15 Sep

Brands Going Live

Harrison Maud social media Tags: , ,

Imagine holding a meeting without setting up chairs, pouring coffee or making nametags—and still getting immediate feedback. Think of the benefits of giving potential customers an inside look at your kitchen or your new office space. What if you could show donors in real time the difference you are making with their investment? You can. Other companies and organizations are doing these things, and many more, with Facebook Live.

From the local museum and a coffee shop around the corner to national giants, companies of all sizes are using Facebook Live, a free tool, to enhance their brands and literally show and tell their stories in real time. Owners, social media specialists, entertainers, entrepreneurs and politicians are jumping at the chance to discuss, showcase, highlight, entertain and inspire through this new feature. Anyone with a Facebook account can create a status and be live in seconds—having a reliable signal may be your only limitation.

A few notable successes:

Dunkin’ Donuts used Facebook Live for the first time as they showed millions of viewers the process of creating a Valentine’s Day cake from their corporate kitchen. After realizing the potential, they created a Valentines Day contest for most creative marriage proposal. This has now become a key component of their marketing efforts.

Chevrolet teased viewers with glimpses of their much-anticipated electric car, the Spark, prior to its release via Facebook Live, allowing super fans an early look at this product before its official launch.

Martha Stewart gives cooking lessons real time to promote her brand.

How could you use Facebook Live? Five ideas for you to consider:

1. Discuss a topic your viewers or customers are interested in—if you were to post a few days in advance to gain insight into some ideas or suggestions customers have, a Facebook Live session gives you the opportunity to address these in real time. Being able to talk to them shows the “human” in the business, which is something the viewers can relate to.

2. Give an inside look at your business. Literally, give a glimpse behind closed doors. Capitalize on the cool factor with certain areas, such as entertainment companies or sporting teams. An exclusive locker room tour, a chic company rec center, or showing the inside of a tour bus could really get a lot of views from many demographic groups.

3. Promote or broadcast your event—a concert, celebrity appearance, political rally, clothing sale, or sporting event could all benefit from the addition of Facebook Live to your media mix.

4. “Tease” a new product or idea—whether it’s a tech company showing off new toys or Air Jordan sharing glimpses of a new sneaker, fans and viewers would even more eagerly anticipate the arrival of the actual product.

5. Answer FAQs—getting the same questions over and over? Answer them “in person” and then save the video so others can view it later.

13 Sep

The Lost Link: LinkedIn Brings Back Hashtags

Harrison Maud LinkedIn, social media Tags: , , , 0 Comments

Even if you are an occasional user of social media, you have witnessed countless #hashtags. In the past, hashtags included in LinkedIn posts did nothing more than demonstrate the user didn’t fully understand the capabilities of the platform. That’s about to change.

LinkedIn has brought back the use of hashtags to enhance the experience of all 450 million users that use the social platform dubbed the “business-oriented” social networking service.

“Welcome to the Internet, LinkedIn. It’s about time,” said Smirk strategist Michaela Brandt. “Long past are the days since hashtags were reserved only for Twitter.”

As a LinkedIn user, you can include hashtags in anything you write. Whether that is an advertisement a brand sends out, an article you write, or a simple message to a friend congratulating them on a new job — adding a hashtag to your post creates conversation for brands and people. Hashtags organize similar content, which lets any of LinkedIn’s 450 million users find your articles quicker. Using hashtags in a clever way can really skyrocket your following. At any time you may modify your privacy settings in order to monitor who may read your articles.

On the opposite end, when searching for articles, ideas, jobs, or people, hashtags make it easy.  With the ability to tap these hashtags, you can find specific needs or explore related information. After finding search results, you can pick other related posts or use that hashtag to participate in the conversation. Like other social platforms, only public posts using the hashtag will be shown in search.

“Frankly, tracking conversations and topics through hashtags just makes sense, especially on a professional platform where topics often revolve around industry and trades,” said Brandt. “Whether or not they’ll be used often or well is still up in the air, but it’s one of the platforms where hashtags make sense for the benefit of the user and publisher alike.”

Although accessible on the desktop version, hashtag use was designed for its iOS & Android apps. LinkedIn knows that the majority of its users are strictly mobile and the small percentage of users who use the desktop version are generally people who are not using hashtags in the first place.

Before this upgrade, searching for content was difficult. When looking for an article, you had to go to the author’s individual profile and swipe through before finding the content. Now, hashtags cut down on search time, making it easier for users to find what they are interested in.

LinkedIn says this update is just the beginning. This is an important step to make sure that its entire library of resources is being utilized and made available to more users. Although 450 million people call themselves LinkedIn users, only a quarter of them visit the site on a monthly basis and this is just one of the ways this platform is trying to re-engage its user base on a more regular basis.

