Here’s lookin’ at you, GIF.

Lauren

Post by @LaurenVosbein

In 1987 JPG and MOV met over drinks. Text showed up. Pixels were exchanged, data was written, one thing led to another, and before we all knew it the GIF was born.

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Yep, the little hybrid file that’s not quite an image and not quite a video has been around awhile, yet sprung back to life recently in a renaissance to claim our hearts, make us laugh, and in some cases – of which I am proudly exempt- pee our pants. With its emotional nature and quick wit, the GIF has struck up a modern romance with social communication and brands should take note.

Why it works:

The GIF is quick. Period. In a world of Google Fiber and 4G, our patience for slow is low. (Get outta here, rainbow wheel!) For better or for worse, we’ve reached an age where fast is expected and anything less than now draws out a yawn. So when it comes to the content filtering through our daily social feeds, we’ve got just enough time to absorb a photo, read its caption and move on. The time for posts sans image has come and gone, and our patience weans even for the effort of clicking on a video file, waiting for it to load and watching it play. Enter: a bite-sized story on a 3-second loop embedded into our feeds (automatic play). We’ve got time for that.

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The GIF is emotional. Sorry Smileys, we love you, but your cute faces no longer say it all. GIFs convey a mood with movement. They are reactionary responses to a friend’s comment, a big announcement, or the small events in our lives. Need to get up early? Cue a Ferris Bueller grimace. Waiting too long for a friend to show? Cue Honey Boo Boo pout. Reacting to a huge celebrity announcement? Cue:

Eva Mendez and Ryan Gosling are having a baby?!

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The GIF is funny. (Arguably it’s winning feature.) Tell me the last time you looked at a GIF and didn’t laugh out loud or at the least crack a smile. When a single moment captured from a popular TV show, movie, or news clip is cut, looped, and captioned to deliver a poignant reaction to an unrelated context, humor is inevitable. The effect is funny! Not to mention highly contagious, which means sharable content.

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Why brands should take note:

Relying on your audience to share your content is an obvious goal. What’s more sharable than a GIF? It’s quick, emotional and funny. And it’s growing daily in popularity. For most of its life, GIF has called Tumblr home, and yet in January GIF spread its wings and joined the Pinterest club. Just this month it got the keys to Twitterdom.

These large, social platforms inviting GIFs into their worlds, only proves their value to the social sphere. GIFs are a great vehicle for brands to lift the corporate veil and show their fans some personality. Bravo to the brands that have already adopted the GIF (Fiat, Wendy’s, Bud Light); we like your style and applaud your savvy ways.  Catch our attention? Check. Make us laugh? Check. Seem a little more human and a lot more hip? Check.  Here’s to the brands that show some skin and let the human behind the logo shine. And here’s to the GIF for delivering value in a way we want it. Brands and GIFs should meet over drinks; there is a lot of ROI to be shared.

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World Cup Brand-Off

Post by @AlanaGolob

The World Cup may not begin until Thursday, but the showdown to win over football (soccer) fans around the world is well underway. The competition is fierce and brands are pushing the boundaries this year by essentially creating high production short films for their commercial spots. It’s not a surprise that brands are going all out, given that more than 3.2 billion people watched the live coverage of the 2010 World Cup, which was a 32% increase from 2006. It’s been entertaining, to say the least, to witness the heated competition between brands as they fight for viewership. Here’s a snapshot of the brand front-runners thus far. Although their products appear throughout each video, you forget you’re watching a commercial because you’re drawn to the compelling content – something each of these brands did so brilliantly.

Nike: “Last Game” 

With no surprise Nike came out of the gate strong in May with their “Winner Stays” video featuring Renaldo. Well, they are back and even stronger with their new five minute completely animated film, “The Last Game” that is already approaching 1 million YouTube views in the first 24-hrs.

Beats by Dre: “The Game Before The Game”

One of the most impressive campaigns (with more than 7.2 million views) I’ve ever seen is the campaign by Beats. It was visually stunning with Rio as the backdrop, included cameos from celebs/personalities, like Serena Williams and Nicki Minaj and beautifully showcased different pre-game rituals from people around the world. Well done, Beats, and thank you for the goosebumps.

