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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Starting at Ground Zero: Using social media to win challenges and help others.

She’s 12 years old, never had a Facebook or Twitter account until a few weeks ago, wound up with more than 3,500 Facebook friends in a single week, and is now using social media to help Japan recover from the recent earthquake. How’d she do it? Behold the power of social media! 

The Challenge

It all started when the nonprofit organization Starlent decided to have a contest to be filmed as a reality television show. Though the organization focuses on training talented youths to be entertainment triple threats—singing, dancing, and acting—organization leaders also recognize the need for another skill: self-promotion. When 12-year-old Katie Cohen auditioned and was chosen to participate, she didn’t know the first challenge would involve growing a social media presence.

As her mother, Susan, felt 12 was a bit young for Facebook, Katie was never allowed to have a Facebook page. But that changed when the first challenge of the competition was issued. The challenge? Have more social media connections than any of the other 40 or so participants. 

The Connections 

Katie and her mom instantly went to work, creating Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube accounts. They contacted friends and family, asking them to spread the word. Slowly, the list of followers and friends began to grow. And then Susan, a professional tutor, mentioned the challenge to the mother of one of her students. The mother happened to be Marnie S. Goldberg, Social Medium at Amplification, Incorporated.

“As she explained the challenge to me, I got increasingly excited,” Marnie says. “This was another chance for us to show off our chops, because growing meaningful social media connections is what we do.”

Determined to help Katie win the challenge, the Amplification team sent out a call to arms to their massive social network. And the call was answered many times over. By the end of the week, Katie had racked up thousands of Facebook friends from every continent but Antarctica, hundreds of Twitter followers, and more than 20,000 YouTube views.

The Result 

At the end of the week, Katie’s numbers were enough to give her victory in the challenge. For a reward, she got to meet the celebrity panel and ask them questions that will help in future challenges and her career. While the folks at Amplification are hesitant to quantify exactly how much they boosted Katie’s social media presence, Susan and Katie aren’t so shy.

“Thanks Marnie and Steve!” Katie posted on her Facebook page. “I won my challenge thanks to you guys!”

Since realizing the power of social media, Katie and her cousin Carla Corsetti decided to lend a helping hand in Japan. Until March 31, 2011, they are donating two cents to the American Red Cross’s Japan Relief Fund for every view of their video, “I’ll Be There.”

Show your support for Katie by becoming her friend on Facebook (click here), following her on Twitter (click here), and encouraging your friends to do the same. Also, don’t forget to help Katie and Carla raise money to help Japan by watching their video of  “I’ll Be There” (click here) as many times as possible.

Wondering who makes up the celebrity panel? You’ll have to wait until the reality show airs. At this time, not even the Cohens know the name of the show, but they do know that a major network picked it up.

And if you’re tired of running yourself ragged on social media without getting any results, drop Amplification, Inc. a line via e-mail (click here) and find them on Facebook by clicking here.

This article was written by Daniel Brantley exclusively for Club Cabeza, please follow along on Twitter and Facebook. Daniel Brantley is a freelance writer, find him online at or go to to follow along.

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