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What’s TikTok, why’s it so huge, and why is Facebook scared of it?

(TECH) TikTok has taken the internet by storm – you’ve probably seen the videos floating around, so here’s the context your business needs to know.

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Jimmy Fallon challenged his viewers to his version of a #sharpiechallenge. That’s where you toss a sharpie into the air, catch it, take the cap off and draw a mustache on yourself with it. He requested that viewers use TikTok to record it and upload it.

As of this writing, the hashtag boasts 8.2 million views in TikTok alone – if it wasn’t big before it gained Fallon as a fan, it is now.

What Is TikTok?

The TikTok app is the brainchild of Bytedance, a Chinese company that once owned Muscal.ly, and it launched in September 2016 as Douyin (it’s Chinese moniker). When it launched internationally, a year later, they branded the social media app TikTok. When Musical.ly shut down, users had to switch.

The app lets users view, create and share 15-second videos (kind of like Vine, RIP). It’s estimated that there are over 500 million users worldwide. The app has been highly ranked in the charts for number of downloads over the past few months, with a spike when Fallon had his first challenge, #tumbleweedchallenge. (For the record, Fallon and The Tonight Show do not have a business relationship with Bytedance.)

Users can lip-sync, do duets, record a reactions video and has some excellent tech in the app for video editing. Users can comment on videos and create video memes. It’s pretty fascinating. And wildly appealing to the masses.

One of the best things about TikTok is that the app doesn’t have advertising or monetization capabilities, even though it has a broad audience. With an estimated 500 million users, it’s just a matter of time.

Facebook launches a TikTok-clone.

Facebook doesn’t want to be late to the game. In classic follower fashion, they have launched their own short-video app, Lasso.

I played with both apps, and Lasso just doesn’t have comparable content.

What Facebook does have is its user base. By integrating with Facebook itself, Lasso may outdo TikTok eventually, but it will need to increase its capabilities.

Why should your business take notice?

You should be aware of these apps. Online videos are driving social media engagement. Content is king, and you’ve been reading here for years that video is a powerful component of any social media strategy.

TikTok and Lasso give you video-making and video-sharing tools that could increase your online presence.

Dawn Brotherton is a Staff Writer at The American Genius, and has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Central Oklahoma. Before earning her degree, she spent over 20 years homeschooling her two daughters, who are now out changing the world. She lives in Oklahoma and loves to golf. She hopes to publish a novel in the future.

Real Estate Marketing

Study: Marijuana legalization has no negative effect on property values

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) Wondering how the growing legal marijuana business has changed the real estate world? The National Association of Realtors® has answers!

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marijuana worker

Recently, Illinois became the 11th state to legalize marijuana. 33 states – including Utah, of all places – allow for the use of medical marijuana. No doubt, Illinois won’t be the last in this train of legalizations, which have started to bring up a number of changes for various industries. When it comes to real estate in particular, there are real questions about what this means for the future.

Jessica Lautz, Director of behavioral and demographic trends at National Association of Realtors® (NAR), explains the importance of studying the effects of legal marijuana on the real estate industry: “Whether it is influencing property values, the number of all-cash purchases or demand for various types of commercial properties, it is clear that this billion dollar industry is making an impact.”

Thankfully, the NAR has put in the work to begin to answer some of these questions. Their brand new survey – which you can access here – collected responses from about 4,000 NAR members who operated in states with some form of legalized marijuana usage, whether medical or recreational. They provide insights into changes the industry is facing and may continue to face as marijuana usage spreads.

The survey explores facets of commercial and residential real estate, including the effects of owning property near a dispensary, how often tenants grow their own marijuana and whether or not a home is harder to sell if the inhabitants were smokers, among other issues. NAR provides the statistics in easy to digest text snippets and graphs, making the study an accessible read for anyone hoping to gain a better understanding of the shifting industry.

If you’re worried about the budding marijuana industry (sorry about the pun) negatively affecting your business, you can breathe a sigh of relief. While some people have reported increased troubles surrounding the intersection of marijuana and real estate, most surveyed insist there has not been any noticeable change! Aside from a few tweaks here and there for how business operates, it appears to largely be smooth sailing for realtors.