Adidas: “House Match” 

“House Match” took the more humorous (and shorter) approach featuring current and past stars including, David Beckham who match-up against each other in Beckham’s home – which includes the destruction of his stocked trophy case. The video has already accrued more than 10 million views on YouTube since it was published on June 6th.

How do all these campaigns translate to social? It’s simple. Social has been the driving force for these campaigns leading up to the World Cup. With ad buys, athlete support, media coverage, and most importantly, outstanding content – these campaigns are making a huge splash amongst soccer and non-soccer fans.

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Here’s a quick glance at World Cup conversation volume thus far and how it continues to increase as we approach the end of the week.

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If you haven’t watched the new #WorldCup on Twitter video published by Twitter, I would recommend it. “Love every second.”

With the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ just days away, I look forward to what each of these brands have in-store for football fans around the world.

A Google Game-Changer

Post by @AlanaGolob

GoogleHangout

Over the past couple of years technology has continued to shape how students process information and learn about new subject matters. It’s even impacted our business model with the evolution of our online education platform, Digital Royalty University, which has allowed us to scale our content to brands and individuals around the world.

Today marks the 21st anniversary of “Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day” – but today, it was much different than the previous 20 years. For the first-time ever, Google partnered with Forbes and a variety of companies to take the experience online. Using Google Hangouts, Google delivered 18-virtual field trips for students around the country to “visit” inspiring workplaces. Field trips included a session from the NASDAQ floor to an inside look at the career of a filmmaker. Our partners from the Chicago White Sox (Nicole Saunches) and LPGA (Tina Barnes-Budd) were amongst the participants in a session on a career in sports marketing.

These virtual field trips bridged the barriers for students who may never have the opportunity to visit the inside of a Bulls locker room or travel to the LPGA Corporate Headquarters in Daytona. Students were able to ask these experts questions and gain valuable insight and inspiration for their future careers. Classrooms outside of the main participants could also tune-in and ask questions through the Q&A feature within the Hangout. It was really special to see the students get excited about participating. Not to mention, the professionals loved it just as much as the students. Equal value exchange.

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Imagine if this technology existed when we were in school? Would you have been inspired to explore another profession? Today made me even more excited to see where technology takes us and shapes the future of education. Thank you, Google for inspiring us all.

 

 

Help My Mom!

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We love our moms and we know you do too. BUT, don’t you sometimes wish you could put your mom’s social media usage on timeout? Us too. We’ve seen everything from accidental Facebook shares, to tweets that should be @replies. Hashtags? Don’t even bother! So, in honor of Mother’s Day and to show how much we care about all the wonderful mothers in our lives, Digital Royalty University is offering a helping hand through our “Help My Mom!” campaign.

We’re awarding three lucky moms a personal online session with a Digital Royalty University instructor to help them get their social media presence dialed in. Additionally, we will be selecting 30 additional moms to participate in an upcoming Digital Royalty University live social communications webinar and thanks to our friends at FlowerShop.com, those 30 mom’s will also receive a $30 gift voucher to FlowerShop.com.

So, how can you nominate your mom? Use our hashtag, #RoyalHelp on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram and include an example, a quick sentence, or if you’re really brave, a screenshot of a funny social media blunder your mom has made or you can nominate through the following form:

Whether it’s to help with understanding the difference between a public tweet or an @Reply, how to use Google Hangouts or FaceTime, or just some best practices on what to post and what not to post on Facebook (emphasis on what NOT to post), your mom will go through the same social communication training exercises that we’ve put Digital Royalty University graduates through for the past five years. Included with the one-on-one session is a Team Renegades toolkit: a Digital Royalty t-shirt, an autographed copy of The New York Times Bestseller Renegades Write The Rulescomplimentary access to the suite of our online social communication classes and a $100 gift voucher for a flower arrangement from FlowerShop.com. 

Incase you’re looking for some examples of social media blunders, here’s a few for you:

Help My Mom Learn Social Media

The winners will be selected and announced on Thursday, May 8. Lastly, we’re hooking you all up with a 50%-off promotion code for our Digital Royalty University classes and a $15 gift voucher to FlowerShop.com so that you can give the gift of education (and pretty flowers) to your mom this Mother’s Day. Use the code “HelpMyMom” at checkout on Digital Royalty University and FlowerShop.com to redeem. Offer expires on May 11.

