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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

   

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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.”

24 Jan

Who should Market to Millennials?

Lauren Ashpole Business, digital advertising, Facebook, Instagram, Our Clients, Social, social media, social media strategy 0 Comments

The millennial generation is the largest in U.S. history, even bigger than baby boomers. For that reason, many of our new clients believe their brand should market to millennials.

Every client’s social media presence should be as unique as the products or services they provide. The answer to solving the millennial debate is knowing who you should reach.

“Some clients come to us wanting to appeal everyone, but I advise that their target audience should be much narrower,” said Allie Carrick, Smirk’s Managing Director. “Targeting the decision makers for your products or services impacts the bottom line.”

Your decision maker shouldn’t completely define your digital presence, but speaking their language will help you resonate. When speaking to older generations, avoid slang phrases (ex: FB/LB, respek, TD) and other passing trends (Pokémon GO, anyone?). Reduce your target audience down from generalizations to who they are, their decision-making process and what information is valuable to them.

If millennials are your decision makers, the perfect way to reach them — right from the source — is authenticity.

According to Forbes.com, millennials: value authenticity more than content, would rather buy a car and lease a house and read blogs before making purchases. This generation turns to their handheld devices to meet their needs. They value the convenience of asking a question via Facebook message to a brand’s page rather than making a call.

Millennials expect flexible technology and an easy customer experience as the norm. Brands must be able to maintain an active and authentic presence online to retain the millennial.

As a business owner, you may want more millennials to shop at your personalized paper store, but does this generation of shoppers see the value in your paper? Smirk has helped so many brands answer this fundamental question and many more like it. Starting the conversation is the first step to building an effective social media presence for your brand.

19 Jan

New updates to keep you LinkedIn

Lauren Ashpole Business, digital advertising, LinkedIn, Marketing, social media 0 Comments

470 million people have profiles on LinkedIn. LinkedIn was founded 15 years ago and has transformed as a company and platform through updates, CEO changes, Microsoft’s acquisition and transitioning from an all online website to an application.

Lennon Patton, Smirk’s director of sales, is an active LinkedIn user.

“As a digital marketer, I am excited about having a platform with a business focus that will be able to deliver better metrics. Some of the industries that Smirk creates strategies for are better served by the business focus that LinkedIn brings to the social media world,” said Patton. “Creating a better user experience should result in much better and more sophisticated ad delivery. This is a smart move by LinkedIn.”

LinkedIn introduced a new update for the desktop version of their site today. It will be more accessible with a straightforward layout. The features you know and love won’t change, but LinkedIn is adding some new user-friendly components to simplify their experience.

One of the more exciting new features is pop-up messaging boxes. Chatbots have been introduced, almost like a wingman, they will help you break the ice with whomever you are private messaging.  When you receive a message, on Facebook for example, the message sender and the message will show at the bottom of your screen and you can respond straight from the messaging box.

In addition to the new private messaging and design layout, LinkedIn updated their search bar and navigation. You’re now able to search by people, jobs, companies, groups and schools. Also, the platform’s navigation was reduced to seven areas: Home (Your Feed), Messaging, Jobs, Notifications, Me (your old profile page), My Network, and Search.

Smirk had early access to the redesigned company page and we’re excited for the new, more accessible LinkedIn. The first image below is a preview of the updated LinkedIn company page, and the second image is the old company pages.

 

16 Jan

Communications Lessons from Martin Luther King, Jr.

Lauren Ashpole OKC, Smirk culture Tags: , , , , , 0 Comments

“I have a dream…”

Delivered by one of the greatest orators ever, Martin Luther King, Jr., this speech still echoes the fundamental beliefs of the civil rights movement decades after it was spoken. The March on Washington, where this famous moment occurred, was one of the largest public relations events of the 20th Century. 250,000 civil rights supporters attended and the speech was live on TV and radio.

There are many valuable lessons to draw from Dr. King’s work as a human rights activist, organizer and preacher. As communicators, here is some of the wisdom we found in his work.

Be Consistent

The most effective messages are easily remembered and repeatable. Martin Luther King spoke about dreams for years, crafting his message with similar language. For example, he spoke about his dreams in Detroit in June 1963, hitting a lot of the same talking points as the famous “I Have a Dream” speech in DC. Communicators are most effective when they identify their main points, supporting facts and emphasize them consistently across platforms.

Speak To Your Audience

Dr. King, who earned his Ph.D. from Boston University, had the “ability” to speak academically about the plight of the African-American person in a segregated America. Instead, he referenced examples that his audiences could understand. For example, he said he dreamed of the day “little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.” Dr. King spoke to people on all sides of civil rights: for, against and neutral. As his audience changed, so did his messaging and references for clearer resonance. The objective doesn’t define your message — the audience does. 

Make It Personal

Dr. King often spoke about his children and his vision for their future. Most parents, no matter their race or creed, can relate to the hopes a father has for his young children. Making your message relatable can transform your audience’s viewpoint, helping them see your message through a personal lens.

Be a Connector

Effective communication is generally a two-way street. Dr. King never appeared rattled by all the external forces working against the cause — even those threatening his life. While many of us don’t face the dangers Dr. King did — when things feel out of control — communicators need to take a deep breath, be steady and provide the voice of reason. We love social media because it’s accessible, but this accessibility can create difficult situations for brands. Everyone has an opportunity to be heard. Free and open digital platforms are equalizers. Good communicators are open and responsive to both positive or negative discourse.

