Month: March, 2016
Congratulations, Twitter! You’ve made it 10 years without being overshadowed or forced out of what’s popular.
In the social media world, platforms are constantly emerging, changing and disappearing. To be among the top networks requires skilled adaptation, cutting edge creativity and the perception among users that it gives something no other network can or does.
Over the last 10 years, hundreds of different social media apps and services have emerged – some successfully, others not so much. The following timeline outlines the launch years of more popular networks, showing just where Twitter falls in the mix.
Xanga – 1999
Linkedin – 2003
Myspace – 2003
Facebook – 2004 (open to all in 2006)
Twitter – 2006
Tumblr – 2007
We Heart It – 2008
Foursquare – 2009
Instagram – 2010
Pinterest – 2011
Google+ – 2011
Snapchat – 2011
From the very beginning, Twitter’s approach and understanding of how we want to consume content resonated with the multitudes and pop culture is forever changed. Here are 10 ways the platform impacted social media in the last 10 years:
Originally intended as a way to organize conversations, the hashtag has become part of a lifestyle that revolves around social media. It allows users to follow trends, create their own or add humor. Newlyweds use it to create funny and unique tags for wedding photos with friends, brands use it to track engagement with audiences, etc. The hashtag became a cross-platform phenomenon, but it originated on Twitter.
Sharing other people’s tweets through the retweet feature on Twitter moved tweets from one user’s timeline to reach other followers through sharing. The feature allowed for Quote Tweets that allowed users to talk about what they’re retweeting. This lingo has also infiltrated everyday conversation as a form of support or agreement.
Twitter didn’t reinvent the art of being brief, but it definitely capitalized on it. Twitter has rammed home the point that you can communicate in 140 characters or less though some users still tweet various times in a row to get one message across. These condensed messages moved focus from having the most information to communicating the most important information.
4. Live Tweeting
When it comes to events, television shows, movies and the like, users go to Twitter to express their feelings throughout the ordeal. This live-tweeting culture has created a community of constant interaction with a topic in real time as people discuss their enjoyment, frustration, support and other feelings toward a common event.
5. Spoof Accounts
The speed with which spoof Twitter accounts are set up in reaction to unfolding events is impressive. Twitter is filled with parody accounts, from Not Mark Zuckerberg and Pharrell’s Hat to Left Shark and Donald Drumpf’s hair. These parody accounts add a layer of comedy and connection to the Twitter community.
6. Widespread Hoaxes and Information Sharing
Thanks to the social media platform’s reach, news can reach around the world in a matter of minutes – even if it’s a hoax. Cher’s premature death notice was more misunderstanding than hoax thanks to the #nowthatchersdead hashtag that started after the death of Margaret Thatcher. Morgan Freeman, Tom Hanks, Jeff Goldblum, even Justin Bieber have all had their fake deaths announced on Twitter. On the flip side of hoaxes, however, the far reach in short amounts of time also allow for a great outpour of support. For instance, Caitlyn Jenner’s ability to gains over 1 million followers in 3 hours, the support for those in Paris during the bombings, widespread grieving for Robin Williams, etc.
7. Brand Engagement
Twitter has given brands a platform for interaction, engagement and community with their audiences. As users use the platform to talk about their experiences in real time, brands have been given the unique opportunity to talk back immediately. Users also retweet brands, get involved in their polls and hashtags and tag brands when they interact with them. All of these lead to better communication between brands and audiences.
The launch of Twitter polls has proven to gain a lot of positive response by users. The short, up to four option polls allow for users to get a small idea of support for certain topics and create different discussions with their followers.
9. Twitter Moments
Packaging live moments from around the world within Moments has allowed for storytelling depth on Twitter that is more engaging and informative in one cohesive space. Moments give users the ability to figure out what is trending in each topic without the disruption of other unrelated messages on their timeline.
10. GIFs, GIFs and more GIFs
Among the newer additions to Twitter is the GIF Search capability. Integrating GIFs into the platform has lead to higher engagement and expressions by users and brands alike. The additional aspect of searching in one place to fully communicate an idea has given the Twitter community various options of how they want to communicate their current emotions.