Together we can turn your mom from a social newbie into a social rockstar.

#RoyalHelp 

#HudsonRules and So Does Social Media

Post by @AlanaGolob

Last week I witnessed first hand the true force of social media when people come together for a single cause. I was in Vegas at the dR corporate headquarters and received a call from my husband in Scottsdale telling me that Hudson got out of the house and his collar wasn’t on. Being miles away, I felt extremely helpless and feared the worst as my husband and my friend searched the entire neighborhood for hours looking for Hudson.

Fortunate for me I work with an incredible team of people who dropped everything they were doing to help me track down Hudson using the best tool at our disposal, the internet. Thanks to Amy Jo’s suggestion, I started posting photos of Hudson on my personal accounts as well as the Digital Royalty accounts – encouraging people to help spread the word. Amy Jo took to Twitter using the hashtag #FindHudson, while tweeting every Arizona shelter, news station, anchor, oh – and even encouraging Arizona Cardinals pro football star, Larry Fitzgerald, to help us spread the word. This is a perfect example of how influence can be scaled for good.

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I was completely humbled by the overwhelming support of past co-workers, old high school friends and hundreds of complete strangers on each social channel. People genuinely wanted to help find Hudson and I couldn’t be more grateful of their support.

Below is a graph to illustrate the social impact. On the day Hudson went missing there was a significant spike in online conversation. More than 70% of the total conversation surrounded keywords associated with Hudson and the highest amount of mentions originated from Arizona and Nevada.

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While my co-worker/friend, Erinn Ray, searched the internet to find the most useful resources to find lost pets, she came across the site, Lost Dogs Arizona and joined. Within minutes they posted a Facebook post on their page with a photo of Hudson. Then a complete stranger (thank you, Susan!) stumbled across the post of Hudson, searched Craigslist and found a lost/found ad with an exact description of Hudson. As I boarded my flight home to Phoenix, I received a call from Susan telling me about the listing and giving me a phone number to contact the people who had Hudson the whole day. (Helpful tip for pet owners, always look on Craigslist first to see if anyone found your pet. Who would have thought?! Not me.) 

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Thankfully this story had a very happy ending thanks to the internet and the kindness of each person who played a helpful role. All of us at Digital Royalty had a bit of an “ah-ha” moment from this experience and were further reassured of why we’re in the business that we are in. Social communication is a scalable, unstoppable force without limits when we work together to combine our influence for a good cause. If we can find a lost dog using social media, just think if we used that influence to help find missing children? Food for thought.

My key takeaway from this experience is first and foremost that there are still tons of really, really great people in the world. Secondly, the internet can be a beautiful thing when it’s used to help people. And lastly, it sometimes pays to be that obnoxious dog owner that constantly posts photos of their dog on the internet…#HudsonRules. Hey, even dogs need personal branding (wink-wink).

A big THANK YOU to everyone was involved and supported. Watch the news segment on 12 News by anchor, Bryan West. If you’re a pet owner, there’s some helpful tips about how to use social media to find a lost pet.

 

Social Media Spring Cleaning

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Post by @ChelseaHartling

Spring cleaning sounds like a serious drag. It’s that time of year when we’re supposed to clean out our closets to make room for warm-weather clothes, dust off our winter hibernation spaces, and get ready for the warmth of summer to make us feel human again. But while we’re all procrastinating the inevitable act of digging our homes out from the metaphorical winter snow (or maybe actual snow if you live anywhere other than sunny Las Vegas), we forget about a few other important spaces that need some sprucing up. For example, when was the last time you cleaned up your social media accounts?

Here’s a couple tips for doing a little social spring cleaning.

1. Change your passwords.
This is the perfect time to solidify your online privacy by changing your passwords. Check out this article from TIME for a quick trick for setting a strong password that you won’t forget.

2. Change your avatar.
If you’re anything like me, you probably don’t change your avatar all that often. That photo you have up is probably no longer an accurate representation of what you actually look like since it was taken 4 years ago. Clean it up by swapping it out with a more recent selfie. And it doesn’t hurt to make your avatars consistent across all your social sites either.