Oklahoma City is host to the third largest MLK Day parade in the country. The parade ran through Automobile Alley today and our team attended to celebrate with hundreds of others honoring his legacy and impact.

13 Jan

The Boomerang Theory

Lauren Ashpole digital advertising, Facebook, Instagram, Social, social media, social media strategy Tags: , , 0 Comments

A Boomerang. A toy we all wanted until we had it, sometimes it came back to us, but most of the time it didn’t.

The Boomerang of the digital age is an app accessible through Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook. It is a one-second video clip that loops back to the beginning after it reaches the end.

Here’s an example of how we’ve utilized Boomerang for one of our clients, Automobile Alley.

The graphic below, from Social Media Today, demonstrates most consumed type of content on Facebook in 2016. Boomerang could be a very useful visual tool to get your audience’s attention.

Video is just one of the latest trends fundamental to digital marketing success that Smirk’s founder and president, Mike Koehler, is currently traveling and speaking to companies about.

“Any brand interested in making a connection with its audience in 2017 needs to make video content a priority because it takes the transparency that people love to the next level,” said Koehler. “You can show the process of what makes your business great – your expertise and your behind-the-scenes.”

Smirk published our first Boomerang on our Instagram account this morning. Follow along as we share more insight into our content strategies.

On Friday we don't count calories.

A post shared by Smirk New Media (@smirknewmedia) on

10 Jan

Twitter to let users edit tweets, maybe. Finally.

Lauren Ashpole social media, Twitter Tags: ,

“You can only edit a tweet if you are a verified user, meaning you have a blue check mark next to your twitter handle,” said Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, in response to another Twitter user.

For avid tweeters, tweet editing capabilities could be a game changer. On other major platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, users are already able to edit a post after it goes live. Twitter hasn’t rolled out this feature for users yet.

Allowing original tweets to be altered would require a change log, so people can see all previous edits, as Dorsey would like to keep Twitter “a public record.”

“The change log is very necessary,” said Allie Carrick, Smirk’s Managing Director. “Editing would be beneficial for fixing small errors in your text, but not the entire tweet. Don’t rewrite history.”

Below are some examples why we believe tweets deserve to be edited. Enjoy.

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13 Dec

Smirk searching for digital advertising specialist

Mike Koehler Business, digital advertising, Smirk culture 1 Comment

Hey friends, Smirk New Media is hunting for another person on our team. This time, we’d like to find a specialist in digital and social media ads – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.

Below is a job description. Hit us up if you can do it:

Digital Advertising Strategist
LOCATION: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
TIME REQUIREMENT: PT 20 Hours/Week or FT 40 Hours / Week

Position Description
Smirk New Media is in search of someone with a particular set of skills.

Based on a swelling demand for digital advertising services, Smirk New Media is looking to add a campaign-running, audience-targeting, innovative ninja* to join our team in Oklahoma City. (*-You don’t have to be an actual ninja)

Our digital ad strategist is a problem-solver for our clients in the complex area of digital advertising on all social media platforms. They work on a range of projects, promoting and protecting our client’s online success with informed strategy.

Working with our senior staff, a digital ad strategist will collaborate on ad campaign strategies and will be responsible for day-to-day execution of those campaigns, focusing on how best to use client ad dollars, how to A/B test social media ads, deliver measurable results to clients and how to find the right target audiences for their messages. Bottom line: You need to know how to target a 63-year-old grandmas in Western Oklahoma who loves country music and Mountain Dew and get them to answer a call to action.

This is not a job for someone who wants us to teach them how to do this, we need people who have run campaigns and can show results.

We need a team player who can wear a wide range of hats, will take ownership of his or her projects, and can move seamlessly between the strategic and the tactical.

Smirk New Media’s team is a diverse powerhouse of web content, marketing, public relations, media and writing experience. We are one of the fastest growing digital agencies in the region, working with brands of all sizes from local businesses to Fortune 500 companies. We love what we do, who we do it with and we’re passionate about going above and beyond for our clients. We continuously 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
  • Experience advocating for social media marketing best practices and an awareness of emerging ad strategy trends, tools and technology
  • Active accounts across key social media platforms including, but not limited to, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc
  • Strong verbal and writing skills as well as a keen eye for detail
  • Team player able to integrate with a diverse team full of opinions and ideas
  • Ability to meet deadlines and manage the many details that need to come together to create big impact for our clients

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Develop digital advertising strategies that meet client objectives
  • Create engaging ad content specific to each social media platform
  • Craft ad copy using effective practices for clients
  • Stay current on the latest digital trends
  • Consistently analyze account metrics on engagement and follower growth and adapt ad strategies accordingly
  • Collaborate closely with our group of strategists in design, strategy, and production of social media channels
  • Prepare monthly reports to update staff/clients on predetermined metrics

“What’s in it for me?”

  • Work in a laid back, yet ambitious team culture with a flexible schedule
  • The opportunity to work with a diverse group of clients
  • Unlimited access to the Ms. Pac Man machine in our office
  • Occasional donuts
  • Money

To apply, please send your resume and cover letter to info@smirknewmedia.com.