A Day in the Life of a Cube Intern

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Alex Pugliese

Hi there, I’m Alex – student, lover of travel and fashion, concert-goer, chocolate addict and the resident Cube intern! Time has certainly flown since I began my internship in mid-2011, and with it I have gained an incredible amount of first-hand experience and insight into the world of public relations. Choosing a career path wasn’t easy though and I actually got off to a bit of a rocky start. This is my story and a snapshot of my role as Cube’s intern.

In 2011, I began a media degree at Macquarie University however quickly became unsure of what I wanted to get out of it. I decided the best option for me was to leave the course and take a year off– surely it couldn’t hurt? My plan was to take a year to enjoy ‘out of school life’, and hopefully gain clarity on which direction I wanted to head in.

Little did I know, within six months of my ‘gap year’ – I would know exactly which path I intended to take. In June 2011, the Cube team opened their arms to me for what was originally a four week work experience stint so I could gain a better grasp on the real PR world – and I’ve been a part of the Cube team ever since! After a couple of weeks working with such a brilliant team, I knew PR was where I wanted to be. With that, I re-applied for university and am now a year deep into my media degree at Macquarie University.

Cube has been such a fabulous and vibrant place to have been introduced into the exciting world of PR. During my time at Cube I have assisted team members across many projects and clients – from sourcing media contacts to assisting with project evaluations to pitching stories to media outlets. As my experience has progressed at Cube, so have the tasks I’ve been involved in and thus the overall knowledge I’ve gained.

So what does a normal day as an intern at Cube look like? The beginning of my day always begins with some media monitoring and a few media contact updates – from there I could be working on anything  from digital strategy, new business research or even helping the team with client presentations. I guess it would be right to say there is no ‘standard’ day at Cube as each is different – which has to be one of my favourite aspects of working in PR at Cube, the variety!

Another favourite…the social perks! The monthly social is always something each team member looks forward to, especially me! We always have something fun and different planned – most recently The Swisse Colour Run and a visit to the Noodle Markets during Sydney Festival. And of course weekly Friday night drinks, the office lunches, internal celebrations and annual volunteer days. Working amongst the Cube team never gets boring!

Helping out at the local Waterloo Neighbourhood Centre for their annual Salvation Army community Christmas lunch in 2012

Where to from here? First and foremost, I’ll be finishing my degree within the next few years and I will definitely be aiming to develop a career in the PR industry with my internship at Cube forming a very solid basis. But I also intend to make the most of my time and travel (a lot!) while enjoying university life. For anyone tossing up whether PR is the career choice for them, I highly recommend getting out there and getting some real world, hands on experience!

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Social Highlights of 2012

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Niki Hennessy

To cap off 2012 and welcome the New Year, Cube has decided to jump on the ‘year in review’ bandwagon and compile a list of social media highlights (in no particular order) from last year. Here are some of our favourite trends, milestones and moments in social media from 2012. We hope you enjoy! Let us know if there are any you love or that we’ve missed.

Felix Baumgartner’s freefall from 128,100 feet
Felix Baumgartner’s space jump was not only an amazing feat of human adrenaline-junkie craziness, but a very effective piece of branded content from Red Bull.

The first ‘social’ Olympics

Touted as the first ‘social’ Olympics, London 2012 certainly brought a new aspect to the Olympics commentary. More tweets were sent during a single day of the London Olympics than were posted during the entire 17 days of the Beijing Olympics. For the first time athletes tweeting during the games were given the chance to broadcast their own thoughts, experiences and messages of thanks to the world. While most were positive and grateful, there were some who still needed to be briefed on the ‘dos and don’ts’ of social media as a public figure.
According to Radian6, the first day of the Olympics scored almost 3 million mentions on Twitter alone. Usain Bolt had over 960,000 social media mentions throughout the games, taking gold as the athlete most discussed, whilst Michael Phelps came in second with 830,000.

Ridiculously Photogenic Guy
(We couldn’t compile a highlights list without him :) )
Being snapped turning to smile at a friend while participating in a fun run turned into an internet sensation for Zeddie Little aka ‘Ridiculously Photogenic Guy’. The photo, posted by a photographer Will King, became one of the highlight (we believe) memes of 2012.