3. Update your bio.
On that note, if you’ve recently changed career paths, discovered a new affinity for burritos, or even thought of a random fun fact that everyone should know about you, update that bio! Keep it fresh. With all the new friends & followers you’re bound to gain this year, you need to give the people what they want: recent & relevant information about you. Make sure all your links are up to date and your bio is optimized with hashtags and handles. Most of all, don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through.

4. Clean up your friends & followers.
If you’ve ever though to yourself, “why am I still Facebook friends with this person?” then now is the perfect time to cut them loose. At one point it was cool to see how many friends you could rack up on Facebook, but as the social space matures, we must mature with it. It’s all about the quality of friends and followers, not the quantity. If someone spams your notifications with Candy Crush invites or clogs your newsfeed with an unreasonable amount of selfies and inspirational-yet-cryptic quotes, social spring cleaning could become your new best friend. I also recently discovered this app called “JustUnfollow.” It shows you information like who you’re following that isn’t following you back and who has recently unfollowed you. It’s a great way to monitor your Twitter and Instagram followers and make sure you’re not following anyone who doesn’t care to follow you back. Clean it up and treat yo-self to a healthy social ecosystem.

Got any other social spring cleaning tips? Share them with me on Twitter @ChelseaHartling.

Humanization Leads to a Hole in One

Post by @AlanaGolob

When brands lead their social media strategy with humanization, it often leads to successful results. The LPGA has made a commitment to humanize the players of the Tour through on-going Digital Royalty University education, regular communication meetings with select players and their willingness to take risks within the social space. And their efforts aren’t going unnoticed (read espnW article). The LPGA used last weeks Founders Cup Tournament as the perfect opportunity to go big and give fans exclusive access into the tournament and exposing the players through the following social event activations:

 

 

1.) Google+ Hangout with Jessica Korda:  The LPGA hosted their first-ever Google+ Hangout with superstar golfer, Jessica Korda live from the Founders Cup. The Hangout was hosted by the LPGA’s Chief Communication Officer, Kraig Kann, alongside Stanford Golfer (and our Royal Intern), Danielle Frasier and golf blogger Neil Schuster. Fans had exclusive access to Jessica for 45-minutes to ask questions through Twitter and the Google Hangout Q&A feature directly on the Hangout. Watch the full Hangout, here. Big hit.

LPGA Instagram Takeover

2.) Instagram Takeover:  Instagram takeovers are a great way to give a look into the average day of someones life through photos and videos. LPGA golfer, Danielle Kang took the “keys to the castle” of the LPGA Instagram account and gave fans a sneak peak into her life, which even included a round of golf with Bruce Jenner and her recovery session off the course.

Side note: Keep an eye on our Digital Royalty Instagram account, as we plan to do #dRRoyalTakeovers on a regular basis to give you a look into what we’re up to.

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3.) #LPGAGolfie:  Taking the selfie to the next level, the LPGA is using GoPro’s to capture a unique perspective from each of the tournaments by placing a GoPro in the bottom of a golf hole. These #LPGAGolfies are captured by using the timer setting on the GoPro combined with the wifi feature on the camera that connects to the iPhone app. Pretty rad, right? We think so.

To help further inspire the game of golf, GoPros are also being used to give fans an up-close vantage point to players swings and putts on the course. Here’s a look at golfer Karrie Webb teeing off.

4.) #LPGAMeetUp:  The LPGA hosted their second player meet-up with Azahara Munoz at the Founders Cup. Fans were able to find out the location and the time of the #LPGAMeetUp by following the LPGA social media accounts. The first fans to arrive had a chance to win SkyBox tickets to the tournament, as well as meet Azahara. When fans are able to meet their favorite players all because of social media, it’s a beautiful thing and they instantly rise the fan ladder.

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Interested in learning more about event activation strategies? Give our Digital Royalty University class, “The Art of Event Activations” a spin. It will walk you through how to develop your own storytelling strategy and execute social media stunts.

What You Need To Know About Banjo App

Post by Sara Farr (@Rebel_702)

Remember the days before DVRs? I do, and now it seems like a barbaric experience. I recall having to insert a VHS tape, rewinding or fast-forwarding it, while trying not to record over an episode of a show I previously taped. Much like our television habits have evolved, social media is evolving the way we consume information. Look for new players to start delivering different feature sets, streamlining information while customizing and de-cluttering users’ news feeds. A Las Vegas company called Banjo is doing to the Internet what TiVo did for television – that’s right: no more missing out.

