06 Oct

Who – or what – is speaking for your company?

Thomas Fleming social media 0 Comments

AI and bots may be what’s next online

Automated response technology has often received a bad reputation for how frustrating it can be in over-the-phone and online situations, but recent artificial intelligence developments have brought a huge improvement to the art of the AI-human relations.

The chatbot has quickly become the new thing in business and sales customer service, and it does so with a customizable personality and style. The Cosmopolitan Hotel, for example, has a chatbot named Rose who helps customers with questions about the hotel and surrounding areas via text. But the chatbot often includes quippy remarks or comebacks, and has even been described as a “sultry siren.” Another example, Taco Bell’s TacoBot, helps customers place orders on an application. The bot allows anyone to fully customize their order and enter delivery details.

The biggest potential with artificial intelligence usage lies in costumer service for large-scale businesses. Bots can provide customers with a 24-hour availability, and with advancements in AI and natural language processing (NLP), bots are capable of understanding formal and informal dialogue, punctuation and even emojis. These bots can also act as an online consultant while a costumer is shopping, which is a great way to keep shoppers on the site and eventually buy product. “Businesses are gaining a greater understanding that the customer service aspect of social media and digital platforms will be critical going forward,” said Smirk New Media president Mike Koehler. “Using bots will enable businesses to make sure customers are delivered basic information and receive some interaction from brands.”

But while they chatbots can be helpful, they still need some tweaking. Some complicated costumer service situations can perplex basic AI, and they should still be supervised by a human. “There is still a critical piece missing in how a brand discovers the right voice for its content and shows humanity in its interactions,” Koehler said. “Fortunately, you still need humans for that.”

AI is quickly becoming a valuable tool for large companies, as it has provided a way to better connect with customers while simultaneously saving millions every year. Although there is room for improvement, chatbots are adequately programmed to serve an important purpose in the business world, and their usage will only increase in the future.

09 Aug

Introducing Our Newest Smirker: Emily Martinez

Allie Carrick social media Tags: , , 0 Comments

Smirk New Media celebrated its seventh anniversary this summer. That milestone compelled us to step back and be grateful. We survived every variable a startup grapples with and adapted to those challenges. Watching our team grow was the best part. Each new face is defining our culture for the better and contributes to every win.

We are thrilled to welcome a new strategist to the Smirk family, Emily Martinez. Emily will bring her passion for social media marketing strategy to account management and content development. We will give her the floor to introduce herself in her own words.

Meet Emily

I am from Austin, Texas, but the Keep Austin Weird vibes weren’t enough to stop me from crossing the Red River for college. I attended The University of Oklahoma and graduated with a degree in Public Relations and a minor in Political Science.

When I came to Norman for school, I thought I would always end up back in Texas, but four years later I found myself in love with OKC, the Thunder, and the Keep It Local atmosphere. Part of me will always be deep in the heart of Texas, but Oklahoma City is such a unique and lively place to live that I could not be happier starting my career here!

Apart from the social reasons, Oklahoma City was the best choice for me because I was interested in refining and enhancing my digital marketing skills. From my research, I knew that Smirk was a pioneer in the field I was after, so I set my sights on their firm. I have acquired a diverse set of skills and I intend to utilize and build upon each of them at Smirk.

I am a very passionate worker and have been performing in a professional setting since 2011. My first true passion was writing, and I was able to build upon that during a two-year stint as an Intern/Contributing Writer at the Austin American Statesman. Through my coursework at OU, I discovered Social Media Marketing and fell in love with the idea that these platforms transformed an industry previously reliant on billboards and newspaper ads to a conversational, accessible, and personalized market.

I threw myself into my studies and found internships and extracurricular activities that allowed my knowledge to grow. My most recent experience allowed me to explore a facet of digital marketing I did not have as much experience with search engine optimization. I have always been fascinated by technology and how things work, so SEO meshed very well with my “techie” side.

Considering my background in journalism, passion for social media marketing, and love all things tech, setting my sights on a career in digital marketing was a no-brainer. I counted down the hours to my first day at Smirk and I am loving every minute of it!

