Sunday Social Challenge #4: Distribute an eBook to your Subscribers

Sunday Social Challenge
Image of a Kindle and a cup of coffee.

Photo by: BibBornem

Forget what the hipsters say about real books having real curves. Electronic books (eBooks) are the future. They save paper, money, and space.

This week, create and send an eBook containing helpful advice or inspiring stories for your mailing list subscribers (if you do not have a mailing list, create one for free using MailChimp). Alternatively, sell them on Kindle, Lulu or Smashwords.

Just for formatting’s sake, ensure your book has the following elements in them:

  • Cover Page
  • Contents Page
  • Headers and Footers
  • A standard, readable font like Helvetica or Times New Roman for your body text

Creating an eBook is really simple. Just start typing your content on Pages (an Apple application), insert appropriate visuals, and export it to the ePub format. If you use a Windows computer, simply use Word and export it to a PDF document instead.

Now, start writing and remember me when you become a famous author!

 

Sunday Social Challenge #3: Trick or treat

Sunday Social Challenge

The wind howled and the skies crackled with thunder. It was just like the night grandma passed away exactly 2 years ago. I stood before her tombstone with my umbrella, on one hand and a bouquet of flowers on the other. Periwinkles- they were her favourite. I placed them on the marble surface and strolled back to my car. My hands reached into my pocket for the car keys.

Wait a minute. Where are my car keys?

My car was locked so I knew I must have took it out. I had not carried any bag with me so it could not be anywhere else… nowhere except the graveyard.

I rushed back to the tomb to check if I had accidentally left it there with the flowers. When I arrived, I sighed with relief upon the sight of my car keys. Strangely though, the flowers were no longer anywhere in sight. In its place lay the following note.

You have two options for this week's challenge: 1. Treat your fans to a little something. 2. Trick someone and create a video about it.

Created by: Lois Poh using Canva

I apologise for the anti-climatic ending to the story. And no, my grandma has not kicked the bucket yet (touch wood). Nonetheless, please go ahead with the challenge.

Treat

Instead of people knocking on your door for candy, go sending a little discount or gift coupon to fans on your Facebook page. This rewards your loyal customers and could potentially drive extra sales. Remember to attach a Halloween greeting and a hoax horror story about the customer who didn’t redeem the coupon.

Trick

Prank reaction videos are rather popular nowadays. There are many ways to scare people but this Chucky Bus Stop Ad gets my vote on the most ingenious way to scare the daylights out of people and create publicity at the same time.

Get creative and remember, you have to make them go “Wow! I didn’t expect that!”.

Design Features that Draw Attention

Digital Copywriting and Design

According to Treisman’s study on visual search, there are two ways which people scan for information in a picture.

  • Serial search: Conscious attention is needed to identify object
  • Parallel search: Object automatically “pops-out” at you regardless of whether you are paying attention

Why does one picture require a serial search while the other only needs a parallel search? The reason is that one contains a feature that enables the “pop-out” effect whereas the other does not. When creating visual content, there are four features we can use to ensure the more important information stand out.

1. Size Matters

We all know larger ads are bigger for a reason- they get more attention. Give the most attractive or important information the largest space in your visual.

Bad Jellyfish Poster: Text is too small and requires a longer look to notice the poster's caption. Photo by: Lois Poh

Bad Jellyfish Poster- Text is too small and requires a longer look to notice the poster’s caption.
Photo by: Lois Poh

Good Jellyfish Poster: Text is big enough to draw attention at first glance. Photo by: Lois Poh

Good Jellyfish Poster- Text is big enough to draw attention at first glance.
Photo by: Lois Poh

2. Shift Orientation

Our brains are inclined to pick out things that go against the ordinary direction of things. Consider creating a diagonal banner but ensure that it has minimal text on it; people do not want to tilt their heads to read a whole paragraph.

People notice central information, and people notice deviant information

Created by: Lois Poh using Canva

3. Colour Contrasts

If it is not clear in the picture what the focus should be placed on, simply use Fotor Photo Effects and select the “colour splash” effect. The rest of the photo will turn to black and white except for the areas you decide to remain coloured.

A mostly black-and-white wedding shot with a coloured bouquet of flowers.

Screenshot from Fotor Photo Effects Website (22 October 2014)

4. Create Motion

Another way to attract attention is to create moving images. Do not fret if you do not have any animation-creating experience of sorts. You can simply make a photo montage by uploading your photos onto this gif maker site.