12 Aug

Brand storytelling on Instagram exceeds Snapchat

Michaela Lawson Instagram, Marketing, Snapchat, social media, social media strategy Tags: , , , ,

By Michaela Lawson

Instagram’s newest feature is making waves of controversy in the world of social media loyalty as the capability seems eerily similar to Snapchat Stories.

The Facebook-owned photo-sharing app just launched Stories, a new feature that looks almost exactly like Snapchat’s Stories product. Both let users post photos and videos to a timeline that disappears in 24 hours.

The genius lies in the platform having a larger audience for brands and advertisers that Snapchat has failed to really leverage. Unlike Instagram, Snapchat lacks the appeal for users to follow brands on their platform, which is commonly used for more personal interactions between users.

Despite user Stories airing their dislike for the Instagram feature that is “copying Snapchat,” these same users are watching more brands’ Instagram Stories than Snapchat Stories. The fact of the matter is simple: the same audience is more willing to follow brands on Instagram than on Snapchat, therefore providing better access to Instagram Stories by these brands.

Instagram has about twice as many daily users than Snapchat, and Instagram also makes it much easier for brands to cultivate organic followings through search and discovery.

Nike has already seen that size difference in action, telling Ad Age that it got 800,000 views on a newly posted Instagram Story versus 66,000 views on its most popular Snapchat Story. Snapchat may have a higher ratio of loyal millennial users than Instagram, but Instagram has way more users overall.

Unlike Snapchat Stories, Instagram Stories offers more features that are more advertiser-friendly in nature, including uploading from your camera roll and more creative pen options, including a neon pen. Instagram does lack the geofilters and ever-changing selfie filter lenses that are uniquely Snapchat’s bread-and-butter with their users.

Regardless, though, Instagram Stories is a marketing game changer for brands already on Instagram. Utilizing the new feature is simple and easy to learn, but like all social media marketing, know the platform before you go on a posting frenzy.

For strategic posting on Instagram Stories and other social media platforms, contact us.

09 Aug

#ShopEdmond: Why Response Matters

Michaela Lawson Business, Content, Small Business, Social, Twitter Tags: , , , , , , ,

By Michaela Lawson

A local hashtag became the top trending topic on Twitter and even received national response on Friday amid other big ticket news items – Russell Westbrook’s extension and the 2016 Olympics Opening Ceremony to name a few.

The hashtag #ShopEdmond was besieged with responses on Twitter Friday after the lifestyle magazine Edmond Active said it had trademarked the phrase.

IMG_8761

The Twitterverse heartily rejected this assertion, and the hashtag was used by outraged users posting everything from silly pictures to heated screeds about marketing and intellectual property law.

The long and short of the dilemma stemmed from the publisher of the lifestyle magazine Edmond Active, Sherri Hultner, trying to defend a trademarked phrase when used for marketing and advertising purposes. Hultner said the tweet was intended for businesses trying to leverage #ShopEdmond audiences for their own business without advertising with Edmond Active.

However, the tweet requesting people not to use the hashtag was seen as an attempt to keep the public from using the hashtag as well, which is what seemingly fueled the negative conversation.

“It’s not even really a hashtag that the public uses,” Hultner said in a phone interview with The Oklahoman. “It hasn’t been an issue except for three or four people grabbing it for marketing.”

Not only did the original tweet offend, though, but the initial responses between the brand and upset Twitter users – including the blocking of local reporter Brianna Bailey – caused the controversy to continue growing until was a nationally trending topic and garnered a response from the man who created the hashtag, Chris Messina.

IMG_8763Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 12.46.31 PM

Our own Mike Koehler, CEO and Chief Strategist, discussed the issue with KFOR reporter Lorne Fultonberg on Friday afternoon.

So, how could things have gone differently?

In any misunderstanding or issue involving brands, the biggest factor to a successful resolution ultimately lies in the immediate response by the brand. Here are a few things to keep in mind when responding to a crisis on any scale through social media:

  1. Step back and look at the whole picture

By allowing yourself a little bit of time to figure out the best response to whatever is happening, you automatically decrease the possibility of making the problem worse through hastily drafted responses. Allow yourself the time to have consistent, thought-out responses to defuse the situation.

Often times, having the right people in your corner can make the difference. Seeing a situation from multiple perspectives helps identify your blind spots for an overall better response. You may even need to consider having a marketing firm to consult with regularly to prevent and effectively respond to situations like these when they occur.

