THE ART OF VIRALITY

Photo+by+Barry+Johnson
Photo by Barry Johnson

Photo by Barry Johnson

Photo by Barry Johnson

Abdullah Pullin

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At Community College of Philadelphia, you’ll find many clubs looking for ways to be recognized or young entrepreneurs, media makers, and business owners struggling to get their medias off of the ground. This is in part because they don’t know how to advertise on a place where we spend almost all of our lives, online. There’s a way to fix that. Over the summer, CCP has held a few events, one of which being Millennial Media Makers of Color’s event ‘The Art of Virality’, an event organized on the 21st of August by a writer for Philadelphia Magazine, BET, and the Metro, Ernest Owens, and he gave us his “commandments” on how to conduct your online presence.

On social media, we can be a bit reckless with our content or our voice being to loud or too quiet, even the Vanguard is guilty of that. When it comes to virality it can make or break you when it comes to advertising. For the art of virality, there are ‘the 10 Ernest Commandments of Online Branding’ and all of them are necessary for making sure you stay just as professional on social media as you should in real life.

Commandment I: “Thou shall have an online purpose and presence … you need to know why you’re online and get on there if you aren’t already,” Owens commands. There are a ton of people online who post pointlessly or don’t post at all because they’re not on Facebook, or Twitter, or Instagram, which is a concerning “meh” if you aren’t selling a product or aren’t a public figure, but if you are, it’s important get on a look before you post. “In 2018, if you don’t have a social media account for your new business, you’re already shooting yourself in the foot,” Owens says. We’re living in an age where pretty much everything in terms of work is done online, including advertising and in order to be a better advertiser, you need social media and one is never enough.

Commandment II: “Thou shall know their online audience.” Know who you’re speaking to and that includes your online audience and how they respond to your content. This can be different for each social media platform you use, which is a good segway into the next commandment…

Commandment III: “Thou shall have multiple social media accounts.” Again, “you can’t just have one … you need to have at least two,” Owens says. Social media is ever changing. With new websites coming out of the blue and spontaneous shutdowns of the websites, you’ll have nothing if your one platform goes down or in the unlikely event that everyone deletes Facebook and logs back in to their MySpace account. You need to have an extra to keep people updated on what’s going on and it doesn’t have to be all of the same content on each platform. For example, when you’re a journalist using the holy trinity of social media platforms, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, you can use the three for different senses of you and keep track of who’s responding. You could even create a website to make sure everything is alright and everything is fine. “You have to have a place that censors people around you, and to me a website is the best way to do it,” Owens says.

Commandment IV: “Thou shall be consistent with online message.” Stay the same person. When you’re meeting someone face to face, you can change colors as much as you want, but it’s important to stay the same hue as you always are when dealing with your online presence or business. Always post the same topic your audience expects from you and make sure you post regularly. “Stay on topic, if you’re trying to sell food, sell food. If you’re trying to push an idea, push that idea,” Owens tells us. Making sure your online presence has an agenda, and for good measure, post on a schedule to remind your audience why they’re following you to begin with.

Commandment V: “Thou shall not buy followers.” It’s easy to tell when someone has bought their followers. For instance, “if you’ve got 20,000 followers, but you’re only getting 20 likes on a photo,” it’s clear that none of those people came for your business. Buying followers never works out in the end. They won’t be listening, they’ll eventually go away. “It messes up your metric for expectations on products,” Owens says.

Commandment VI: “Thou shall not spam followers.” In other words, don’t be annoying. If it’s on social media, that’s definitely the last thing you want to do. Say you’ve posted about an  event you’re hosting on Facebook and your followers and friends let you know in the comments that they’ll “totes be there! it’s finna be lit fam,” that’s all you have to do. Bugging them will just make them not want to come to your event, or worse, abandon your social media all together. If someone said they were going, take their word for it. In short, don’t plan too early or you’ll risk people forgetting and having to remind them about it, which can be annoying for the party taking down your information.

Commandment VII: “Thou shall not steal content.” Be original and cite. All that there is to it. “Pro-tip, if you know the person who made the picture, give them a shoutout or a photo credit,” Owens says. This helps both the person who took the photo gain more traffic to their service and you having a nice photo for your content.

Commandment VIII: “Thou shall review before posting … Think before you post,” Owens says as well as advising us to spell, fact check, and even mood check. “If you post something and you have a bad attitude, it’s going to come across that way in the post,” so you should always make sure your writing tone is appropriate for the medium you are writing for.

Commandment IX: “Thou shall stay timely and relevant,” but thou shall also not copy just to copy. Make sure your audience knows what’s in the news on the regular, but don’t follow pointless trends just to follow pointless trends. It does nothing but drive traffic to things people already know about. You won’t ever see the Vanguard dancing while someone is driving a car with an open door.

Commandment X: “Thou shall have fun and mix it up.” Be bold, but not bland. Yes, you should always stick to a topic with your online presence but it doesn’t have to be all yin and no yang and vice versa. You can post about the good, the bad, and the ugly, a tactic that shows that you aren’t always concerned with the same thing and know how to combine the negative and positive to your online presence.

Just rules to remind you to stay professional when it comes to your online presence.

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THE ART OF VIRALITY