Tag Archives: Social Media

So.cl – The 1st Holistic Social Network Experience

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As many of you already know, I’m an avid social media user.  I constantly test new platforms, strategies and I love sharing the good, the bad and the ugly.  I decided to test out So.cl today.  Let me just tell you, I’m absolutely loving it!  Some have compared the new platform to Google+, but so far, I couldn’t disagree more.  The top five reasons to join So.cl thus far are outlined below.

Engagement:  All social networks strive to provide engagement for their users.  So.cl is quick to deliver.  My first few minutes on the site yielded several followers and shortly after my first post, several more jumped on board.  Not only did they follow me, they also commented, liked and ‘Riffed’ on my posts (So.cl’s version of collaborative sharing).  Of course, engagement on social networks requires a give and take so if you aren’t contributing value to users, you’ll see little return.  That being said, so far, So.cl provides a quick and expansive return with very little effort.

Ease of Use:  Finding relevant content on So.cl is simple.  The platform allows use of hashtags and user tags similar to features found on Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Facebook.  One of my pet peeves about Facebook is the lack of opportunity to find relevant content feeds through keywords.  Twitter, on the other hand, has this feature down pat and I have previously shared ways of capitalizing on those feeds.

User Base:  Contrary to the reported marketing strategy, So.cl appears to have more conversation leaders, industry masterminds and established networkers than students in its current user base.  Creative marketing on their part?  Probably.  Facebook started as a network for college students and given the growth and popularity it’s experienced, a ‘student’ network creates subconscious value to conversation leaders, industry masterminds and established networkers.

Bookmarklet:  One of my favorite features of Pinterest is the bookmarklet.  When I find sharable content, I want to post it easily to the appropriate forum.  So.cl offers a drag and drop bookmarklet so while you are searching the web, you can easily share content to your followers through a button on your favorites bar.

Video Parties: A combination of YouTube and Google+ hangouts, this feature keeps users on the site by providing content normally found throughout a combination of different sites.  Great addition if you ask me and possibly the start of a holistic social experience.  The ‘People watching right now’ widget was a great touch.  Users can now network with like minded individuals while watching content they enjoy.  Do you like movie trailers?  Check out this video party for others who share your interest.

What is So.cl’s BEST feature?  You can pin the images!!  How many times have you wanted to pin an image from Facebook?  You can’t!  Thank you So.cl.  This small addition to the big picture makes me VERY happy!!

I have much more testing to do, but so far, So.cl far exceeds my expectations.  If you haven’t already, check it out.  While you’re there, follow me =)

~Angela

A single conversation across the table with a wise man is better than ten years mere study of books. ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Create a Living Resume with Facebook Timeline

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Enthusiasm is the yeast that makes your hopes shine to the stars. Enthusiasm is the sparkle in your eyes, the swing in your gait. The grip of your hand, the irresistible surge of will and energy to execute your ideas.~Henry Ford

This winter was brutal!  It’s time for the spring thaw and I can think of no better way to get back in the swing of things than with a fresh new idea.  

On the way home today, I was thinking about a conversation I had with a colleague at Multifamilypro’s Brainstorming Sessions. He said to catalog all of your accomplishments and milestones on LinkedIn.  Excellent idea, right?  It is!  The only problem I have found is the lack of character my updates had.  

I like my excitement to jump off the page!  Adding updates to LinkedIn wasn’t giving me the wow factor I was looking for.  

Cue Facebook Timeline!  

In about an hour, I had taken all of my important information from LinkedIn and added it to a brand new Timeline layout.  Each step of my career now has a post, special accomplishments are highlighted and I will be building a portfolio through photo galleries within the next few days.  I have a few other ideas for custom tabs so keep your eye out for another post soon.      

I’ll be cataloging my experience, accomplishments and milestones on this living resume and would like to invite you to join me on my journey…  

Special thanks to The Training Factor 🙂

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Increase Occupancy via Twitter Mind Control – The Prequel

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Finding customers on Twitter with subtle buying signals is one thing, but if your page is not up to snuff, they can and will overlook you.  First and foremost, ask yourself the following.  Is your profile picture eye-catching?  If it’s still an egg, change it now!  What about your background?  Are you still using the default or something equally as bland?  What does your about me blurb say about your community?  Is it different than every other apartment community on Twitter?  Increasing occupancy via Twitter Mind Control starts with a few simple design techniques.