Banjo is seeking to be your one-stop place for user-generated and featured promoted top new origination stories from around the world. So what do you need to know? How does it work?

Getting Started

First, download the app (iOS; Android) and sign in with your preferred channel of social media. Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Foursquare, LinkedIn and Facebook are currently supported.

A Las Vegas company called Banjo is doing to the Internet what TiVo did for television.

What Banjo delivers

Banjo app searches the top sites (Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, etc.) for events that people are talking about publicly.

Explore & Experience Banjo

So, for example, the next time you’re running late to a concert, it’s no problem! Just look for that concert on Banjo and it will show you up-to-the-minute posts by fellow attendees. Are you in love with Beyonce (like me) and want to know what her tour looks like around the world? By using the search feature you are able to see what other fans in different countries are experiencing, even if it isn’t currently a trending topic under the music category.

Banjo also allows you to share on your social media platform of choice something that was posted about an event.

Banjo social sharing

While it looks closely at which content people are talking about most, Banjo operates in categories: trending events, news, sports, music, more events, and even allows you to suggest an event. It filters out content that would be useless to many users (…ahem, selfies?).

Banjo uses geo-location technology

Banjo shared trending events, news & more.

You can be sitting anywhere and by allowing Banjo access to your location you can see what people are talking about near you.

What about privacy?

Even though you can search for content posted based on location this site doesn’t share your location, unless you have given Banjo consent.

According to the app’s privacy settings:

“any post that appears on Banjo appears because the user has chosen to include location in the post. Depending on the privacy setting and network used to publish, posts may be visible to the public generally or select individuals.

Banjo maintains the privacy settings of its members’ networks so that posts are shared with the intended audience only.”

Why use Banjo?

In my case, I was tired of looking at “trending topics” on multiple social media sites. I felt as though I didn’t have enough time to spend looking on every platform just to stay up to date. Some of the “trends” I found were not something newsworthy that I’m specifically interested in knowing about. Banjo is a different kind of experience and I’m addicted.

Cheers to this easy to use app with a sleek interface coming straight out of our Vegas neighborhood. I think it’s revolutionary! Welcome to the new era of how we consume social media.

The Voice of the People

Post by @AlanaGolob

The strength of social media is that it gives everyone and anyone the platform to have a voice and make it heard. It’s scalable, it’s impressionable and it’s impactful. Social media doesn’t discriminate, you don’t have to be a celebrity or a congressman to be heard. We all have the ability to own our voice if we chose to do so.

For those of you not aware of the recent controversy in Arizona, the SB 1062 Bill was proposed that would have allowed individuals/business owners to refuse to serve customers based on religious grounds, i.e. the right to discriminate based on sexual preference or marriage views.

What did the people do when they heard about the new bill? They turned to the internet to express their opinions on the bill. Floods of tweets and Facebook posts poured in and people updated their avatars with statements expressing support for equality. I think we can all agree that Arizona took a slight PR hit this week.

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#SB1062, “Jan Brewer” and “Arizona” were all trending on Twitter and Facebook for most of the afternoon. There are more than 63,000 posts including the hashtag #SB1062. 

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Amongst those posts included official statements from the MLB and the NFL even went as far as to threaten to pull the Super Bowl out of Arizona next year.

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Influencer and regular activist, Sophia Bush rallied her more than 1.5 million combined followers on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to help spread the message of equality.
Screen Shot 2014-02-26 at 6.19.51 PMCorporate America also stood up to Arizona lawmakers and joined the fight against the bill via statements including Apple, Delta, Petsmart and others – which also sparked conversation on Twitter and was covered on several major media outlets.

Gov. Jan Brewer also turned to Twitter to share the outcome of the bill minutes after she publicly announced the veto through a televised press conference.

Screen Shot 2014-02-26 at 6.34.25 PMWhen the veto was announced, what did the people do again? They turned to social media and this time around their posts had a slightly different sentiment.

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We’ve seen this time and time again with social communication channels. When controversy arises, people turn to the internet to express their opinions, whether to spark a revolution in Egypt or lobby to bring back their favorite latte.

