Using Vine To Swing Traffic Towards Your Business

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The verdict is out: Vine is far and away the hottest new social media platform. The six second video sharing app has raised its own crop of “Vine-famous” celebrities in less than six months from its inception and millions of users are spending hour after hour watching and sharing these explosive little comedy bombs. Businesses have taken quick notice to these viral sensations and have wasted no time in capitalizing on these celebs and using this creative new medium to advertise their products. Your company, big or small, could benefit hugely from solid Vine content. My suggestion would be to first spend a few weeks on Vine and get a feel for the type of content that is most shared there, or “re-vined.” Gain an understanding of the type of rapid-fire comedy and surprise/shock factor that thrives there. Then, with a creative team and some solid brainstorming sessions, come up with some ways you can fit your product into the type of message fit for Vine. This will likely be the hardest step, and if you can successfully pull it off your content will be golden; users won’t even see it as an advertisement, but as a valid contribution to the canon. Finally, post your content and begin interacting with people who you believe will find your product beneficial, and watch as the followers roll in. Another recent tactic involves posting in the comment sections of popular Vines promoting your account, but beware; users could find this type of guerrilla advertising an annoyance, so proceed with caution. Hopefully with these simple steps and a few good ideas you can generate buzz for your business through this exciting platform.

Where It All Started: The Web People Who Inspired Me

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Everyone has to start somewhere, and my start with web content fascination began many years ago, long before social media even existed in it’s fully functional form and before the term “blog” entered our everyday vernacular. The pioneers of online humor and thought leading served as inspiration for me and I’m sure countless others to pursue similar online notoriety by way of endless posting and studying of the culture. Here are a few of my favorite online inspirations

1. Maddox. Curator of the humor museum located at The Best Page In The Universe, Maddox has spent nearly two decades writing insanely witty, sharp commentary about the state of culture around him and has amassed an intensely loyal following. I began reading his work at the tender age of 13 and never looked back. I tried and failed multiple times to write content similar to his on my freely hosted geocities webpage, to no avail; Maddox was and is something special, and all who post dark humor online today owe their success at least in part to his legacy.

2. Tucker Max. Recanting true stories that no prepubescent teen should ever read (while most likely do), Tucker Max had the market cornered on larger than life tales of bravado and sexual deviancy. I distinctly remember spending numerous nights regaling my friends aloud with his tales and being met with howls of suffocating laughter. His work has you constantly shaking your head exclaiming “there’s no way that actually happened,” when he can and will prove to you that it most certainly did.

3. Robert Hamburger of “Real Ultimate Power”. This mystery poster never did reveal his true identity, but we do know he was a total badass who inspired many with his absolutely ridiculous style of storytelling. One of the first to push the comedic boundaries into the realms of absurdism simply for the sake of absurdity, He was unafraid to take his posts in any which direction at the drop of a dime.

These are just a few examples of early online content creators who inspired me and certainly millions more just like me. Who inspires you? Let me know in the comments below.

Drafting Blog Posts That Draw Crowds

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Writing blog posts oftentimes can feel like you’re one of those guys on the stock market floor, shouting at the top of your lungs, trying to be heard over everyone else’s screams. What sets you apart? What makes you different? If you learn how to set yourself apart, write content worth reading, and market yourself properly, you don’t have to raise your voice and shout over the proverbial masses on the trading floor because you’ll be in a completely different building. How is this done? There are a few simple ways to accomplish this.

Find your niche. Write about a single topic that you’re passionate about, and stick with it. No one wants to hear the ramblings of some internet nobody about any random topic that enters their head, unless of course those ramblings are hysterical, and you’ll likely be more successful on twitter than a long-form blog.

Update frequently. Equally as important as writing good content is writing good content consistently. People follow blogs that stay fresh in their mind and when they know they can count on new content to be there any given week that they visit. People forget about blogs when the updates are rolling in once every few months.

Use humor. It is a well documented fact that the most commonly shared type of content on the internet is humorous content, followed closely behind content that shocks or amazes. Since you’ll likely not be shocking or amazing anyone with your regular blog posts, humor is your best weapon in getting your posts shared and ultimately read.

Use these tips to draw crowds to your posts, and save your vocal chords.

How To Run An Effective Facebook Contest

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There may be no more effective way to grow a Facebook page for any type of business than a contest; a simple Facebook contest can garner you huge amounts of new followers or fans which will ultimately lead to brand recognition and sales, saving you time and money that you might’ve spent on other more tedious marketing strategies. For small businesses especially, this kind of growth is achieved in perhaps no other way. The mechanics of Facebook contests are quite simple, and the creativity knows no bounds. Here are a few things to remember when putting together your Facebook contest.