TWITTER HANDLE

This may seem like a no brainer, but too often, we overlook the importance of basics.  How long did it take to develop your community name?  What was the thought process behind it?  A Twitter handle requires similar attention to detail!  This is what people will use to talk to you and about you.  Twitter limits the length of this to 15 characters.  Use them wisely.  It should be simple and easy to remember, but also recognizable.

PROFILE PICTURE   

It’s small, I know, but you can make it work!  Putting a professional picture of the pool or model is not the way to go.  You may have the best logo out there, but this is not the place to show it off.  Your profile picture should entice your buyer.  Try using a fun picture from a past resident event.  If you insist on using a pool picture, make sure there are people in the pool!  How about getting some of your residents together for a photo and having them hold an “I LOVE ABC Community” sign?  It might sound cheesy, but I would click on that before I clicked on an egg.


BACKGROUND

I’m a visual buyer.  Packaging and advertising excite me and I’ve been known to buy a product just because of the shape or color of the container.  Did you know that people make a subconscious judgment about a person, environment, or product within 90 seconds of initial viewing and that between 62% and 90% of that assessment is based on color alone*?  Take a look at this.

You can tailor your background to increase occupancy via Twitter Mind Control!  Who is your target market?  Design your background accordingly.  Given that the about me blurb is extremely limited, this is a great place for contact information as well.  Build in your address and phone number and ALWAYS include a call to action!  A simple arrow with the phrase ‘we follow back’ will suffice, but by all means, get creative with it!

ABOUT ME

This should not be a canned response that you use on every page and it should never be a sales pitch.  Instead, make it interesting!  Insert a resident testimonial or something witty about your unique features.  Add a link to your website for those mobile users who may not be able to see your entire background.

CONTENT

Now you’ve built an engaging page visually, so it’s time to attract some followers.  Start by looking for other local businesses and introduce yourself (in a neighborly tone).  Find content that’s relevant to your market and share it.  Don’t forget, adding a question to your posts will encourage conversation!  Last, but not least, it’s time to find some qualified leads!  For a practical and tested approach, see our last post here.

Social media is taking over.  Traditional marketing techniques, while still important, pale in comparison to the customer base you can reach with platforms like Twitter.  Please keep in mind, Twitter’s product line is unlimited.  It’s open to all.  To succeed, you must stand out from the competition!  A great website to get your creativity juices flowing is http://vmsd.com/ Warning:  Their design gallery may have you occupied for hours!

SPECIAL FEATURE…

What’s your ratio of followers to following?  If the numbers are skewed either way, there are adjustments that need to be made.

TOO MANY FOLLOWING:  Just as you should never hard sell your product, you should also never aggressively follow accounts for the sake of maximum exposure.  This will not only be a turn off for anyone actually interested in following you, but can also get you blacklisted by Twitter.  Once you’re blacklisted, your tweets will no longer appear in any search and you will have to contact Twitter to fix it.  If you hit 2,000 following, but your ratio of followers is too low, you will no longer be allowed to follow anyone until the ratio improves, even if you are trying to follow back a new resident or prospect!

TOO MANY FOLLOWERS:  Please don’t misunderstand me.  A high follower count can be a good thing.  It’s the ratio I’m talking about.  In my experience, most Twitter users are ecstatic when they receive a new follower notification.  It translates to engagement.  You have taken an interest in THEM!  Something the community down the road may not have.  It’s important not to be one of those corporate drones that has 50,000+ followers and is only following 1 person.  You need to follow back in order to create that engagement.  Yes it’s going to fill your newsfeed with vast amounts of information, but that’s a good thing!  It will give you uncensored insight into the minds of your target market… #priceless.

