03 Nov

To OKC, from Burma: A Professional Fellow’s View

Mike Koehler social media 0 Comments

Editor’s note: Smirk New Media has had the privilege of hosting Aung Soe Win the past few week at our offices downtown. Aung Soe Win is a journalist from Burma, who is here in the USA as part of the Professional Fellows Program. We asked him to write up a blog post talking about his background, what it’s like to be in a country which just recently got press and social media freedom, as well as his thoughts on the Sooner State. Enjoy!

By Aung Soe Win

I was born in Lamaing, a small town in southern Mon State, and left my hometown to Thai-Burma Border in late 2006, and spent about 8 years for the searches of further education and job opportunity on the border and in Thailand.

In 2010, I worked at Human Rights Foundation of Mon-land (HUFROM) gathering data of human rights abuses and writing reports. In 2012, with a scholarship from Child’s Dream Association, I started my college at the Ramkhamhaeng University, studying for multimedia journalism and marketing. After finishing my study, I returned to Mon News Agency (MNA), which is under umbrella of HURFOM, working as marketing manager and news editor.

Apart from working for MNA, I recently started a new venture, which is running a restaurant, called Rasar Non, or the Royal Taste; the menu includes Thai and local Mon foods.

And, now, I am in Oklahoma and my placement is at Smirk New Media (http://smirknewmedia.com/ ) in the Oklahoma City. With the help from my placement, I have met several different people with different backgrounds, including web developers, journalists, NGO workers, and entrepreneurs. And, my colleague Lennon Patton from the Smirk New Media, who is taking me around the city and introducing me with different people, also has marketing and sale experiences and shared with me his experiences every day.

The Sooner State and its people

It is my first time in Oklahoma and the first time in the United States. What reminded me most on my first day in the state is about the article that talks about the tribe of people called “Asu” use an animal “rac” for their needs. Yes, cars are everywhere! And, people here do not seem to have or use public transportation. But, recently I learnt that the land is so massive in the state that it makes more convenient for the locals to travel with their own cars.

It has been two weeks already in the States, and so far, I love it! The people here are generous, friendly and helpful. They like to share about their work and ideas, invite you over dinners.

Although I did not really like “American Football”, now I start liking it. And, oh, keep in mind that people here do not like to see you being late.

What is Professional Fellows Program?

It is a five-week program and hosted by the University of Oklahoma’s Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication, partnered with the U.S. Department of State, the Center for Entrepreneurship Development at BRAC University in Bangladesh, BRAC Myanmar in Burma and Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India.

The objective of the program is to inject the Bangladeshi, Burmese and Indian participants, who are mid-level emerging leaders in different working fields, including small business ventures, government, NGOs and social entrepreneurship, into working small businesses in Oklahoma and associate them with one of the America’s leading universities. It also aims to provide the participants with professional experience and training that will foster their talents and prepare them for more responsible leadership positions in their businesses, communities and society, enabling them to apply back in their countries.

What do I want to get?

During my Professional Fellows Program, my first priority is to acquire the skills and knowledge of writing a business plan, along with marketing and sale strategies. Second priority is to meet different people with different backgrounds but mainly in media sector, startups and social entrepreneurship.

Independent Mon News Agency or Mon News Agency

The company I work for, the Mon News Agency (MNA) (www.monnews.org) , founded as Independent Mon News Agency (IMNA) in 2000, is a multimedia agency. With its coverage on largely southern Burma, its media products include online news, weekly newspaper, radio [broadcasting] and video clips for TV news.

Since its inception, I had operated on Thai-Burma Border, but after the country has been reformed, the agency decided to move in the country in 2015. And, now registered as Mon News Agency, it is based in Mon State’s Capital Mawlamyine.

MNA, which has been running over the past 15 years as a non-profit, is now in transition to full profit agency. To be able to stand on its own feet and to generate regular revenues for the long term sustainability, it is now working hard and hopes for the best for this new adventure.

Media reforms and social media spotlights

Following a new government in 2010, the country unblocked international news websites, exiled news websites and YouTube.

In 2012, it lifted pre-publication censorship for the press and gave green lights to privately-owned daily newspapers and ethnic group-run newspapers to publish.

According to Reporters Without Borders, Burma was ranked at 174 out of 178 for press freedom in 2010. But, the results of political change have moved the country up to 144th place.

The number of internet users grew to 625,000 in 2014 but reached up to 11,000,000 in 2016 (according to InternetLiveStats.com and internetworldstats). At first there was only a state-run telecom, the Myanmar Post and Telecommunications (MPT), but two additional telecom companies, Telenor and Ooredoo, started in 2013, have been around the country ever since.

3G networks arrived in the country as early as 2008, under MPT operation, and there came 4G networks first by Ooredoo in May, 2016, followed by Telenor in July.

When it comes to social media platforms, Facebook reigns. In 2015, the Facebook had 4 million users in the country. But, mid-May 2016, Facebook had 9.7 million monthly active users (Amara Digital Marketing Agency), while the number of Facebook subscribers hit 11,000,000 in June 2016.

The number of mobile penetration and internet users is on the rise and in fact, the mobile penetration is expected to hit 100 percent within the next five years (according to lamplight.me).

About the Mon people and Mon State

One of the earliest peoples to reside in Southeast Asia, responsible for the spread of Theravada Buddhism in Indochina, and a major source of influence on the culture of Burma, the Mon people now mostly live in Mon State, Bago Region, Irrawaddy Delta, and along the southern border of Thailand and Burma.