The rise and rise of Pinterest
Having only officially become an ‘open’ platform in August 2012, the exponential growth of Pinterest has been incredible. The network drives more referral traffic to retailers than
YouTube, LinkedIn and Google+ combined and sees users spend an average of just under 17 minutes on the site.

With the launch of business profiles last October, 2013 will be an interesting year for Pinterest, and we think we can expect to see more growth and developments from the platform.

The first Pinterest campaign
Kotex in Israel, with help from Smoyz, was quick off the mark when Pinterest began to boom, launching the first Pinterest campaign with Women’s Inspiration Day.
A simple idea, beautifully executed, Women’s Inspiration Day saw Kotex find 50 women and identify what inspired them through their Pinterest boards. Their inspiration boards were then brought to life as a gift pack and sent to each woman – generating chatter on Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

 

The most re-tweeted image ever

The Pope joins Twitter

Sh*t Mates Don’t Say

The Cancer Council took a bit more of a risqué approach in 2012 with their play on the popular ‘Sh*t Girls Say’ meme with their own campaign ‘Sh*t mates don’t say’ campaign.

Gangnam Style Hits 1 Billion YouTube views
Knocking Justin Bieber from his perch as ‘Most watched YouTube video in history’, K-Pop star PSY hit 1 billion views with his Gangnam Style video clip in December. Love it or hate it, the song has scored a major social media milestone.

 

Facebook hits 1 Billion Users

One Small Tweet
In honour of Neil Armstrong and to celebrate his life the John F Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum developed One Small Tweet a ‘tweet-fuelled Luna voyage’ to digitally retrace Neil Armstrong’s famous journey to the moon one tribute at a time.

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Latest social media statistics confirm Aussies’ appetite for online action

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The latest social media statistics are now available, painting an interesting picture of how Aussies currently engage with key online platforms.

Twitter has received the most publicity in recent weeks with the launch of the cyber-bullying #stopthetrolls campaign as a result of the Charlotte Dawson being a high profile victim of online bullies, NRL star Robbie Farah joining the call for tougher laws to fight cyber-bullying only to be caught out tweeting offensive comments about Julia Gillard, and Olympic tweets being seen as a contributing factor to the lack of Gold medals amongst our swimming team. Yet despite this, Facebook remains the number one site for Aussies in terms of both Unique Australian Visitors (UAVs) and average time spent per visit.

It currently has 11.5 million users /accounts accessed from various locations – home, work and at school – and users spend over 20 minutes a day perusing their page and those of their friends and family.
To put this into perspective globally, ‘Down Under’ is mere dot on the Facebook landscape. Facebook now has 955 million active users and just over 11 million of them are Australian; that is, 1.51% of Facebook’s total audience is Australian.

YouTube is hot on its heels with 11m UAVs and an average visit time of 20 minutes. The Top 5 is rounded out with Blogspot (4million, down by 10,000), LinkedIn (steady at 2.2million) and Twitter (just over 2million).

The time spent on content-rich sites like YouTube, Blogspot and Tumblr is understandably high, and newer social media platforms like Pinterest are growing steadily – it currently has 620,000 Aussies spending up to 13 minutes per session ‘pinning’ images.

It appears that Aussies are following the global trend when it comes to Google Plus which is 12th in the UAV league table (it remains steady at 600,000). The jury is still out on whether this social media platform will really take off, and there is no data about how long Australians are spending on Plus functionality linked to their Google accounts.

Social media is a dynamic space that evolves constantly, with each platform offering a different way to engage with key audiences. What’s clear is the Aussie appetite for online action is growing, and we’re happy to spend a significant amount of time searching and soaking up all it has to offer. The challenge for marketers is to identify the right spot for campaigns so it truly resonates.

social media stats

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Getting the balance right ….for all Australians!

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Accredited practicing dietitian and nutritionist, Kate Di Prima, shares her thoughts on the ‘Australia’s food and nutrition 2012’ report

Australians have access to one of the best and healthiest food supplies in the world, however it appears that a balance between unhealthy foods containing excess fat and sugar, and more nutritious choices is not being DAA Kate 22641_cropped achieved. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) recently released its report ‘Australia’s food and nutrition 2012’, looking at the dietary habits of Australian adults and children.