  1. Be upfront, honest and transparent

Own up to your shortcomings in the situation. If you said something you shouldn’t have, apologize wholeheartedly to those you upset and try to right the wrong. If there has been a misunderstanding, apologize for being unclear and reconsider your message. Understand where the outrage is coming from and address that concern directly. People are more graceful when you admit wrongdoing than trying to defend it further.

  1. Respond as quickly as possible

Once you figure out the right approach to resolving the issue, you want to respond to the problem as quickly as possible to try to get in front of the problem before it becomes overbearing in responses. Shaping your own messaging is important for being able to frame the issue correctly before someone else can write their version of your story for you.

  1. Consider what you could do differently

For ongoing issues, see if there is another viable option to resolving the problem without going to social media about the concern. For #ShopEdmond specifically, we suggest reaching out to the few brands using the hashtag without advertising with the magazine. By approaching them directly, you have the opportunity to express your concern and possible establish a relationship that would lead to a partnership opportunity with those businesses as well. The entire Twitter backlash may have been avoided using this approach.

Ultimately, if you need help in a situation like this, know who to call. Oftentimes, there is a fine balance between dealing with crises effectively and making them worse. By having a plan in place for difficult times, you are able to learn to effectively handle issues when they inevitably rise for your business.

26 Jul

Study: Ads on social media are no longer optional

Michaela Lawson Business, Content, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Marketing, OKC, Oklahoma, Our Clients, Snapchat, Social

By Michaela Lawson

Since working at Smirk, I don’t think a single day has gone by (okay, maybe that’s a little exaggerated) without hearing Allie say something about the necessity of putting money behind brand content on social media.

And, low and behold, a recent study by the American Marketing Association has found that to be absolutely true.

Accepted

The Journal of Marketing reports that, based on their findings regarding company-generated content, social media is “most effective when combined with ads.” Even more than that though, they found that brand messaging on social media “indeed increases sales and customer profitability.”

Of course the report was quick to emphasize that other forms of marketing – the more traditional routes – are not to be neglected. Although 90 percent of customer responses were found to be generated from digital ads, “marketers should strive to achieve a synergistic approach so that ads in all platforms work together to reach audiences in cadence to an established tone and message.”

So, how do we integrate social media – backed by marketing dollars – into our overall marketing campaigns?

The first step to all marketing decisions starts with defining your target market, followed by framing messaging for optimal performance among those audiences.

Only then can you locate where the desired audience spends most of their time, which in the past few years is oftentimes social media platforms. Knowing where and how your target audience communicates allows you to engage customers according to their preferences.

Various features have rolled out in the last few months and years on social media platforms that allow for more specific demographic reach within those networks. These tools allow us to know who we are communicating with in very real and quantifiable ways more than ever before.

To neglect social media is corporate suicide. So, it’s about time marketers recognized the importance of spending money where the audiences are – social media. And with that, making sure the right people with the right training are running those messages and ads on social platforms for the best results.

06 Jun

Smirk Reacts: Instagram’s new logo

Michaela Lawson Instagram, Marketing, social media, social media strategy Tags: , , , ,

By Michaela Lawson

“We need to stand out a little more. Any ideas?”

“Change the font.”

“Change the layout.”

“Change the logo.”

“Change it all!”

“Let’s break the Internet today.”

That’s about how I imagine the conversation went at Instagram’s headquarters last week, before the unveiling of their new layout and logo. The iconic brown camera we knew and loved has been replaced with a simplified white line camera imposed over a “rainbow gradient.”

Let me be perfectly clear, I think the new Instagram logo is an epic monstrosity. I thought  color gradient screens went out sometime during the Clinton Presidency. But alas, there it is sitting on my home screen like some rainbow Cyclops.” – Mike Koehler, President and Chief Strategist

It’s a classic case of trying too hard to cause waves of news among fans and media alike. While rebrandings and logo refreshes are often useful and needed, the public outcry regarding Instagram’s remodel is simple: you did too much at once.

The image-sharing platform was known well for its logo, and a modern simplification and refreshed version of it would have likely been received quite well. Most users have agreed that the updates inside the app are great – new font, emphasis on photos, simplified buttons, etc. It’s the logo change itself that has everyone in an uproar.

But how do you know if your logo has reached the level of identifiability in which changing it would cause outrage, rather than a warm welcome? When should brands revamp, rebrand or reimagine their logo? And what value can it bring audiences?

The Smirk team responds:

“Rebranding is something that is necessary – you shake things up, spice them up a little. However, I do think that brands need to be very cautious when rebranding because many will already have a set identity. … I think rebranding is more to “freshen things,” making them more modern and relevant to the world today.”  – Liz Ramirez, Strategist

“The logo is the visual symbol of a brand’s identity. That visual creates a sense of trust and familiarity in the minds of your audience. Making a logo change is a big deal and should only happen if it’s necessary to revitalize your brand, increase recognition or eliminate an outdated look that isn’t resonating anymore.