An image is not simply a trademark, a design, a slogan or an easily remembered picture. It is a studiously crafted personality profile of an individual, institution, corporation, product or service. – Daniel J. Boorstin

~Angela

*Source: http://www.vendorseek.com/using-color-to-entice.asp via CCICOLOR – Institute for Color Research

Increase Occupancy via Twitter Mind Control

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When I first created my Twitter account, I hated it.  The posts were too frequent, too confusing and there was way too much junk floating around my news feed.  For months, it sat with that infamous egg as a profile picture.  My home page would have jumped for joy at the sound of a cricket.  Just when I thought I’d never log in again, a friend planted a seed that wouldn’t stop growing.  I started out simple at first, but it soon turned into a full blown obsession.  I was determined to lease my first apartment via Twitter!  It was that obsession that now allows me to share how to effectively increase occupancy via Twitter Mind Control.

  1. Did you know that you can search for people hunting for apartments in the city of your choosing?  You can find people who might be looking for apartments but they don’t even know it yet, they’re just putting signals out there to their friends, family and anyone else who may be reading their post at that particular moment in time.  Are they looking for someone to comment and say hey I love where I live, go there?  No.  They’re looking for some kind of engagement (as any person is on any social platform) and most times, if you look at the post, they really don’t get it!  Now this doesn’t mean that you should only search apartment hunting or looking for apartments.
  2. Create a list of keywords to search daily.  The key here is not only to find those actively searching, but also to discover and engage those that are giving off passive buying signals.  Some of my favorite searches are high electric or gas bills, noisy neighbors, long commutes and horrific roommates.   Once you find a relevant post, should you comment on that and try to sell them?  Absolutely…NOT!
  3. Never, ever sell your community on your initial contact!  Instead, scroll through their tweets over the last week and find a relatable post.  This could be something as simple as a movie they just saw, a restaurant they just ate at, or even a sporting event they are tweeting about.  Comment on that.  Be human.  Your community will sell itself.
  4. Don’t get discouraged if people you’re contacting don’t respond.  How often do you entertain a cold call?  That is essentially what you’ve just done.  The difference is, everyone looks at their @mentions, EVERYONE!  The connection you just made has now subliminally put your community at the top of their list.  When they start looking and you pop up on an ILS or Google, they’ll say “hey that looks familiar, I think they tweeted me….about a … movie?  I’m sure it’s still in my twitter mentions somewhere…..”  Now hopefully you’re twitter page doesn’t look like a bunch of cold calls all lined up like ducks in a row.  You need to have other content as well.
  5. Search for your community often.   Tweets can be the best form of testimonial money can buy.  Why?  Because they’re FREE!  There’s this wonderful little button called “RETWEET”.  Learn it, love it and live by it.  When you’re searching your list of keywords every day, throw in your community name.  See who’s talking about you.  Give yourself the opportunity to retweet the positive and reply to the negative.  This will paint a vivid picture for anyone looking at your page.

There was an amazing segment at Brainstorming that focused on transparency.  You may have seen the ChapStick fiasco…yikes.  That is an epic transparency #fail!  How about  live reviews for Dominoes Pizza flying across the jumbo screen in Times Square?  Can you say #winning?!  The growing trend of word of mouth marketing is making and breaking businesses as we speak.  Attention spans are shortening and tolerance for conventional marketing is dwindling.  Today is the day we look for products our friends and family endorse.  We look for the product with the highest rating or the most positive reviews.  A well maintained Twitter page can help.  Start searching today or yesterday’s tweet could become tomorrow’s lost lease.

We’ll be coming out with part 2 soon.  It will focus on the importance of your Twitter design, relevant content and a special feature on the ins and outs of following/followers.  Don’t want to wait?  I don’t blame you.  The Training Factor has an excellent social media course with some great Twitter tips to get you started.

Here is a real Twitter example…

If you get a bad review, you take that in your stride. – Anish Kapoor

~Angela

4 Ways to Add Excitement to Your Marketing!

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How do you view marketing?  Do you get excited about your creations?  Do you even attempt to create anything?  It’s the most amazing feeling ever!  Looking back on your work and saying ‘I did that!’  Think it’s too hard?  It’s NOT.

Social media makes it easier and easier every day to express yourself in your marketing.  Even if you don’t have the approval to implement anything immediately, consider just doing it anyway.  I don’t mean hijacking your company website or even their facebook.  Design a ‘test’ page and ‘test’ new ideas!  Apps and rules are ever changing, so staying current is key, but here’s some starting points for you.