The major findings highlighted in the report were that many adults and children are still not eating the required serves of fruit and vegetables per day and many are consuming more fat and salt in their food than is recommended. The lack of balance means that children’s and adult’s diets fall short in providing the required nutrients for healthy growth and development. Excess fats and sugars consumed in the diet contribute to excess energy measured in kilojoules or calories. Children and adults consuming more energy than needed increase their risk of gaining excess weight.

The common foods in the Australian diet that contribute to excess energy with very little nourishment include chips, biscuits, cakes, chocolates, soft drinks and takeaway foods, and are often referred to as ‘treat’ foods. The report indicated that ‘treat’ foods were contributing on average over 1/3 of an adult’s calories and 2/5 of an average child’s intake – well and truly more than is recommended by health professionals such as doctors and dietitians.

Poor dietary intake in infancy may lead to nutritional inbalances; this in turn increases the risk of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease as an adult. Unbalanced diets favouring excess energy from fat and sugar can also lead to obesity. The report indicated that the latest figures show a staggering 60% of adults and 23% of children are overweight or obese.

The Dietitans Association of Australia welcomes the findings from the ‘Australia’s food and nutrition 2012’ report and believes preventing poor health has been overlooked for too long. Getting the balance right is a major priority for the health of all Australians and starts with healthy habits in infancy.

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Back to Social Media 101

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76631631129749505_2TjWWdld_cThere seem to be a few high profile brands out there in need of a social media 101 refresher course. In the last few weeks we have seen a number of examples where brands have forgotten the first rule of social media management – do not delete.

The two big examples from the last few weeks are Paspaley and Seven News. Following a story on Four Corners regarding the death of one of its divers Paspaley faced scathing social media backlash with angry comments posted on its Facebook page and via Twitter. Paspaley then made the mistake of deleting some of the comments from its Facebook page. (For more details and the response from Paspaley see this article on Mumbrella)

In a similar example, Seven News also deleted comments on its Facebook page from a mother angry at the coverage of her daughter’s death. (More details here: Mumbrella) We have also seen Gloria Jeans and Comic Con Melbourne commit the same basic mistake recently.

277041814547981645_K9LBdaVl_c
The first rule in community management should be do not delete, (obviously there are exceptions to this where offensive or inappropriate content is concerned) but it seems some of the big brands have forgotten this.

Getting the basics right, especially in an issues management situation, is essential. A well executed issues management plan can ideally turn a crisis situation into a positive opportunity for a brand. But getting it wrong can have a devastating impact, especially when it comes to social media issues management.

The old adage that a reputation takes a lifetime to build and seconds to destroy has never been more apt than in today’s social world of instant information dissemination. Breaking the “do not delete” rule seems to point towards a lack of issues preparedness from a social perspective on the brand’s part. Ultimately, you can’t sweep an issue under the social media rug by deleting a comment; it won’t make the problem ‘disappear’, and will most likely inflame further backlash.

If you don’t have a solid social media issues management plan in place, why not give us a call ;)

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To engage in social media or not to engage, that is the question! But what’s the answer?

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By Claire Leggott

question mark

In part two of Cube’s update from the Inaugural Social Media in Healthcare Conference we explore the hot topic of how and when to enter the world of healthcare social media. 

From Facebook, Twitter and blogs, to the new kids on the block – Google+ and Pinterest – the social media sphere is ever expanding and brands/companies seem to be embracing new communication channels with increasing vigour.

However, hesitancy to engage with digital remains in many industries, including the pharmaceutical industry.  Employing a level of caution is prudent as navigating social media within the confines of the Medicines Australia Code of Conduct can be a daunting and somewhat tricky business.

It need not be scary though, as Andrew Moore, from Sanofi, pointed out .He believes a fear of the unknown or seemingly uncontrollable should not hold pharmaceutical companies back, and spoke about a listening campaign – social media monitoring – which formed part of Sanofi’s first foray into social media.  Getting the campaign up and running involved overcoming challenges regarding the potential for mass adverse event reporting, but in reality adverse event reports occurred with just 0.3% of product mentions.  Andrew advocates a listening campaign as an ideal way for companies to dip their toe into the social media water and as a platform from which an effective social media communications strategy can be developed.