Interested in learning more? You can check out the full survey report at the NAR’s site.

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Real Estate Marketing

This startup makes your company shine with easy to make graphics and promos

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) If you’re looking for a quick cheap way to create a new and exciting graphics sequence, or show off a product, try Motion Arts Media

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Motion Arts Media graphics

They always say you can’t judge a book by it’s cover, but you can judge a film or project by it’s opening graphics.

I mean there is another saying about first impressions, and what is that first 2-10 seconds of title or logo but the first impression of what follows. It should show how much care this project had put into it.

Sometimes though it can be the last thing to worry about, the product should stand on its own and the budget is gone. All that’s left is the change in your pockets, so time to bust out the sharpie and cardboard, that’s all that can be afforded for the opening titles.

Luckily there is Motion Arts Media, It’s a site that allows you to easily create top notch graphics and logo intros on the cheap. There’s easy to use templates, and even lessons on how to find, create, and attach the sequences you need.

They don’t only do graphics and logos either, they offer the ability to create short promo videos as well. What better way to ensure your product or service stands on its own than to show it. These are the kinds of services you would expect from someone who’s worked in the film industry for years.

Jeremy Simpson, creator of Motion Arts Media, has worked with big directors like Spike lee, and has a strong focus and love for special effects, 2D animation, and motion graphics so you know you can get top quality service from him.

On Motion Arts Media there’s also an extensive blog about how to create feeling, find inspiration, and gather statistics so that you can create the best graphics or video for your company. What good are creative tools if the muses don’t…muse?

The blog covers a ton of other topics and there’s also instructional videos for every thing Motion Flex has to offer. They want to help you show off your best you.

I wish I had something this easy in film school, I would probably have a full head of hair still. So If you want to save your follicles, then check this site out and create something new and catchy!

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Real Estate Marketing

Advertising can make people unhappy! How?

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) Ads might be fun, but are they also reducing our overall happiness? Advertising is about adding to customers lives, not taking away.

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advertising on buildings

The Superbowl is a magical time of year – in part because of the big budget ads that air alongside it. From Amazon riffing off what we’d do without Alexa, to Bill Murray reprising his role in Groundhog’s Day (with the notable addition of a brand new Jeep), these ads come with the best writing, actors and production that money can buy. But did you know these and other ads might just be making us unhappy?

The Harvard Business Review recently covered this new study, which was headed up by researcher Andrew Oswald of the University of Warwick. According to Oswald, “if you double advertising spending, it would result in a 3% drop in life satisfaction.”

3% doesn’t sound like much, but Oswald argues it’s a lesser version of what you’d feel if you were going through a divorce. If this low-grade unhappiness sounds worrying, brace yourself, because not only has the United States been steadily increasing advertising spending, it’s also the biggest spender on ads globally. Oof.

Part of the problem is that ads are often designed to make us feel like we’re missing out on something. In theory, ads should just point out areas where we might need help and then suggest products to fix the problem. For instance, if you have stains that are hard to clean, consider purchasing a specific cleaning product designed to remove those stains!

Except in most cases, advertisements are trying to fill a void we’ve already filled – which means making you feel bad about what you have. Sure, your car works, but it’s not “Bill Murray cruising through a snow drift” levels of fun. Oswald argues that constantly being bombarded with advertisements like this can leave people constantly comparing themselves to impossible standards. And try as you might, you’ll never live up.

In a way, Oswald concedes, this phenomenon is not unlike the trends we’ve seen with social media. Dr. Jennifer Lewallen explains that while there can be moments of positive feedback from comparison on social media, it’s also easy to fall into the trap of becoming overwhelmed by the unending stream of unrealistic body and beauty standards.

Now, Oswald’s studies is one of the first of its kind, so while it might hold some truth, it might not be entirely accurate. That said, the study was done meticulously and Oswald worked to account for other happiness factors in nations while studying the effects of advertising. In the meantime, it might be worth keeping an eye on your own happiness levels…and shutting off the ads if necessary.

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