However, I haven’t given you the full scoop on “Who is Emily Martinez?” just yet. I mentioned my first passion was writing, which has now evolved into digital marketing, but now I want to touch on my other passions in life…

First, dogs. I love all of them, but I especially love my two bloodhounds that we rescued last year named Brick and Daisy. If an opportunity presents itself, I will show you their Instagram page that is run by my parents (@brickanddaisy). Second, Star Wars. I have R2D2 and Chewbacca on my keys and a Millennium Falcon figurine on my nightstand, and if you haven’t seen the original three movies, I would be glad to give you a verbal play-by-play. Finally, Italy. I spent a semester abroad in Arezzo, Italy, and the food was phenomenal, the people were friendly, and I hope to live in a Tuscan villa when I retire.

Ciao,

Emily

01 Jun

Smirk Slant: Great content is a ninja vs. ad blockers

Mike Koehler Advertising, Content, digital advertising, digital content, Smirk Slant, social media content 0 Comments

The number one metric in digital marketing? Eyeballs.
The problem? Consumers are doing everything they can to protect their peepers from brands online.
The latest news – a new survey showing ad blocking on laptops is now at 40 percent of all users. On mobile, the number is 15 percent and rising. After years of flashing, spinning and stalking banner ads, consumers have gotten sick of being sold to in certain ways.
What they still want though, are stories.
In a world where consumers are building walls, great online content can be a ninja for brands, sneaking over the wall and through the cracks to stand right next to their audience. Content wins the ad blocker game because social media users have already opted into a relationship with brands. That audience wants to be part of the give-and-take of attention and solid storytelling. But they will shut their eyeballs if that content is boring, trite, too salesy, predictable or not valuable to them. The challenge for content creators then is not a piece of code that could make your brand disappear, but an emphasis on quality which will keep it alive, well and visible.

— Mike Koehler

Smirk Slant is a series of short blogs offering quick reactions to the latest news in social media and digital marketing.

09 May

Smirk New Media Names Allie Carrick President and Managing Partner

Smirk Team Smirk culture, Smirk News 1 Comment

Smirk New Media announced Monday Allie Carrick has been named president and managing partner, effective immediately.

Carrick is a six-year veteran of Smirk and has served as managing director for the last year-and-a-half. She will now lead Smirk’s team of strategists and handle day-to-day operations.

Founder Mike Koehler will remain chief strategist, focusing on strategic partnerships, brand growth and future initiatives.

“Allie has been an essential piece of Smirk’s growth since the minute she joined the team. We believe, without question, she is the top digital marketer in the state and her work reflects that,” said Koehler, who launched Smirk in 2010. “We see this as another chapter in the company’s progress. Allie will inspire our team every day.”

Under Carrick’s leadership, Smirk has expanded its brand portfolio and improved execution across its clientele. These actions helped drive solid topline growth and expanded the company’s market share in Oklahoma City and beyond.

“In an industry that never stands still, I’m excited to take this step forward as we continue to grow and expand our services,” Carrick said. “I am proud to work with our team to produce cutting edge digital strategies, original content and an empowered staff in a culture of creativity and innovation.”

Koehler looks forward to concentrating his attention on bringing more of the innovations to digital marketing that lead Smirk to be the first independent social media marketing agency in Oklahoma.

“I’ll spend a lot of my time thinking deep thoughts about how digital marketing is changing the world and keeping Smirk on top of it,” Koehler said. “This continues to be a revolutionary business, and the future is very, very bright.”

Carrick is also the past president of OKC Social, the local professional group for digital marketers.

About Smirk New Media

Founded in 2010, Smirk New Media specializes in all things digital, executing robust digital marketing strategies and social media management for organizations of every size and industry. Smirk’s team is a powerhouse of marketing, social media, SEO, pay-per-click, public relations and advertising experience. Smirk serves clients across the U.S. from its headquarters in Oklahoma City.

20 Apr

Why Instagram wins: Quality content is its cornerstone

Mike Koehler digital content, Instagram, Snapchat, social media, social media content 0 Comments
Instagram seeks quality content from its users
Shooting photos of food – no matter how many times they have to do it to get it right – shows how much value Instagram users put into the quality of their content..

In the years since social media first burst onto the scenes, there’s always been a jostling among the platforms to prove which is best, most popular and actually making a profit. Facebook has emerged as the giant, but that doesn’t mean the second place hasn’t turned into a mad scramble.

At Smirk New Media, we preach that your audience should dictate the platforms your business uses. It’s still true and the cornerstone of many strategies, but when it comes to walling off the contenders from the pretenders, what comes next?