Custom HTML:  For anyone who isn’t really computer savvy, this may seem like an impossible task.  It’s really not.  YouTube tutorials for beginners are a huge help.  Once you get the basics down, you can launch just about anything.  With some basic HTML and FREE apps I did this:

Flash banners, buttons and text:  Take it up a notch!  Look for free sites that allow you to create fun flash text, functional buttons and maybe even flaming banners.  Here’s an example I created from a free site (the finished product is interactive and moves) –

IWIPA: THE most AMAZING thing since sliced bread!!  Don’t have a budget for web hosting?  Create a website INSIDE your Facebook page…FREE!  I haven’t tried the paid version, but the FREE version is just peachy.  Check out this or this as examples.  You can block items from people who don’t like your page, make more tabs than you know what to do with and utilize the basic HTML you just learned by watching how to YouTube videos.  You will not be disappointed I PROMISE!

Attention Grabbing Pictures:  How’d they do that?  Well, I’ll give you a hint.  It has a lot to do with Word, Paint and this wonderful little thing called ‘snipping tool’.  Want more info?  Let me know, I’d be happy to help!  Didn’t know Word could do such things?  Check out The Training Factor’s Word course.  It ROCKS!  (Note:  The following picture was created using the newest version of Word.  The above mentioned course is for an earlier version of Word.)

 <~ He’s never seen a palm tree…EVER.

The more excited you are, the more exciting your marketing will be!  GET ENTHUSED!

~Angela

“Enthusiasm is excitement with inspiration, motivation, and a pinch of creativity.”  – Bo Bennett

Teach ’em To Reach For The Stars!

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The worst thing we can do for someone’s development is to discourage them; especially to discourage someone who makes progress, no matter how slow it is. –MMD

The way you look at someone and the tone of voice you use may be discouraging your staff and causing damage beyond repair.

Perceptions lead to, stem from and essentially are opinions and while inevitable, can be damaging on so many levels if made public.  You are who you are, you do what you do, you say what you say and that’s why this is the land of the free and the home of the brave.  Artists push boundaries, scientists imagine the unimaginable, comedians identify the humor in in everything and why should you be any different?  Why do we obsess over what other people think?  What good would it do if we conformed and masked our true self?

I agree that not all behavior is appropriate for the workplace so please don’t misinterpret the meaning behind this post.  Don’t lose sight of your customer and the level of service necessary to keep them.  On the same token, don’t lose sight of who YOU are and the level of acceptance YOU need to keep growing.

Bob Dylan, Jim Carrey, Lady Gaga, Jeff Dunham, Eminem…I could go on for hours.  Do they offend you?  People’s perceptions dictate popularity.  No wait, they don’t.  Ok well technically they do.  Majority rules right?  I’m sure many of you reading this will answer yes to the question above and many of you may answer no.  Whatever you perceive something to be, someone else will perceive the opposite.  Are you willing to lose a good employee because you perceive them a certain way?

This post was inspired by several people I encountered this weekend.  I’m not going to put anyone out there, so take me for example.  I have no concept of an inside voice, I subconsciously (most times, but occasional have done it on purpose) push boundaries, sometimes I fall off my shoes, and I refuse to be fake.  What you see is what you get.  I take things and run with them.  I’m not doing it to one up you or throw you under the bus.  I don’t do it to make myself look good and I’m definitely not trying to take someone’s job.  I do it because it makes me feel accomplished.  It gives me a sense of pride.  (No not the voice or clumsy tendencies, those just come as a bonus.)  I’m kidding…wait no I’m not.

Sure I’ve come across people who don’t care for me and that’s to be expected, but please don’t look at me with disgust, talk behind my back, or treat me like I’m less of a person than you.  If something I’ve done truly is offensive to you, tell me.  If I’ve done something wrong, teach me.  Please, please, PLEASE, don’t discourage me!

Employees – Find your niche!  Grow from your experiences.  Learn to ignore the ignorant.  Be yourself!  I promise not everyone will judge you.

Employers, managers, trainers – Stop judging the book by its cover!  Explain your position. Teach them the right way.  Encourage creativity.  I promise your staff and their performance will thank you.

Ask yourself – Are your perceptions, discouraging your staff?