Further voices of experience were heard at the conference, with both Simon Lillis from PwC in Sydney, and Kerrie Noonan from The Groundswell Project, highlighting the vital components to ensuring a successful strategy.  Put simply:

  • Identify a very clear and simple goal/objective
  • Interact with the audience (although beware of going too strong and over-facing the audience)

Elisabeth Tuckey, from Headspace, also emphasised the importance of understanding your audience.  For example, males don’t often ‘like’ pages on Facebook but are drawn by visuals so YouTube is an impactful communication channel for men.

It is clear just how much communication is now taking place online, be it on a computer/laptop or mobile device.  Discussion about a brand will be taking place somewhere within the digital ether regardless of whether said brand is actively targeting audiences in this sphere.

Cultivating a social media presence does come with some risks but ignoring this communication channel could be the biggest risk of all.

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‘Digital Darwinism’ – how the fittest will survive in the healthcare social media sphere

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Picture1Niki Karlson

Social media is fast becoming ‘business as usual’ for brands and organisations. In the healthcare sector we are embracing the opportunities it presents to reach our customers (patients and healthcare professionals) – but there is an understandable sense of trepidation, with the industry approaching social media as an unknown quantity. There are certainly additional restrictions and considerations for healthcare brands moving into the social space; regulations and duty of care to name just two. But today, a major brand that is unavailable to its customers in the social space will leave people asking “where the bloody hell are you?”

Cube recently attended the Inaugural Social Media in Healthcare Conference. The overarching theme was the reticence of many healthcare brands to engage in social media, balanced against the necessity for it to be embraced.

Ramsay Health Care shared their social media strategy, which they approached from a risk assessment point of view. That is, it was a greater risk not being there; staying ‘safely’ away from the unknown wasn’t an option anymore.

The company is using social media for employee communications and training, talent identification, engagement with its customers/audience and to position its senior staff as thought leaders in the industry. Ramsay has rolled out its social media presence by developing employee advocates, who can then educate their peers on the usage and benefits of different platforms.

Ramsay Health Care is a great example of successful social media communications for both internal and external audiences. In contrast, we can clearly see the repercussions of not engaging in the social space by looking at the social storm that was created around the Queensland Health payroll debacle.

As soon as the news of the mis-payment of Queensland Health employees broke it was all over the social sphere. Disgruntled employees were galvanised into action via Facebook groups and pages. Stories, grievances and opinions were shared and all in an open forum, where the public and the media were watching.

Without a presence on key social networking sites Queensland Health left itself open to public judgement without any input or response from the organisation. The body has since joined Facebook and Twitter, but the payroll issue is a good illustration of why waiting until you need a social presence is such a risk.

The development and implementation of social media policy was also discussed. Firstly, policy needs to be fluid; the social landscape is constantly in flux, and as such, your engagement policy should be also. Policy should be inclusive, not exclusive. And finally, the resurgence of the K.I.S.S approach (keep it simple!). The perfect example of this is the Mayo Clinic’s 12 word social media policy, which was released in May:

• Don’t Lie, Don’t Pry
• Don’t Cheat, Can’t Delete
• Don’t Steal, Don’t Reveal”

Social media is necessary in, and complementary to the health industry. As Professor Enrico Coiera, Director, Centre for Health Informatics, Australian Institute of Health Innovation, UNSW opened with; most diseases are social, so shouldn’t the healthcare industry be social as well?

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Pinterest: how digital pictures can tell a thousand words, and then drive traffic to your website

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By Johanna Waide

Pinterest – the latest digital media application everyone seems to be using in their personal lives as well as in the business world. It’s hard to believe that the humble pin board that adorns the kitchen walls has morphed into a virtual visual feast that allows us to reach beyond the written word to tell a story.

Put simply, Pinterest is a fast and cheap way to share content including photographs, videos and links to other websites. It’s also a great way to categorise images and content, by moving ‘Pins’ into separate pin boards like advertising, fitness and kids or pregnancy.