Photo from Twitter
In the last 12 years of the evolving social media world, the number of users on platforms are ever-increasing, while marketers lack the confidence and skills for effective messaging on the different networks. The missed opportunities and lost revenue continues to build as the social media skills gap goes unaddressed.
By taking note of some of the causes of the social media skills gap and providing solutions to each, businesses and brands can move from baffled marketers to skilled managers.
Cause: Ever-changing platforms and features
It seems that every few months, at least one social platform has changed a feature – usually Facebook’s algorithm is the culprit of this cause of the increasing skill gap. Some months, it seems as though every platform is rolling out something new: Instagram’s account switching, Twitter’s optional algorithm, etc.
With ever-changing platform features, it can be difficult for brands to keep up with the latest trends on each social hub while still running their business efficiently and effectively.
Solution: Staying informed
Make time to stay informed on the latest trends in social media platforms. Set up Google Alerts for social media news to be pushed to you, rather than seeking it out yourself. Get connected with social media marketers on various platforms to see what they’re talking about in the social media news.
Cause: Lack of understanding social media expectations
Where users previously expected brands to only talk about their products and services, social media allows for two-sided relationships between brands and consumers. The wide adaptability of social media among consumers comes with their expectations to get answers to their questions on whichever platform they decide.
Solution: Know what is being said about your brand, respond
When consumers have either an extremely positive or a negative experience a product or service, they often times take to social media to tell their followers about it. Knowing where your brand is being talked about and what is being said is half of the customer service model on social media. Platforms give brands the opportunity to respond to their critics – and fans – in real-time with their complaints or praises.
Cause: Not receiving the proper education on social media
Unavoidably, many business owners and brand managers did not have a course on social media when they were in school. As a newer trend, these courses didn’t exist, or if they did, they were not comprehensive.
Solution: Social media and younger work generations
As social media becomes more and more prevalent with every new platform, their importance is being taught to the next generation of business owners, marketers and brand ambassadors. For current brand managers and business owners, there are various seminars and courses offered throughout the year educating on the latest and greatest of social media.
Smirk New Media is dedicated to keeping information channels open between brands and audiences. Through media training sessions and workshops for small business owners, Smirk aims to help bridge the social media skills gap.
Facebook’s Reactions feature rolled out globally in February and was met with excitement and criticism – as most things are – by people everywhere. After the initial dissatisfaction of Facebook still not having a “dislike” button, the Reactions available to users were embraced with excitement… and some confusion. Like all new things, it will take a little while to fully utilize the new feature. Ultimately, however, Facebook Reactions allow for more authentic engagement with posts.
The Smirk team sat down to discuss their favorite reaction, least favorite reaction and the advantages of reactions for brands and marketers.
What’s your favorite new reaction?
“I love the idea of the multiple reactions because as a user, it gives me more appropriate responses. I think people have already gravitated to that idea.
So far, I like “wow” and “haha” the best, because I think that is going to give us the most insight on how we make content better for these audiences. You want to elicit emotions in order to get engagement and, for lack of a better word, stickiness in the relationship between the brand and the audience.” – Mike Koehler, CEO and Chief Strategist
“Since the smirk isn’t an option yet, my favorite new reaction is the “love” sign because it’s a much more powerful sentiment than the original “like” and can help us gauge what content is resonating with the audience.” – Allie Carrick, Managing Director
“I honestly like all of them, but I think the “wow” and the heart are a tie for me. As marketers, you want to create content that moves people. It’s easy to get a “like,” but to create something that someone loves or takes them by surprise is a powerful thing. And now we can more accurately measure that.” – Kevin DeShazo, Senior Strategist
“I think my favorite reaction so far is the sad face. Not the most positive reaction, I know, but I’ve seen too many statuses and news articles over the years that has a certain mood that doesn’t quite fit the “like” reaction.” – Samaiyah Islam, Strategist
“My favorite Facebook reaction is “love”. The shape and color are the most distinct and it appears to make a wholly positive impression wherever it is left. I have seen it used primarily in three ways so far: people posting life events (such as engagements), people posting that they’re feeling sad (the “love” then being used as an “I love you”/”I am here for you”) and people posting screenshots of conversations in which they are being funny/arguing with someone and the “love” being used as a reward (“love the way you shut them down”, “love your sassy response”). The uses are so varied! Side note: I love that all of the reactions are animated on mobile.” – Kailey Emerson, Sales Strategist
“My favorite is the “love” reaction because it shows so much more emotion than just a simple “like”. As a user of Facebook, I appreciate the ability to show a wider range of response to a post beyond just a like. It’s nice that I can show that I saw the post without saying I “like” something sad or serious that may have happened in a friend/family member’s life.” – Lennon Patton, Sales Strategist
What’s your least favorite reaction?