The Reason Why Your ?’s Aren’t Getting Answers

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I don’t like to talk at people, I like to talk to them…In my head you’re answering the questions as you’re reading.  How do you engage your audience?  Do you ramble on about your fitness centers and spacious floor plans?  Descriptive wording can capture the reader, but to keep them reading you have to make them think!  Creating Home, I dedicate this to you and your inspiring posts 🙂

They say you should end all e-mails with a question because it will entice a response.  That’s absolutely true, but are you really taking advantage of the ? and it’s uncanny ability to engage your reader?

Consider this – A prospect sends an e-mail with a blank comment box obviously using the contact button on your website or an ILS system.  Since they were just on the website, they know many of the amenities and features your community offers.  They receive the following response:

Dear Sam,

Thank you for contacting ABC community!  Our apartments are filling fast!  Your rent includes:

  •  All inclusive utilities
  •  Wired/Wi-Fi internet
  •  Cable with HBO
  •  Leather living room furniture
  •  Coffee table, end table and blah blah blah
  •  blah
  •  blah

Amenities:

  •  blah
  •  blah
  •  blah
  •  blah

Would you like to come in for a tour?

I already know all of this!  The ? wasn’t effective because I lost interest at bullet point #5, stopped reading and more than likely deleted your message.  Don’t feature dump.  Let your website do the selling so you can focus on the closing!  Take a different approach.

Thank you for your interest in the ABC community Sam.  We would love to have you here!  Is there anything that you are unhappy with at your current place?  We’ve done some things differently than other communities in the area and I would love to show you around.  Are you available for a tour today?

Hi Sam!  I see that you just visited our website.  Were you able to check out the virtual tour?  Some of our residents helped us make it!  Would you like to stop in and see what else we have to offer?  I’d love to show you around!

Imagine your e-mail is an actual conversation.  Talk to your reader not at them… If you wouldn’t say it face to face, don’t send it!

~Angela

Boredom, after all, is a form of criticism. – Wendell Phillips

Can you hear me now? Will you hear me later?

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So often, we take for granted the very people who pay our paycheck.  Truth is, it’s not the owner of the company or the head of your payroll department you should be brown-nosing, it’s your customer.  Without them you would have no paycheck.  It is important to take time for yourself so I’m not saying you should become a workaholic robot, but you should consider taking your level of customer service up a notch.

Jen Piccotti’s recent blog got me thinking.  As a paying resident, what do I expect?

Some people believe that having emergency maintenance is enough.  I don’t think that’s the case.  Instant gratification is no longer a luxury, it’s an expectation.  When I have a question, I want an answer!

On site professionals know that being available isn’t always the bees knees.  Residents know where you live and some don’t hesitate to impose.  What if they could just send you an e-mail knowing you’ll respond?  They would probably rather do that anyway, but they have been trained to believe that office hours and email responses end simultaneously so they seek out other methods for a faster response.

If your community has a Facebook page, you may have noticed this already.  Residents don’t get an instant response from sending you an e-mail so they make their complaint public.  The Apartment Expert – Lisa Trosien posed the question “Do you think people use Facebook while browsing and shopping for an apartment?”  –  Probably not intentionally, but word of mouth marketing is huge. People retain what their friends say about everything including their living situation. Comments by friends can cause them to migrate towards or pass over your community due to something they heard months before. It’s important to make sure your current residents are praising you not bashing you.

Making yourself available doesn’t mean that you will be inundated with silly requests or questions all the time, but it will instill a sense of confidence in your residents that I can almost guarantee, your competition does not offer.

~ Angela

It is not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It is the customer who pays the wages. -Henry Ford

Courteous treatment will make a customer a walking advertisement. – James Cash Penney

Is Your Face Costing You Leases?

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I often listen to a local radio show on the way to work.  Today, the host was talking about his recent trip to Europe and something called “face control”.  This sparked one of those dangerous brainstorming sessions…you know the ones you come out of wondering how you got from point A to point B without crashing.  Then, because that wasn’t bad enough, I called a good friend of mine for some input.  She had never heard the term either so I looked it up.  To my surprise, it wasn’t at all related to any of my brainstorm tangents.