Signing up to Pinterest is currently by invitation only. Once the request to join is approved (which may take up to a week), users can then begin to follow, re-pin and comment on the pin boards of others that they find interesting or inspiring.

invitepin

signup

Since launching in March 2010 Pinterest has made waves because of its ability to draw big numbers in terms of online traffic.

Web information company Alexa.com reported that the site is currently ranked the 42nd most popular website in the world, coming in at number 26 in Australia. Additionally, according to Australian social media statistics, the number of Pinterest users grew from around 190,000 in February 2012 to 350,000 in March – an increase of 160,000 in just one month.

Industry experts say that this popularity will continue to climb as millions of new pins are added everyday from all over the globe. The site also has impressive ‘length of stay’ engagement numbers, third only to time spent on Facebook and Tumblr.

Because of this hype, Pinterest is already being used by businesses to further their online presence.

However, just as with any communication tool, it’s important to consider whether this new social medium aligns with your organisation’s core purpose and values, as well as how it can best be used in ways that benefit all stakeholders.

Here are our top five picks of the ways businesses might use Pinterest:

1. Promote products and services

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, making Pinterest’s visual focus a powerful opportunity for businesses to engage and educate audiences about its products and services. Ways this can be achieved include adding pins of new product images, ‘how-to’ video demonstrations featuring a brand’s products or user-generated photographs showcasing a products’ unique or special features.

2. Showcase core values – all of them

At present the site hasn’t created a distinction between personal and brand profiles. While the temptation may be to post pins related only to your products, user etiquette is very important within the Pinterest community, so boards that are too self-promoting won’t be well received.

US grocery chain Whole Foods Market have set a benchmark in achieving an optimal balance between product-endorsement, enticing user interest and showcasing the different facets of an organisation.

Quoted on Mashable, Whole Foods Market’s Global Online Community Manager, Michael Bepko, explains how they have leveraged the platform as a marketing tool: “It allows us to curate images from across the web that really speak to who we are as a company, images that reflect our core values and essentially communicate the essence of who we are.”

Whole Foods Market’s Pinterest profile currently consists of 40 pin boards. Pin board topics range from recipes using the store’s produce (which have quirky titles such as Cheese is the Bee’s Knees and Eat your Veggies) to boards that promote external causes including Earth Day. Although global in its outreach now, the organisation also pays homage to its humble establishment in Texas in 1980 and has a board that encourages people to pin useful, interesting & influential Texan things & Texans to follow on Pinterest.

To check out why Whole Foods Market has almost 30,000 Pinterest followers, visit their profile by clicking here.

3. Engage in conversation

For businesses Pinterest provides a channel to access and respond to user comments regarding their products or brand/s in general.

Additionally, like Twitter, Pinterest uses hashtags (keywords) to enable its search functionality and generate trending topics. By adding one or multiple hashtags to your pin descriptions (up to 500 characters), you can increase the likelihood users will come across your pins.

4. Add a “Pint It” and/or Pinterest “Follow” button to your website or blog

Adding a Pinterest button to your online platforms not only lets your audience know that you’re present on the site, it allows users to re-pin your posts to their own Pinterest profiles.

Follow this link to learn how to add Pinterest buttons: https://pinterest.com/about/goodies/

5. Drive website traffic

Last but certainly not least, Pintrest may help drive website traffic and boost search engine optimisation (SEO).

When users add a pin, they can include a URL in the description, thus creating links between posts and specific websites or blogs. Additionally, as PR and communications blog Bianchi Biz Blog aptly explain, when a user adds an image to a pin board from an online source, the original link is automatically stored within the image, allowing visitors to click back to the original source.

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While these tips highlight just some of Pinterest’s exciting and innovative features, before deciding to use the social media platform, the golden rule of communication still stands: ensure it is (or has the potential to be) relevant and meaningful to your target community.

What primarily separates Pinterest from other social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter is its adherence to a single media form, the picture. In other words, what you need to consider is whether pictures can tell your audience what you want them to hear. Can Pinterest tell your story?