If you’re a well-known brand and decide to make a change, keep in mind: social media will probably hate it. Rebranding causes reflexive reactions and those are often negative. Don’t change course based on the immediate reaction, listen to your audience, be responsive and transparent about the reasons behind the change.” – Allie Carrick, Managing Director

“Why do brands poke and prod their logos? Sometimes I think it’s to add some freshness or reinvent themselves when the brand might be taking a new turn. I’m all for that. One thing to do though is to run that new logo past some normal people instead of falling in love with your own genius, which seems to happen a lot. Make sure your logo means something in a not esoteric way, and for goodness sake, hire a professional.” – Mike Koehler, President and Chief Strategist

“I think a brand updating their logo is most effective when they’re rolling out other big changes … Like a website or an app interface, I think good design is rolled out in incremental changes rather than a total overhaul.” – Kailey Emerson, Business Development

Instagram communicated that the reason for the logo change was that “the Instagram community has evolved over the past five years from a place to share filtered photos to so much more — a global community of interests sharing more than 80 million photos and videos every day.” The went on to say that the company’s “updated look reflects how vibrant and diverse your storytelling has become.” To that, we say:

“While Instagram has evolved as a platform since its inception, its original logo was iconic and identified them as the digital equivalent of Polaroids. I think Instagram made this change without any substantive reason to do so and sacrificed an iconic visual brand association for something that looks like elementary level spin art.” – Allie

“I am not too keen on the Instagram revamp because I’m not sure if it correctly represents their brand. This past when I’m scrolling through my phone, I always over look the Instagram app because my brain is not used to the change. I think most people have negative reactions to logo changes because it is never explained why there is a change in the first place. If you get your loyal audience involved, the change won’t be so shocking.” – Samaiyah Islam, Strategist

“You don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time you change something in the app. Brand overhauls make sense occasionally, but the Instagram update was not one of these occasions. A simpler, more modernized version of what Instagram already had would have been a much better option to roll out the new internal updates from the platform. Keep it simple, but keep it recognizable.” – Michaela Lawson, Strategist

“From a sales/marketing perspective, I think the redesign was genius because people are talking about the app. And I would be willing to bet they had a lot of people opening that app just to see what was new or changed.” – Lennon Patton, Business Development

With logos being at the forefront of any company – but especially those with apps – redesigns require a lot of thought, conversation and transparency for them to be received well by the public. Involving your audience with your company’s decisions is a very practical modern day phenomenon that makes your fans feel closer to the behind-the-scenes daily grind at your company. Don’t neglect your loyal following and remember how your decisions affect the ones who got you to where you are today.

20 Apr

Getting your event noticed on Snapchat

Michaela Lawson Business, OKC, Our Clients, Small Business, Snapchat, Social, social media

By Michaela Lawson

When Snapchat opened custom on-demand geofilters to everyone, brands and marketers everywhere went crazy about the news. However, these custom Snapchat geofilters have flown largely under the radar, and are most commonly used by cities and some large events. The ability for local businesses to use these filters is relatively untapped.

While these filters could become an enormous business for Snapchat in its scalability, their value for users is also scalable. The feature is a prime example of content and context at its finest on social media.

Brands and businesses should take advantage of the ability to mark events with these custom geofilters. The value of your branding impression compared to impressions on other platforms is high because of geofilters’ ability to really be seen on the platform.

“Filters catch you off guard – they catch your attention and show up directly in your account. Plus, you’re bringing value to the viewer: they have the ability to interact with it in a contextually relevant and fun way.” – Gary Vaynerchuk

Snapchat has a pretty comprehensive guide to all the rules you need to follow when creating a filter. The premise is simple: design, map and buy. These three steps can lead to high engagement and value to users attending various events, especially local events.

For Rayo OKC’s opening night on April 2, Smirk New Media created a Snapchat geofilter to appeal to a captive audience. We wanted the brand to celebrate along with its fans about the first night of professional soccer in the North American Soccer League in the OKC Metro. With over 400 uses and more than 21,000 views overall, the geofilter brought awareness and creativity to fans in the stands.