From “feis kontrol”, a Russian klub colloquialism of the English words “face control.” Your “face” is your level of wealth, beauty, power, social standing, and overall desirability. – Urban Dictionary

Deep right?  Here’s how I see it…

How does this apply to the multifamily industry, specifically your leasing office?  You might…no should be…familiar with the importance of body language and it’s effect on prospect buying tendencies.  So what about your face?  Could your facial expressions be losing you leases?  Are your facial expressions a violation of fair housing?  Very possibly yes.

We have gut reactions to many things and people are no exception.  The way someone smells, the clothes they wear, piercings or tattoos they have, something they say or just their overall appearance can cause gut reactions – very visible ones at that.  This is not to say that you should become desensitized to appearance, but just gain control of your reactions.

Have you ever walked into a vacant with a prospect, had it smell not so fresh, found dead bugs or cobwebs in the corners and tried to redirect their attention somewhere else?  Your face control or lack thereof could  have been the reason they leased with you or went with the property down the street.

Visual ques aren’t the only things to spark a facial reaction however.  I mentioned smells before, but how about words.  Test your reactions with these descriptions:

-A man, clean-shaven with piercing blue eyes and golden blonde hair wearing a freshly pressed black suit and shoes you can see your face in walked into our office today for a tour.

-The apartment I showed him had fresh carpet lines, smelled like that Febreeze I love and the floors were literally squeaky clean.

-A man with a ten o’clock shadow, horn rimmed glasses and a lip ring wearing a sweat suit and dirty tennis shoes walked into our office for a tour.

-The apartment I showed him had a musty smell, cobwebs everywhere and someone tracked mud all over the carpet.

Just imagine if a co-worker was describing something and then a prospect walks through the door.  You may have to change your facial expression pretty quickly.  This can be a great team building excercise!  When the office is closed of course…

If you would rather discover your level of face control in private, do a Google image search for some of the things mentioned above, turn on your webcam and click away.  You’re going to see a myriad of different photos that may cause gut reactions.  I urge you to watch and record yourself.  You may be surprised at the face(s) you make.

Still wondering about the term face control?  Well here’s all I could find on the origin:

Feis kontrol is the power of the velvet rope, originally referring to the surly bouncers at the most exclusive Moscow klubs. It can literally refer to club door personnel, or it can be used figuratively to refer to some ideal social arbiter.  A sophisticated addition to bouncing at night clubs. Usually performed by a designated host(s). Face control persons are there to decide which individuals in the line are privileged to get in without having to wait in line and sometimes avoiding cover charges/lists/frisking. If you get picked out from the line at the club it means that you’re privileged! – Urban Dictionary

Oh and if you’re not familiar with how important body language is, stop by The Training Factor.  They have a course for that!

Thank you to Melanie B. for your help on this!  I love our morning phone calls 🙂

~Angela

“Expressions of disapproval are on a level of vulgarity that cannot be tolerated. The way to express disapproval is to do without applause.” – Rudolf Bing

OMG did you see this??!

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OMG did you see this??!

In a world where the click of a mouse can take us across the world and back in a matter of seconds, it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle.  That’s why it’s so critical to stand out!  If your marketing plan doesn’t include the goal to go viral, maybe you should think about adding it.  No, I’m not talking about the common cold or some new bio weapon.

Do you remember this kid?  How about these babbling babies?  Millions of people saw these videos in just a few hours thanks to the ease and popularity of sharing through multiple social media sites.  Last October, CNN reported that 43% of news sharing online was via social media.  I’m sure that number has increased since then after seeing these staggering Facebook statistics.

More than 30 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums, etc.) shared each month.

So how do we make a video or other piece of media go viral?  I searched YouTube for an answer and was surprised to see several home-made videos with not so impressive numbers.  If I’m going to take the advice of someone on YouTube, their “how to” video (at least if about going viral) better have more than just a few thousand views.  After being a little disappointed with that, I decided to search google for the same.  Again, not so impressed.

Several blog posts and irritating pay to view sites later, I realized something.  No one can teach you how to go viral, you just have to do it.  Who’s your target audience?  What creative way can you use to get their attention?  It’s amazing what people will share.  Watch your news feed for inspiration!  Even if whatever you’re thinking has already been thought of, how you execute it makes all the difference.

~Angela

“You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club.” — Jack London