Little Man Gif

A Moving Gif Image of a Little Man
Created by: Lois Poh

Create Live Events on Different Social Media

Branding and Marketing

Remember the first time you took out your phone to vote for your favourite reality TV contestant as the show played live? I felt excited. I felt Iike I was one of the gods deciding the fate of people behind the screen. Now, brands and ordinary people could do it on various social media platforms- free of charge.

1. Twitter: Live-Tweet Reporting

First Live-Tweet From Space Source: Social Media SEO

First Live-Tweet From Space
Source: Social Media SEO

This is the simplest of all live social media events. Nonetheless, there are some things that you should take note of while doing this.

  •  Announce Live-Tweet reporting before the event
  • Create a hashtag for the event
  • Develop a pattern by posting a tweet every set time interval
  • Aim for quality tweets, not quantity tweets
  • Get your facts straight, or expect some shots to be fired

2. Instagram: Instawalks

Instawalks are pretty similar to Live-Tweets, except that you report an event by uploading geo-located photos instead of tweets. Warby Parker, a hipster eyewear label, did this by inviting people to chronicle their journey from the company HQ to the rooftop of Gansevoort for free drinks. Attendees tagged those photos with their spectacles and the hashtag #warbywalk.

Photos from Warby Walk featuring the Warby Parker spectacles

Photos from Warby Walk
Source: Brandhook

3. Facebook: Facebook Live Video

Treat your fans to a live show on your Facebook Page for free. Videos from famous people will also be posted on the website.

President Obama on a Facebook Live Video. Screenshot taken from Facebook Live Website. Date: 22 October 2014

President Obama on a Facebook Live Video
Screenshot taken from Facebook Live Website (22 October 2014)

Also consider Q&A segment where your audience can tweet their questions and place a unique hashtag in it. Selected questions could then be answered during the live broadcast. This gives you social media coverage on both Facebook and Twitter. Double win!

4. Pinterest: Pinterest Mosaics and “Live-Pinning”

To be honest, Pinterest Mosaics are not exactly live events that engage directly with people. It is simply having a team posting on Pinterest simultaneously such that trippy mosaics form on people’s screens. Have a look at how UNIQLO did it.

Alternatively, you could do “live-pinning” to provide users with new ideas as an event unfolds. Just take the cue from Christine Martinez who “live-pinned” a photo shoot for fashion brand Calypso.

5. Google+: Google Hangouts on Air

Select some of your loyal fans to have a meet and greet session via a Google+ Hangouts. This allows you to meet people around the world simultaneously. The video would also be automatically uploaded on your YouTube Channel. Check out TONI&GUY Hair Meet Wardrobe Tutorials on Google Hangouts Live.

If you have any other ideas for Live Events on Social Media, feel free to let me know by placing a comment below.

Sunday Social Challenge #2: Whisper and Confessions

Sunday Social Challenge
Confession Booth Photo Credits: David Amsler

Confession Booth
Photo Credits: David Amsler

It’s Sunday again. Time to enter behind the screen and confess all my dirty little sins. This time, however, there is no priest that grunts intermittently. This time, I do not recite any Hail Mary prayers. This time, I am met with even dirtier secrets on the Whisper App.

Launched in 2012, Whisper is a secret sharing app that gains about 2.5 billion views monthly. Recently, sites such as Buzzfeed has been compiling some pretty interesting collections of secrets of different themes ranging from sexism in the workplace to ebola.

For this Sunday Social Challenge, use Whisper to search for confessions related to your business, product, or service. Compile 5-10 of such stories on your blog and/or social media. It is a great way to engage your audience, get feedback, and gain some laughs.

Alternatively, if you have a large enough company, you can create your own a confessions page on Facebook for your internal community. This removes the pressure of seeming professional, and creates a shared platform to discuss opinions and experiences in an honest manner. As Oscar Wilde says, “Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.”

The Long-Tail and 6 Weird Social Networking Sites

Branding and Marketing

Mention “social networking” to any marketer and one would probably think of sites like Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. Fair enough. These are the usual sites most people flock to. But how about the thousands of other social networking sites that do not have millions of users?  Should we ignore them?

According to Anderson’s long-tail theory, the answer is no.

In a nutshell, the long-tail theory suggests that the economy in the 21st century is no longer focused on the “hits” that typically make up 80 percent of sales. These days, more focus is placed on the “long-tail” of niches that target a narrow audience.

Instead of going for the mainstream audience on Facebook, consider marketing to users from this list of peculiar social networking sites. A word of warning though, this list may be a little too unusual for your liking. But you get the drift- look beyond mainstream social network sites to connect with customers.