In the case of Instagram vs. Snapchat, it’s the burden of quality.

I’ve been using both channels more over the past year, consuming Snapchat Stories, before Instagram replicated the concept, then continuing to watch them butt heads day after day.

Instagram has always been the better product, both for the user and for an advertiser, as well as an exceptional experience. Why? Because when you step into the Instagram mindset, part of that is an expectation is to post great photos. It’s also about extra takes of the overhead shots of your salad, snagging the best Oklahoma sunset and, of course, the kids.

Something clicks when a user is on Instagram that doesn’t click when they are on Snapchat. Maybe it’s because Snapchat still carries around its grimy reputation that it’s not a showcase of the photos as much as it is of immediacy? That’s all fine and good until they compete on equal ground on something like stories and pursue brands.

A story that tells an experience – a trip to the Oklahoma City Thunder game or a special trip with your family – has so much more vitality on Instagram. When a brand approaches both, ready to spend dollars to promote quality content, they are going to choose (demographics being equal) where quality is built into the social media community.

During this battle with Snapchat, Instagram continues to survive, thrive and innovate under the protective parentage of Facebook. And with more than a billion users worldwide, Facebook remains the undisputed giant of social media, but Instagram is quickly becoming its most gifted and talented child.

 

20 Apr

Can’t Stop the Smirking — We’re Hiring

Allie Carrick Job Postings Tags: , ,

Smirk New Media is looking for an experienced communicator and innovative digital marketing pro to join our team in Oklahoma City. Our strategists are problem-solvers for our clients’ digital marketing needs. They work on a range of projects, promoting and protecting our client’s online success with great content and informed strategy.

Check out the position description below and let us know if you think you’re up to the job.

Digital Marketing Strategist

Location: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Time Requirement: FT 40 Hours / Week

Working with our senior staff, strategists collaborate on client social media strategies and are responsible for day-to-day execution of social media campaigns; tasks include creative brainstorming, content creation, monitoring, profile maintenance, frequent engagement/conversation, customer service, targeting and managing advertising campaigns as well as analyzing metrics.

We need a team player who can wear a wide range of hats (these are metaphorical, you will not be required to actually wear a hat), will take ownership of his or her projects, and can move seamlessly between the strategic and the tactical.

Why Smirk? Smirk is one of the fastest growing independent digital marketing agencies in the region, working with brands of all sizes from local businesses to Fortune 500 companies. We love what we do and who we work with. We’re passionate about going above and beyond for our clients. We challenge ourselves to deliver more creative, cohesive and engaging content to help our clients stand out from the crowd — and we have a great time doing it.

What We’d Like to See

  • Creative, versatile self-starter who is comfortable with both taking initiative and working in collaboration.
  • Visual thinker with an eye for dynamic images or video.
  • Strong verbal and writing skills as well as a keen eye for detail.
  • Active accounts across key social media platforms including, but not limited to, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. If you haven’t updated your account since attending your cousin’s birthday party in 2015, we’ll notice.
  • Team player able to seamlessly integrate with a diverse group.
  • Ability to meet deadlines and organize the many details that need to come together to create a big impact for our clients.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Develop digital marketing strategies that meet client objectives.
  • Write creative, engaging marketing content specific to each social media platform.
  • Craft website copy using effective SEO practices for client websites.
  • Stay current on the latest digital trends.
  • Analyze metrics on engagement and follower growth and adapt content strategies accordingly.
  • Collaborate closely with our group of strategists in design, strategy, and production of client websites or social media content.
  • Prepare monthly reports to update staff/clients on predetermined metrics.

Perks

  • Work in a laid back, yet ambitious team culture with a flexible schedule.
  • The opportunity to work with an interesting and varied group of clients.
  • Unlimited access to the Ms. Pac Man machine in our office.

To apply, please send your resume to allie@smirknewmedia.com.

24 Mar

To post or not to Post

Lauren Ashpole digital advertising, Marketing, Services, Social, social media, social media strategy, strategy 0 Comments

To post or not to post — that is the question. Tis nobler on social media to suffer the wrath of an audience than to post nothing at all. And by posting incorrectly? To die; to fail.

We won’t continue to quote Hamlet, but what an outstanding guy. In this part of the play, Hamlet is debating his own life and, to the extreme, what your brand is doing if they don’t have a social media presence — slowly killing themselves.

