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15. The Star in the Crowd

J. S. McDougall O'Reilly Media ePub

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I used to dream of being a rock star. My older brother was a musician and I wanted to tour the country rocking out every night and relaxing every day. I dreamed of throwing giant concerts in packed stadiums with tens of thousands of people waiting to hear me play.

My thought was that Id put on a hat and glasses and mill about in the crowd before the show. Moving through the crowdsdisguised and sheepishI would listen in on what people were talking about, see who was in the crowd, and get a feel for what it was like to be in the audience. If I was ever discovered, I thought, Id hand out some backstage passes and all would be fine.

Finally, in fifth grade, when it came time for me to choose an instrument to play in the student band, I told my mother I would be learning the drums. She told me I would be learning the violin. And so it was. No concerts. No crowd. But twenty years later I can still bang out a nasty Mary Had A Little Lamb on the ol horsehair.

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8. Treasure Hunt

J. S. McDougall O'Reilly Media ePub

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Want to know whats more fun than a treasure hunt? Well, Ill tell you. Nothing.

This project is a favorite of mine. Itlike all my favoritescombines the power of Twitter with action in the real world. Theres something so satisfying about turning tweets into motion. Whenever I watch a Twitter treasure hunt or some similar project thats got people running all around, Im always reminded of being eleven years old and talking to my brothers and friends over our cheap walkie-talkies. Even though we were just playing in the woods behind our suburban house, with these global communication devices, we could inspire, organize, and mobilize great imaginary campaigns. We would hunt for treasure, storm distant battlefields, and perform clandestine reconnaissance missions to save our little sister from the sandboxall before it was time for our olive-loaf sandwiches. #omnomnom

This project captures that spirit of youth and combines it with cut-throat consumerist bargain-hunting. What could be better?!

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17. Smile. You’re on Camera.

J. S. McDougall O'Reilly Media ePub

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Two of the most common forms of contests online are photo contests and video contests. Even before the Internet made the creation and sharing of multimedia easy, companies were exchanging cash and prizes for compelling multimedia involving their products. Obviously, the Internet and the proliferation of cheap, high-quality cameras have only made this process easier. Now, nearly anyone can create multimedia content if properly compelled to do so. For little work and not too much expense, this style of project will help you create a social media marketing war chest of user-submitted content.

Do some research and strategic planning before striking out on this project. Come up with a contest that will target and engage your ideal customers. You may need to experiment a bit before you find an approach that strikes a chord, but grant yourselfor your employeesthe flexibility to do so. Dont assume that youve got it right (or that you have been as successful as is possible) in your first attempt. There are many ways to approach this project, and the approach you take should account for your audience, your products, your company, your branding, and your personality.

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3. Hashtag Games

J. S. McDougall O'Reilly Media ePub

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Twitter uses a system of hashtags to organize the millions of conversations that are all happening simultaneously. A hashtag is a keyword or phrase preceded by the pound sign: #.

Twitters system of hashtags is an organic creationinvented not by Twitter, but by Twitter-user Chris Messina in August of 2007to help users organize their conversations around topic areas. There is no hashtag registration process. There is no monitoring service. People create and insert hashtags into their messages as they please for a number of different reasons.

If youve spent any time on Twitter, youve no doubt seen them in the wild already. People sometimes append them to their messages to indicate the type of message.

Or, sometimes people work the hashtag into the text of their message:

Either way, the authors of these messages are using hashtags to ensure that their messages show up in a larger stream of messages devoted to the topic represented by each included hashtag.

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19. Topic Quotes

J. S. McDougall O'Reilly Media ePub

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Every business has a nicheor several nichesin which it operates. Every niche has its heroes. Every hero has his or her quoteswhich usually boil down to 140 characters or fewer. See where Im going with this?

Sharing quotes from the heavy-hitters within your niche is a great engagement project for the slower days in your marketing calendar. This project wont drive traffic or sales, but it will keep your audience active and it will pitch you and your company as a leader in the niche.

Running this project is dirt simple. Pick your favorite saying or quote from someone in your niche and send it out with an appropriate hashtag. After you send out the first quote, invite others to contribute their own.

As youre the one launching the project, you have the freedom to determine the theme of the quotes youd like to collect and share. You can ask for funny quotes, inspirational quotes, insightful quotes, or even topic-based quotes. For example, if London Fog (@londonfogbrand)the famous raincoat companywanted to start up this project, they could ask for rain quotes for our raincoats.

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