In creating the filter, we followed Snapchat’s steps:

  • Design: We came up with a half dozen examples of what could be done on Snapchat – in the top of the screen, bottom of the screen or corner, in ways that would highlight the brand, but still allow users to create a great photo.
  • Map: Snapchat allows you to build a geographic fence on a map in which your geofilter will work. We made a pretty tight boundary for the Rayo OKC filter – just the boundaries of Miller Stadium where the team was playing. This pumped up the exclusivity of the filter and made it a real game-day experience.
  • Buy: Snapchat’s custom geofilter offering is priced based on two factor – square footage of your mapped area and time it will be active.

Local brands and businesses have more to offer their audiences through the use of geofilters for events, whether it’s a grand opening or a monthly event. In order to help brands provide more to their audiences and customers, we are now offering services to create and manage event geofilters. Contact us for more information.

11 Apr

Instagram jumps aboard the algorithm bandwagon

Michaela Lawson Instagram, Marketing, Social, social media, social media policy, social media strategy

By Michaela Lawson

Come one, come all to the bandwagon of algorithm freak-outs.

Another social media platform sparked widespread panic among users and influencers after announcing the introduction of an algorithm to break up the reverse-chronological newsfeed.

A social media algorithm – first introduced by Facebook, then adopted by Twitter and now Instagram – determines which pieces of content are displayed on individual users’ news feeds. Facebook gives more weighting to personal pages over business pages, which are encouraged to ‘break’ the algorithm by paying for ads to reach their audience.

Instagram announced that it would be going algorithmic last month stating:

“You may be surprised to learn that people miss on average 70 percent of their feeds. As Instagram has grown, it’s become harder to keep up with all the photos and videos people share. This means you often don’t see the posts you might care about the most.

To improve your experience, your feed will soon be ordered to show the moments we believe you will care about the most.

The order of photos and videos in your feed will be based on the likelihood you’ll be interested in the content, your relationship with the person posting and the timeliness of the post. As we begin, we’re focusing on optimizing the order — all the posts will still be there, just in a different order.

If your favorite musician shares a video from last night’s concert, it will be waiting for you when you wake up, no matter how many accounts you follow or what time zone you live in. And when your best friend posts a photo of her new puppy, you won’t miss it.

We’re going to take time to get this right and listen to your feedback along the way. You’ll see this new experience in the coming months.”

While users began panicking about the change thinking that they would lose their beloved reverse chronological glimpses into the people that they follow’s lives, brands began a frenzy of urging followers to “Turn On Notifications.”

It was bound to happen: brands will have to start paying to play on Instagram’s platform, just like they do on Facebook and Twitter. As the algorithm aims to create a better experience for users, brands are forced to either create engaging and high quality content or pay for placement in the feed.

Entrepreneur, author and friend Gary Vaynerchuk said there are two big take aways from the change:

“(1) that algorithms like these, showing you what you care about most, is what Facebook and Instagram have done better than anybody else this generation and I give Instagram a triple thumbs up for what they’re doing. It’s a triple thumbs up not because it’s better for ad dollars, but because it’s better for the end user and anything that is better for the end user is the winning formula.

(2) You all need to understand the difference between being a headline reader and practitioner. Every time a big update for any platform comes out, everybody gets emotional real fast. Once again, I’ve been pissed off about how everybody’s crying and moaning because of all these headlines talking about how “Instagram’s decision to include an algorithm to their feed is going to ruin them.” It’s not. So instead of freaking out when you read headlines like this, form your own opinion. Think about it for yourself. Do the homework. Be a practitioner.

Knowing what drives engagement on the visually-driven platform is key in knowing how to remain relevant to audiences. Here are three simple tips to stay engaging and relevant:

  1. Showcase products and services in creative ways. Your audiences are interested in your brand and what you have to offer. If you sell clothing, post visually-appealing photos of that clothing. If food, then food. If you are in a visually-appealing location, post that. Follow trends of what makes good content – right now, all the rage is the utilization of white space.
  1. Establish a visual brand identity. Have a standard for your photos, so that users know it’s you at first sight. Don’t use a variety of photo filters and don’t muddy your photo with text. Create consistently appealing photos and videos that your audience will love.
  1. Create interactive #hashtag campaigns. Give users the ability to join in on the community that surrounds your brand and follow others through their interactions as well.

Happy algorithm sailing and may the odds be ever in your favor.

21 Mar

Happy birthday, Twitter

Michaela Lawson Social, social media, Twitter Tags: ,

By Michaela Lawson

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:

1. Hashtags

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.

2. Retweets

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.

3. Brevity

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.

8. Polls

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

16 Mar

Bridging the Social Media Skills Gap

Content, Facebook, Featured, Google Plus, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Marketing, OKC, Oklahoma, SEO, Services, Small Business, social media, social media strategy, strategy, Twitter

social media skills

By Michaela Lawson

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.

 

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