“I guess I like the “like” reaction the least then, because that isn’t giving us as much information to drill down with.” – Mike
“I don’t think I have a least favorite, as all have a place. There are times when a post will make you sad or angry, and it should, so while some may see those as fueling negativity, I see them as a way to respond to posts that, for good reason, make us sad or angry.” – Kevin
“Because I am already used to seeing the “love” reaction used in a comforting way, I just can’t get behind the “sad” reaction. It’s too simple. I almost think the appeal of the other reactions is that they can be used in a wider variety of contexts. Maybe I just haven’t seen “sad” shine yet.” – Kailey
What can Facebook Reactions add to brands and managers?
“If we have a brand that can be a little cheekier with, these nuanced responses will help us do more of one kind of content and less of another. More real-time insights on Facebook are always great, because they allow us to pivot faster on the content creativity.” – Mike
“We’re always looking for new and improved ways to measure brand sentiment for our clients and the prospect of going beyond the “like” in a quick, easy format is exciting. For years, users have expressed that “like” just didn’t go far enough when they feel passionate about a piece of content.
I’m hoping the new reactions are just the tip of the iceberg in Facebook’s efforts to help users and brands connect and understand each other better. When brand managers have a deeper understanding of a Page’s digital audience, we can elevate our content — resulting in a better overall user experience. Plus, the easier it is for users to engage with our content, the more valuable this platform is for advertisers.” – Allie
“I like the 6 they have now, but one option would be too add a “confused/confusing” emoji reaction, for those posts that just make us scratch our heads and wonder what in the world we just read/saw.” – Kevin
“The new reactions feature will be great for managers because it gives them an idea of how their content is performing. Rather than just relieving a “lazy like” from your audience, you can see if people thought your content was funny or offensive. If you are getting a ton of “wow” or “angry” reactions on content that you didn’t mean to be controversial, you can get in front of the crisis and handle it accordingly.” – Samaiyah
“I think it will be another interesting aspect of engagement to measure. Right now, people are using the reactions in such varied ways, but I think over time there may be a more standardized usage and from there we can figure out how best to measure them. I am excited to see what it will reflect.” – Kailey
Smirk New Media is changing today.
That sentence has been many months in the making.
When I launched “a company” in 2010, it couldn’t even really be called that. It was just me, a used laptop and a bag full of hope and gumption.
Fast forward to today: We have a great team. We are trying new things while working on audacious goals. But Smirk New Media isn’t big enough to do all that we want to do.
Today we are launching two new companies. The first is pretty exciting. Doble R Media is a new brand which will take all of the best practices we’ve learned about marketing and deliver them to clients who are part of (or who are trying to reach) the Spanish-speaking market in Oklahoma City. This idea grew out of needs our clients had in 2015 and blossomed when we brought Liz Ramirez on board. Response has already been great to this brand, even before its official launch today. Liz will serve as Doble’s managing director. Please check out the new Doble R website at www.DobleR.Media
In conjunction with the Doble rollout is the creation of another new company – Smirk Solutions.
Smirk Solutions is my attempt to be Warren Buffett. 🙂 Smirk Solutions will serve the umbrella over all of our brands – Smirk New Media, Doble R Media, ‘Merica Media (which serves political campaigns and clients) and Social Network Staffing. This will allow me to work on an overall vision for all that we do, while empowering our team to execute and work closer with clients.
This is a great day. I couldn’t be happier with the work everyone has put into the success we have had in 2016. If you have any questions about working with us, for us or beside us, please feel free to reach out.
Onward and upward,