What does this new way of communicating suggest? That perhaps the government should evolve it’s procedures and practices. Yes, I realize it’s not a new concept to suggest that the government is operating with an outdated model – but what if the government turned to the internet (the people) to crowdsource bills and collect votes vs. the senate? It seems to be an effective practice for the people and brands around the world that are turning to the social space to improve their value offering and build lasting relationships.

Power to the people!

 

 

Winter Olympic Hashtags: The Best Of The Best

Post by @MeganPura 

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In honor of Jimmy Fallon’s latest masterpiece, the #hashtag2 video featuring Jonah Hill, we thought we would revisit the always entertaining topic of the hashtag. Our team has enjoyed many laughs over the hashtags that have developed throughout the Winter Olympics in Sochi. This is a look at our favorite Winter Olympic hashtags, and which ones we believe deserve the Gold Medal.

Without further adieu, here are Digital Royalty’s top Winter Olympic hashtags:

1) #SochiProblems: Long before journalists and athletes arrived in Sochi for the Winter Olympics, there was much skepticism about Sochi. Concerns included safety, budget, and civil rights issues.  Would Sochi be ready? As guests poured into Sochi, Journalists turned to twitter to report their troubles with Sochi which included incomplete hotel rooms, open construction zones on public streets, and stray dogs. Enter #SochiProblems.  As of today, @SochiProblems has close to 100k more twitter followers than the official Winter Olympic handle, @Sochi2014.

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THE GOLD MEDALIST: Clorox.

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Clorox saw an opportunity with #SochiProblems and jumped on it while it was trending. Though many companies remained silent on this controversial topic, Clorox spun #SochiProblems into something positive and offered an authentic solution with one of their products. With over 1,100 retweets and 915 favorites, the tweet was well received.

2) #OlympicPickupLines: Maybe it’s because Valentine’s Day landed in the middle of the Winter Olympics. Maybe it’s the 100,000 condoms that are available to athletes in the Olympic Village. For whatever reason, Jimmy Fallon, the ultimate social media wingman, asked his followers to tweet their favorite #OlympicPickupLines to him. The result, 36,000+ Olympic Pickup Lines in tweet form.

THE GOLD MEDALIST: Jimmy Fallon for the win.

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We already know that Jimmy is a master at social TV. With #OlympicPickupLines, he proves our theory correct by tapping into the Olympic momentum and putting a Jimmy Fallon spin on it.

 3) #SochiSelfie: The Sochi Selfie is one event that almost all of the Winter Olympians have participated in, and for good reason. In our experience, photos which feature a public figure such as a celebrity or an athlete get higher engagement than those that do not. The official “venue” for #SochiSelfie knows no bounds. Athletes posted pictures of themselves walking the Opening Ceremony, hanging out in the village on their off days, and practicing at official olympic venues. Those athletes who were lucky enough to walk away with Olympic hardware, such as Julia Mancuso, took to Instagram to post a #SochiSelfie with their medal. The athletes in Sochi have embraced the selfie and fans around the world are benefiting by gaining an inside look at the world of an Olympic athlete never seen before.

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 THE GOLD MEDALIST(S): The athletes of Sochi 2014 are the clear winners here.

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By giving fans exclusive peeks behind the scenes of this global event, they are leveraging their star power, which may fade in the coming months. They are “being the media” and following one of Amy Jo Martin’s 8 Royal Rules of Social Media.

4) #WeAreWinter: Team Canada utilized social media to take a different approach to their team pride strategy this Olympics. Unlike the official hashtag of Team USA (#GoTeamUSA), Canada’s official hashtag doesn’t mention “Canada”. Instead, Canada puts a stake in the ground with their statement of winter ownership.

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 THE GOLD MEDALIST: Canada.

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Team hashtags are tired. Remember #TeamJacob and #TeamEdward from the Twilight era circa 2008? With a strong statement hashtag like #WeAreWinter, athletes and fans alike are more likely to use it and engage with it.

 5) #LoserKeepsBieber: It didn’t take long for the hashtag to trend on twitter after an electronic billboard with a photo of Justin Bieber and the caption “Loser Keeps Bieber” went up in Chicago shortly before the Canada vs. USA Gold Medal women’s hockey game.

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THE GOLD MEDALIST: The public. Because this is funny. *Disclaimer: We don’t support bullying of any kind. However, we see the humor in this #hashtag.