1. Make the call to action interesting. Without making entry into the contest insanely difficult, having a contest that engages consumers and taps into their own wells of creativity is extremely valuable. Anyone can submit their email and get randomly chosen to win a contest, and due to the fact that those contests are so boring, many people often skip over them. Had the contest called for them to create something they might have participated.

2. Don’t run the contest for too long. People get burnt out on contests that drag on for too long. Generate urgency by opening up the contest with a bang and ending it not long after.

3. Make the prize desirable. With contests, you get out of them what you put into them. If your prize is a free song on iTunes, expect to get about $2 worth of buzz and interaction. On the other hand, if you’re giving away an iPad or a gift card for your business with hundreds of dollars loaded onto it, you have piqued the attention of many more potential participants who would’ve yawned at a lesser prize.

4. Promote your contest exclusively throughout its duration. A contest is worthless if no one knows about it, and no one will know about it unless you keep reminding people day after day that a contest is running and that their window of opportunity to win the coveted prize is slowly closing! Tweet out links to the contest page and post status updates reminding people how much time is left, or how many awesome entries you’ve received thus far.

5. Respond quickly. When a winner is chosen, announce it immediately and get their prize to them as soon as possible. There is no worse publicity than a contest winner ranting via Facebook about how x company has yet to send them their prize and how the “whole contest was bogus,” etc etc. Negative attention like this can undo all that the contest set out to accomplish. Be swift, and be vocal. Post pictures of the winner holding their prize, and thank everyone for participating.

Following these simple guidelines, you can start your contest today and get your Facebook page the growth you’ve been looking for.

Mothers: Step Away From The Keyboard, Put Down The Camera Phone, And Raise Your Child

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Mom if you get me a phone I can tweet at you to get your attention.

It’s no secret that smartphones and social media are addictive, and that addictive behavior, if left unchecked, will run rampant across all of your online platforms. The case of mothers and their children is no exception. I am not a parent, so I can’t speak from experience, but in analyzing the online behavior of parents, I can only assume that this series of events takes place:

1. You (or your wife) give(s) birth to a child. Glorious day.

2. You love that child very much. Why wouldn’t you?

3. You begin to assume that everyone you know is as equally obsessed with your child as you are. This is where things start to deviate…

4. You begin posting every photo ever taken of your child, every facial expression from every angle, to all of your online profiles.

5. All of your friends start to block you.

If you can believe it, there was a time when people still loved their friends babies without having to see a photo of them every 6 hours. There was a time when parents didn’t feel the compulsion to take a photo of everything their child did, and even if they wanted to they couldn’t because they likely didn’t have a camera on them every moment of every day. Back in this magical time parents usually just talked to their kids, told them things about how the world works and spent time just being there with them, not documenting their entire adolescence to appease a non-existent virtual crowd. There is even some evidence to suggest that a recent incline in accidents and injuries in children ages 5 and under is the result of parents who are not closely watching their children in hazardous situations because they’re preoccupied with their phones.

Mothers. Parents Everywhere. It’s time to put down the phone. It’s time to pick your favorite photo of your baby out of the 85 you took and just uploading that one. For the sake of your online presence, but more importantly, for the sake of the children you’re ignoring in your efforts to keep up your frequency of posts which is likely already way too high.

Hashtags: The Russian Roulette Of Social Media

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Never wear this necklace.

If there was ever a social media tool that was decisive to the point of instantly gaining or losing you followers, it’s hashtags. They can make or break your online presence; a good hashtag is a welcome addition to an appropriate post, while a bad hashtag is a visual monstrosity that breaks phone screens and people’s hearts. Here’s an example of what I mean:

“I can’t believe Hayward made that clutch 3 point shot. What a game. #UTAatDEN”

This is an example of a tweet with a good hashtag. The tweet is in reference to Gordon Hayward, a basketball player for the Utah Jazz, making a shot against the Denver Nuggets at their stadium. The hashtag is an official one that is tweeted out by the official Jazz twitter account, encouraging people to use it to discuss the game. The tweet adds to the conversation and helps people to follow the game in real time who might not be able to watch it on television.

“Time to hit the gym! #gettingthatsummerbodygrindon #whyaretherenoparkingspacesatthegym? #needtoworkonthatdiettho”

What is this. What just happened. One minute I’m just reading tweets, next thing you know I’m diving into an ancient Klingon text filled with pound signs. Who has the time to decipher these writings? Who wants to stare at a single tweet for 10 minutes trying to break up all the spots where spaces belong in that trail-of-tears-length hashtag? Those are all statements that can stand alone as tweets in and of themselves. If a hashtag can do that, then it has no right being a hashtag.

Keep your hashtags short, sweet, and to the point. Make sure they drive conversation and add your voice to a relevant topic. Basically, just use them the way they were meant to be used. You’ll get a lot more out of your hashtags this way.