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Today’s hot topic: what the Federal Budget will mean for the healthcare system

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By Jody Fassina, Independent Political Consultant, JF Consulting

As the raft of media alerts, political alerts and public and political commentary dictate today’s papers and coffee machine conversations, here’s the low down on the health highlights (or low lights) when last night’s Federal Budget was handed down, according to leading political consultant, Jody Fassina.

Against the backdrop of record spending on the Health portfolio, estimated to be $61 billion in 2012/2013 and a 37% increase on 2007/2008 levels of which the PBS is estimated to account for $10.9 billion, in 2012/2013 the Budget did not contain a systematic attack on the PBS.

That being said, while the Government has highlighted the savings that flow from price disclosure resulting in savings of $528 million in 2012/2013, it is predicting growth in PBS expenditure of  5% per annum in 2013/2014, indicating the pressure will still be on the pharmaceutical sector.

The most disturbing initiative contained in the Health portfolio is that the Government will provide funding to the Department of Health and Ageing to recover compensation from pharmaceutical companies as a result of losses incurred by the Government due to the delay in the listing of generic medicines on the PBS.

Hence, a pharma company seeking to litigate an expired patent in the Courts that results in delay and hence foregone savings to the Government, will want to be very sure of their legal footing, because if they lose such an action the Government will seek to sue them for the loss of savings so incurred from a delayed PBS listing.

It’s not all doom and gloom however with the Government committing to deliver major new health initiatives to support front line health services redirecting $74.5 billion to essential health and ageing services and facilitating access to care particularly in rural remote regions. E-health also gets a cash injection of $233.7 million to facilitate the national roll-out and system modernisation.

Additionally, with significant investment in oral health $515.3 million, additional funds for the national bowel screening program ($49.7 million) and health facility construction ($475 million across country areas), perhaps there is a glimmer of light for a healthier nation and the pharma sector that works to support it.

Jody Fassina specialises in providing strategic counsel to both corporate and non-profit organisations requiring high level advice on public policy issues of paramount importance to their organisation. Jody has worked as a senior public affairs manager in the corporate sector with Macquarie Bank, a political consultant with a boutique Sydney firm and as a senior policy advisor to federal MPs. He is currently an independent political consultant, having established JF Consulting.

For more information contact Jody Fassina at fassinaconsulting@bigpond.com

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The truth about YouTube

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Yesterday the Cube team attended a fascinating digital breakfast hosted by Galaxy Research with guest speakers Kate Mason and Henning Dorstewitz from Google.

With the explosion of viral videos, we explored and busted the top five myths about video content and YouTube.

But before we delve into that, can you guess what the most popular viral video was in Australia last year? To give you a clue, think of the wedding we were all talking about and combine it with some flamboyant dance moves. Yes, the T Mobile Royal Wedding viral was the most popular video in 2011 and has received over 25 million views to date. According to Henning Dorstewitz there are three reasons for this:

1) It’s timely and was developed when the Royal Wedding was on everyone’s minds

2) It’s well executed. It’s shot from the side isles of the cathedral and you feel like you’re there at the wedding amongst the guests

3) It’s funny. Flashmob trends are incredibly popular and this was the perfect opportunity for T Mobile to reinvent their brand

Now here’s to the top five myths about viral videos:

Myth #1: I need to have a viral hit to be successful on YouTube

This isn’t the case. You can be very successful and have a strong presence on YouTube without a viral hit. The most important thing is to think about is what will appeal to your audience!

Myth #2: Only funny videos are popular on YouTube

It’s actually ‘how to’ videos that instruct the end user about something informative that are the most popular videos on YouTube. If a company or business can make use of this strategy for their brand, then they should. An example is this shoe designer tutorial.

Myth #3: YouTube is only for young people

Statistics reveal 55% of women aged 18-57 access YouTube once a month or more.

Myth #4: A successful YouTube video needs to be unique and something nobody has done before

The most popular videos we’re seeing coming through often follow a trend. You only need to take a look at the T Mobile flash mob as the perfect example.

Myth #5: Videos have to be professionally produced to gain traction

Many fantastically produced virals cost less than $300. It’s what you’re telling the viewer that really matters. An example is this very funny and popular video about razors!

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