Mike Koehler, Smirk’s president and chief strategist, spoke to students about managing brand social media accounts at the PRSSA Regional Conference on Feb. 26.

“Social media is the Walmart greeter of your brand,” said Koehler. “Consumers are researching brands online and social is their first stop.”

Why does Walmart have greeters? Even if you had a horrible shopping trip, which could never happen at Walmart… there is someone with a smile telling you to “Have a great day!”

Consumers look to your social for your positive presence, how active you are within the community, what values you have or don’t have. It is your audience’s introduction to your brand.

Let your brand speak for itself. Publish content that reflects your brand. If you’re a dog shelter you don’t need to celebrate National Lollipop Day. Is there a way to make that event relevant to your brand? Maybe.

“In honor of National Lollipop Day, we are partnering with Lulu’s Lollipops. Proceeds from each lolli purchase today will help place homeless pets in forever homes.”

Every piece of content your brand features should pass two simple tests:

  • Is this relevant to my brand?
  • Does this add value to my audience?

Anything less than this and you are training your audience not to pay attention when you appear in their feed.

Some brands believe a lack of social activity will shelter them from negative reviews. When users critique your brand on Facebook, even if you don’t have a Facebook page, it will still tag your company and appear when other users search for you. Your active presence and timely responses speak volumes to users researching your brand.
Let us help you discover your voice. Smirk helps industries of all kinds find their voice online and connect with customers. For any questions about elevating your social presence, contact us about setting up a consultation.

13 Mar

Facebook Stories : Snapchat’s Evil Twin

Lauren Ashpole digital advertising, Facebook, Instagram, Marketing, Social, social media 0 Comments

They’ve done it again.

After numerous attempts, Facebook has created something to try and outrun Snapchat for good: Facebook Stories. The feature is being tested in Ireland right now with plans to launch in other countries soon.

Facebook Stories are based on Snapchat’s original format. Users can take photos, film videos, and add geofilters. Your friends can tap through your story and posts will disappear after 24 hours. Stories will appear at the top of the app right below the search tool and above the status update box. You may also respond to a story with a private message.

Facebook has two advantages over Snapchat that could help Stories have a successful launch: significantly more daily users and the fact that it’s an older, well-established platform that appeals to a much wider audience. Facebook has 1.5 billion daily active users while Snapchat only has 150 million. For comparison, Instagram Stories – launched in August 2016 – has 150 million daily users.

For most brands, Facebook is a necessity, as it’s where the majority of their audience lives online. With this feature, brands could give established audiences a look behind the scenes into the culture of their company. Facebook Stories could allow brands to be more clear and transparent than ever before: “Customers connect with emotion, originality and sensory details — all elements of a compelling story on any platform,” said Smirk’s Managing Director Allie Carrick. “Facebook Stories is a step in the right direction for brands to give users the cohesive, behind-the-scenes stories they want to see.”

How could ads play into Facebook Stories? Less people are wanting to see fewer advertisements their News Feed and because of this Stories could be a new place for sponsored content. Instagram has taken advantage of their Stories feature by recently introducing video advertisements that appear when you move between users’ stories. Facebook already has short advertisements playing before and during videos on the platform. Additionally, they are testing ads in the Messenger app.

10 Feb

The 5 social media mistakes most likely to cost you your job

Lauren Ashpole Facebook, social media 0 Comments

Over the years, social media has gone from a niche communications tool to a large part of many people’s, and businesses, daily routines. Even though Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc., are accessible to anyone who knows how to set up an account and use a smartphone, no professional should dive into the at times treacherous world social media without knowing basic survival skills. Here are a five social media tips (and cautionary tales)  from Smirk that can help you keep your job in the highly visible world of new media.

1. Don’t trash someone else on Twitter, especially the president’s son.

katie-rich-tw

Smirk Tip* Don’t post anything about current social issues without thinking carefully and if you do make this mistake be prepared to do more than just delete your tweet.  

2. Don’t let out company (or jury) secrets.

Live tweeting can be a great way to share a conference or event with your network. What’s not so good? Posting about your company’s proprietary information or jury duty. Recently, A juror who was sitting on rape and sexual assault court case learned this the hard way. According to her Facebook post, she was having a hard time deciding whether to rule guilty or not guilty, so she made a Facebook poll asking her followers for help. When word got out about her post, she was dismissed from the jury and potentially ruined the entire case.