1. REM Cloud

Screenshot taken from REMcloud Website

Screenshot taken from REMcloud Website (19 October 2014)

Simply type in your dream from last night and connect with others who have similar dreams worldwide. This site allows you to discuss dreams with others and view global trends of dreams.

Users: People who like interpreting their dreams. Currently, there are 1,426,068 likes on the REMcloud Facebook page.

Good for marketing:

  • Any business that sells sleeping pills, mattresses, and/or pillows
  • Clairvoyants who interpret dreams
  • Dreamcatchers

2. Red Karaoke

Screenshot taken from Red Karaoke Website

Screenshot taken from Red Karaoke Website (19 October 2014)

If you are self-conscious about singing in public with your less-than-radio-worthy voice, join Red Karaoke and sing with other average singers like yourself!

Users: Aspiring karaoke singers. Currently 7,995 likes on the Red Karaoke Facebook page.

Good for marketing:

  • Singing classes
  • Actual Karaoke lounges

3. Dogster

Screenshot taken from Dogster website

Screenshot taken from Dogster website (19 October 2014)

This online dog paradise allows dog lovers to play dog-themed games, read dog-related articles and adopt their own dog. But perhaps the most amusing function is that users can write a blog pretending to be their dog and send other dogs (read: other users pretending to be their dog) “Paw mail”. Check out catster if you are more of a cat person.

Users: Dog lovers, obviously. Currently, there are 155, 548 likes on the Dogster Facebook page.

Good for marketing:

  • Dog Cafes
  • Pet shops
  • SPCA campaigns

4. Fubar

Screenshot taken from fubar website

Screenshot taken from fubar website (19 October 2014)

Welcome to the coolest virtual club where you can meet people without paying for drinks or getting hangovers. Feel free to get that cute guy or girl wasted with virtual drinks, and chill out at their virtual lounge afterwards. There are also games, chat functions, and a button where other users can rate your attractiveness. The best part? People are only allowed to rate you an 11.

Users: The usual people you see at wild bars. There are more than 10,000 monthly users.

Good for marketing:

  • Sleazy bars and clubs
  • Cheap beer brands

5. Ugly Schmucks

Screenshot taken from ugly schmucks

Screenshot taken from Ugly Schmucks (19 October 2014)

Tired of getting turned down because of your looks? Cheer up, because Ugly Schmucks allows you to date other ugly people who can empathise with you. Although it sounds like a reject-club, I realised that these people are not particularly ugly and have less off-putting opening lines than what you would find on Tinder.

Users: People who think they are ugly schmucks.

Good for marketing:

6. Darwin Dating

Screenshot taken from Darwin Dating

Screenshot taken from Darwin Dating (19 October 2014)

The opposite of Ugly Schmucks. Darwin dating is based on Charles Darwin’s principal of natural selection where good-looking people should only date good-looking people to further good genes. Not sure if you qualify? Take their Chimp calculator test or take a look at this list of what is banned.

Things banned at Darwin Dating: Saggyy boobs, sweat patches, weird pubic hair, pocket protectors, Weird pubic hair,  Mullets,  Fishnet stockings,  Fat rolls, Acne,  Out of proportion noses,  Non-symmetrical faces or bodies,  Red hair and too many freckles , Hair in the wrong places on women,  Too much hair in the wrong places on men,  Pasty skin,  Patchy skin, Large ears,  Lack of personal hygiene,  Out of date fashions,  Out of date hair styles (especially perms), Large hips (men), Small jaws (men),  Teeth that aren't straight , Teeth that aren't white, Uncared for fingernails,  Bald patches (men, but particularly, women),  Facial hair (women),  Long back hair (men),  Anyone with a middle part,  Ear and/or nose hair,  Crooked or webbed toes,  Webbed fingers or toes Bent essential anatomy (men)  Oversized essential anatomy (women),  Lack of visible skin between eyebrows,  Mid-digital hair,  Ski jump noses,  Wobbly upper arms,  Hairy feet,  Large gaps between teeth,  Overuse of bright blue eyeshadow

Darwin Dating Rules
Screenshot taken from Darwin Dating (19 October 2014)

Upon signing up, you would need to wait 12 hours before your photo is approved (or rejected) by other members.

Users: Narcissists looking for other narcissists.

Good for marketing:

  • Shavers
  • Teeth whiteners
  • Gym clubs
  • Anything that makes people more “hot” and less “chimp”

If you know anymore interesting social media sites, feel free to share them in the comment box below!