow beauty industry leaders. Ultimately, however, the brand is widely accepted and the campaign has been recognized as one of the most effective company campaigns in the last decade. What is your message? Do you represent a product or idea that has the power to change the way people think or feel? Don’t hold back. Represent your brand’s message in a thought-provoking light by using social media to your advantage.

Enter Our St. Patrick’s Day Instagram Contest!

People love St. Patrick’s Day. They also love free stuff.

That’s why today we’re giving away 4GB tCloud flash drives with FREE resources to help you thrive in the digital universe. All you have to do is upload your St. Patrick’s Day photo to Instagram and use the hashtag #TodayImIrish.

Show us your green and we’ll show you how to get started with digital marketing!

todayimirish

tCloud’s Take: Facebook Prepares to Launch Multi-Million Dollar Video Ads

Courtesy PR Web

Courtesy PR Web

Look out, mobile Facebook users, video advertisements are coming your way.

The situation: Within the next several months, Facebook says it will roll out 15-second video ads on mobile sites. Just like videos shared by friends or sponsored pages on your news feed, these premium ads will play automatically without sound and stop if you scroll past. However, if you tap on them, the screen expands and you can watch the full commercial with sound. (Here’s what they’ll look like.)

The price tag: If you’re a business owner thinking about possibly promoting your company through these video ads, get ready to dig deep into those pockets. Way deep. Facebook says the average price for premium video ads is anywhere from $1 million to $2.5 million per day.

The result: While this sounds like an enticing way for profitable businesses to gain more exposure, there is a fear that the videos will be a turn-off to mobile internet users and cause backlash instead of a positive experience. However, many analysts don’t think so. In fact, they believe it will be great for Facebook’s stock.

Analyst Victor Anthony told MarketWatch he believes Facebook’s delay in video ads has been very strategic.

“Rollout was/is slow because Facebook wants to ensure that the user experience will not be disrupted,” Anthony said. “With this launch they are communicating that they now feel comfortable that the user experience will not be compromised.”

And, Facebook is planning on taking only the highest quality advertisements for its premium video ad program.

“To make sure Premium Video Ads are as good as other content people see in their News Feeds, we’re working with a company called Ace Metrix to help us review and assess how engaging the creative is for each ad — before it appears on Facebook,” said Facebook. “Ace Metrix will allow us to objectively measure the creative quality of the video in the Facebook environment, and highlight performance indicators for advertisers such as watchability, meaningfulness and emotional resonance. We’re taking this step in order to maintain high-quality ads on Facebook and help advertisers understand what’s working to maximize their return on investment.”

Here’s what we think: First of all, video advertising is not a new venture. Google’s been on the video ad train since 2006. Online viewers have watched promotional ads before streaming videos on YouTube and Hulu for years. However, what is new is the notion of video advertising through a widely-used social network like Facebook.

The fact is online video advertisements work. A 2010 Nielson study shows viewers had much greater brand and message recall and greater likability for online video ads as opposed to their traditional television counterparts.  Of course, the more interactive these video ads are, the better click-through and conversion rates for the represented company.

Katie Parr, Social Media Specialist here at tCloud Solutions, says she doesn’t believe these video ads will annoy Facebook users in the long run.

“I think at the beginning users won’t necessarily care for them, but they’ll adjust to the changes very quickly, just like they do for layout changes and other Facebook fixes,” she said. “As long as Facebook keeps the video ads to a minimum, which they are already planning on doing, I don’t think it’d be a problem at all.”

What do you think? We want to know. Leave your thoughts in the comments below. (Yes, that rhymed. We like to pretend we’re poets once in a while.)

Leaving Impactful Digital Footprints

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When: March 27, 2014 2 pm Central

Where: A computer near you

Cost: FREE

We’ve all heard about how carbon footprints impact our planet, but how much do you know about a digital footprint?  Many times, this term is used in direct reference to consumers and their online habits. However, businesses can also make ripples in the digital universe.  In a culture saturated in social media, e-mail marketing, digital newsletters and interactive web content, how do businesses stand out among the noise? How does a brand measure the impact of its digital footprint? What are the ramifications for leaving behind a tarnished image—or none at all?

Social Media Strategist Katie Parr of tCloud Solutions explains why leaving impactful digital footprints is crucial to company success and gives examples for establishing a strong and innovative online presence.

Sign up for this webinar by accessing the registration form here. Limited spots are available, so register today!

 

How Your Digital Marketing Strategy is Like a Pulsar

Credit: David A. Aguilar / NASA / ESA

Credit: David A. Aguilar / NASA / ESA

As Astronauts of the Digital Universe, we’re constantly exploring new (and sometimes daunting) terrain, taking notes on our observations and using those notes to prepare  innovative marketing game plans for our clients. Sometimes, we come across interesting comparisons to our own amazing universe that are too cool not to share.

Take pulsars, for example. They’re easily one of the most intriguing stars in the galaxy. Pulsars are extremely dense, rapidly rotating stars that emit periodic beams of radiation into the universe. Some of these neuron stars spin several hundred times per second. Astronomers have noted one of the most powerful pulsars exists in the Crab Nebula (pictured above). The Crab Nebula Pulsar spins only about 30 times per second (which is relatively slow for pulsars), but emits gamma-ray beams that are a million times stronger than medical X-Ray machines.

Now, let’s pretend pulsars are like your company’s digital marketing strategy. You’ve got a lot going on: social media, content marketing in the form of blogs, YouTube videos or eBooks, online contests, email campaigns, and digital ad space.  Every time you post something online, it’s like a pulsar’s radiation beam sweeping across the universe. If your company releases a timely beam once in a while, it’s a really cool optical illusion (aka your fans and followers are poked and prodded just enough to result in intrigue). But if your strategy consists of rotating 1,328,971 times per second, you can bet your public will be turned off by your relentless social media posts (not to mention they’re probably shielding their eyes by now since they were staring at an out-of-control disco ball.)

No matter how intriguing your campaigns are, too many in a short span of time will get annoying very quickly.

So, how do you avoid spamming your customer base and stop sending out so much radiation that they cease to exist? (Yeah, that’s no fun.) We’ve gathered the following observations for your business to put into practice:

  • Create a digital marketing campaign calendar: Everything you do on the digital front should be thoroughly planned in advance. Using whatever type of calendar you prefer, write out the times you’ll be sending email campaigns, posting on social media and actively targeting users through digital advertising. Make sure it’s frequent enough to keep customers in the loop but not often enough that it will create negative emotions or bad feedback toward your brand. Balance the campaigns out so that it has even coverage throughout your platforms. Planning your content several months in advance is a great way to keep your digital marketing goals alive and well.
  • Schedule your social media posts: Most social media networks have an option for scheduling content for a later time. If the content is not incredibly newsworthy and doesn’t need to be sent out into the digital universe immediately, hold back and schedule the content for later. You can even set up your whole week’s content in one setting. Using a social media management system like HootSuite is also a big help when it comes to scheduling your social media posts across a variety of platforms.
  • Understand social media content timing: Not every time is the optimal moment to post on social media or promote your blog. Research which times have the most successful engagement rate depending on what network you’re using and put it into practice. (hint: it’s probably not the day and time you think).   

Bottom Line: While pulsars are fascinating, they’re also incredibly strange and potentially dangerous. So it is with digital marketing campaigns. Exercise caution when embarking on your latest strategy and understand that timing is everything.