Live tweeting can be a great way to share a conference or event with your network. What’s not so good? Posting about your company’s proprietary information or jury duty. Recently, A juror who was sitting on rape and sexual assault court case learned this the hard way. According to her Facebook post, she was having a hard time deciding whether to rule guilty or not guilty, so she made a Facebook poll asking her followers for help. When word got out about her post, she was dismissed from the jury and potentially ruined the entire case.

Smirk Tip* Don’t share private information online. Even if your boss doesn’t follow you, one of your friends could share the post to your boss. Remember, social media post are never secret, even if you have a private account. Everything is accessible at the touch of a button or a share from a “friend.”

3. Don’t ask for drugs at work (or anywhere else) by posting it on Twitter.

screen-shot-2017-02-09-at-2-28-34-pm

Smirk Tip * Don’t think we need to explain this one. But kudos to the local police department for their great response.

4. Don’t post racial slurs. They’re not funny. Ever.

o-paula-deen-twitter-570-1

Once America’s kitchen sweetheart, Paula Deen’s career has gone down the garbage disposal due to racism. Shortly after her frequent racial slurs were made public, Deen paid a heavy price, losing deals and contracts with the Food Network, Smithfield Foods, Walmart, Target, QVC, Caesars Entertainment, J.C. Penney, Sears, Kmart and her then-publisher Ballantine Books.

In an attempt to be funny, Paula Deen’s social media manager posted the above photo to her social media followers, but no one really got the joke. Needless to say, her social media manager was fired.

Smirk Tip* Racism, sexism (or any ism) don’t play well on social media. Just don’t.

 5. Don’t be stupid.

Always, think before posting. If you wouldn’t want your boss to see it, don’t post it. The same applies to co-workers, clients, colleagues or your grandmother.

For example, PR professional Justine Sacco posted the tweet below before flying to South Africa. Due to her large amount of followers (many of whom were journalists) the tweet quickly spread across the internet finally reaching her boss. By the time she landed, Sacco had been fired and had become an international example of what not to do online.

Smirk Tip* Always, always consider your words carefully before posting, as you never know how your audience will react. Unless you want to get fired, then feel free to tweet away.

screen-shot-2017-02-10-at-1-40-07-pm

31 Jan

Update: Snapchat users aren’t loving the new update.

Lauren Ashpole Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Social, social media Tags: , 0 Comments

Snapchat is one of the most popular apps among teens and young adults. Their most recent update, with the addition of a new search bar, aims to help Snapchat be more accessible to all.

Katie Marshall, a Smirk strategist, has her own opinions about the Snapchat update.

“With Facebook testing stories, in addition to Instagram Stories, Snapchat is struggling to hang on to its users. Recent studies show Instagram Stories have as many viewers as Snapchat. I expect for Instagram and Facebook numbers to rise while Snapchat’s start to fall.”

The search bar gives users the accessibility to search any of their followers’ stories, any of Snapchat’s stories or to quickly send a private message to a friend.

“The new features, like the search bar, were introduced as an effort to make Snapchat more accessible to a wider range of users, but I think there is still confusion on what certain features, like Quick Chat, mean and how to use them,” said Marshall. “I do think the new update is more visually appealing, which is a bonus.”

Avid Snapchat users seem to love the new Bitmoji editing capability within the app. Some edits might include facial features and outfits.

A Bitmoji is a cartoon you can design to look, dress and talk like you. Bitmojis can say anything from ‘hello’ to ‘nope’ to ‘are you there?’

Below is an example of a Bitmoji. They are supposed to look similar to the person they emulate, but you can be the judge of that.

   

screen-shot-2017-01-31-at-2-54-22-pm    screen-shot-2017-01-31-at-2-54-29-pm

These new features come at a time when Instagram Stories, the mirror image of Snapchat Stories, are now reaching 150 million views. Snapchat has been the social leader for story type video — until now. Snapchat has yet to introduce live video streaming to the app, while Instagram already has live video and Facebook is testing out live video right now.

What does this update mean for Smirk?

“For businesses and brands, Snapchat still doesn’t make much sense because there is no analytics to ensure you’re actually reaching potential customers,” said Marshall. “For many, it’s still seen as a waste of time.”

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