The Mon language is part of the Monic group of the Mon-Khmer family, and believed to be source script of writing systems of Burmese. The national symbol is the Hongsa, Sheldrake or mythological water bird or Swan and known as Hintha in Burmese.

The culture and traditional heritages includes spiritual dances and Hongsa dance, and the musical instruments include crocodile xylophone, flute, harp, drums and gongs.

Mon State is located in southern Burma and is one of the seven states, along with the seven regions across the country. The state lies between Andaman Sea to west and Karen State to east, having a short border with Thailand to southeast.

The capital of the state is Mawlamyine, formerly known as Moulmein, and it is the sister city of Fort Wayne, Indiana, in the United States.

The State’s major products include rice, rubbers, betel nuts, and fishes, while there are also industries of paper, sugar and mining.

There are several tourist spots, while the beaches are yet exploited. Kyaiktiyo Pagoda, better known as the Golden Rock, is one of the most attractions in the state, and the visitors will be soon able to use cable cars going up to the pagoda’s compound from the bottom of the Kyaiktiyo Mount. Another popular destination is the Win Sein Tawya, which has the world’s largest reclining Buddha.  

Since Mon State lies on the coast of Andaman Sea, there are beaches – yet to be exploited. One of the “fresh beaches” in the state is Kabyar Wa Beach, and located in Ye Township, in the south.

After decades of isolation, Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, has now introduced significant political and economic reforms since the quasi-civilian government took the office in 2010.

Many foreign investments projects are flowing into my country, with over 50 million people and located in Southeast Asia, while construction can be seen at every corner in major cities, especially the country’s former capital Yangon, or Rangoon.

30 Sep

Take a Minute for Twitter Moments

Harrison Maud social media, Twitter 0 Comments

There are hundreds of millions of tweets that happen every day.  Twitter wants you to be able to find the best ones with Moments.

Twitter announced that Moments is now available to users. The company tweeted, “Creators everywhere can now tell stories with tweets.”

Users can view organized, compelling tweets that have been grouped together based on where they are have been sent from or what they are about. Whether it is “sitting” on the front row of the Grammy’s, being up close at your favorite sporting event, to political rallies or debates, Moments can bring the action to your hand.

From yesterday’s funniest viral story to tomorrow’s big game, keep up in the social world with Moments. Get the whole picture of a trending topic through highlights, pictures and headlines that come directly from the event you are interested in.

Engaging with a Moment:

  • • When you click into a Moment, you’re taken to an introduction with a title and description.
  • •Start swiping to dive right into the story, with immersive full-bleed images and auto-playing videos, Vines, and GIFs.
  • •A single tap gives you a fuller view of the Tweet, which you can favorite, Retweet, and more. A double tap lets you instantly favorite the Tweet.
  • •The progress bar at the bottom indicates how much more each Moment has to offer.
  • •Swiping up or down dismisses the Moment and takes you back to the guide.
  • •At the end of a Moment, click the share button to Tweet your thoughts, and send it out to your followers.

Don’t know who to follow during these events? Follow the actual event. The best tweets from that event will be delivered to your timeline. This will eliminate any garbage and let you focus on the good stuff.

What if you don’t want to keep following an account after the event? When the event is done, you will automatically unfollow them. If users don’t care to follow an organization forever, but can stay in the loop during a special event.

Twitter users who aren’t huge sports fans can still keep up with the playoffs, big games, or just want to keep track of a certain game. Political debates are a great example as well. During debates, you can follow the event and after it has concluded, you will not have to deal with the aftermath.

Moments offers the ability to see things quicker, more efficiently. From personal use to big organizations, utilizing Moments can help in more ways than one.

“Many people turn to social media for their news — whether that be local, national or international. Twitter Moments fulfills that need for immediate news,” said Smirk Strategist Liz Ramirez. “If something happens in another state or around the world, we turn to the digital world to give us more info about whatever is happening.”

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.

06 Sep

Promoted Pins prove powerful

Harrison Maud Pinterest, Small Business, social media, social media strategy Tags: , 0 Comments

Pinterest reached an incredible milestone this year — 150 million monthly active users, up 50% year-on-year. Also, they reported they’re serving 10 billion recommendations a day, 150 million visual searches monthly and more than 2 billion text-based searches.

For product-oriented brands, Pinterest’s Promoted Pins are an unbeatable opportunity to broaden your audience and expand engagement of organic Pins or videos that translate to impactful sales results.

Similar to Facebook’s Boosted Posts, Promoted Pins are blasted through Pinterest and exposed to more targeted viewers. This helps Pinners discover new things and ideas quicker. They stand out to users, regularly receiving more engagement and superior user ratings over organic Pins appearing in their feed.

Brands can purchase Promoted Pins for any type of marketing goals, such as raising awareness, creating engagement, or improving viewer traffic. You can designate how-tos, demos, sneak peeks, or ideas as a Promoted Pin on your board.

Promoted Pins raise awareness to a targeted audience that is already using the platform to search for ideas and products. As Pinners gain interest, your brand could gain a Pinterest following with the ability to grow exponentially

With Promoted Video, a new feature that allows brands to broadcast videos to a broader audience, you can provide a more direct call-to-action for Pinners to click under the video for more on the products or services featured.

Pinterest is not important for every brand, but it is an effective platform to connect customers with products and lifestyle brands. With the right strategy, target audience, content and budget — Promoted Pins can drive profit.

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.

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