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is a big deal and should only happen if it’s necessary to revitalize your brand, increase recognition or eliminate an outdated look that isn’t resonating anymore.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.

 

08 Mar

Smirk reacts to Facebook Reactions

Business, Content, Facebook, Mike Koehler, OKC, Oklahoma, Services, Small Business, Social, social media, social media strategy, strategy

facebook-reactions

Facebook’s Reactions feature rolled out globally in February and was met with excitement and criticism – as most things are – by people everywhere. After the initial dissatisfaction of Facebook still not having a “dislike” button, the Reactions available to users were embraced with excitement… and some confusion. Like all new things, it will take a little while to fully utilize the new feature. Ultimately, however, Facebook Reactions allow for more authentic engagement with posts.

The Smirk team sat down to discuss their favorite reaction, least favorite reaction and the advantages of reactions for brands and marketers.

What’s your favorite new reaction?

“I love the idea of the multiple reactions because as a user, it gives me more appropriate responses. I think people have already gravitated to that idea.

So far, I like “wow” and “haha” the best, because I think that is going to give us the most insight on how we make content better for these audiences. You want to elicit emotions in order to get engagement and, for lack of a better word, stickiness in the relationship between the brand and the audience.” – Mike Koehler, CEO and Chief Strategist

“Since the smirk isn’t an option yet, my favorite new reaction is the “love” sign because it’s a much more powerful sentiment than the original “like” and can help us gauge what content is resonating with the audience.” – Allie Carrick, Managing Director

“I honestly like all of them, but I think the “wow” and the heart are a tie for me. As marketers, you want to create content that moves people. It’s easy to get a “like,” but to create something that someone loves or takes them by surprise is a powerful thing. And now we can more accurately measure that.” – Kevin DeShazo, Senior Strategist

“I think my favorite reaction so far is the sad face. Not the most positive reaction, I know, but I’ve seen too many statuses and news articles over the years that has a certain mood that doesn’t quite fit the “like” reaction.” – Samaiyah Islam, Strategist

“My favorite Facebook reaction is “love”. The shape and color are the most distinct and it appears to make a wholly positive impression wherever it is left. I have seen it used primarily in three ways so far: people posting life events (such as engagements), people posting that they’re feeling sad (the “love” then being used as an “I love you”/”I am here for you”) and people posting screenshots of conversations in which they are being funny/arguing with someone and the “love” being used as a reward (“love the way you shut them down”, “love your sassy response”). The uses are so varied! Side note: I love that all of the reactions are animated on mobile.” – Kailey Emerson, Sales Strategist

“My favorite is the “love” reaction because it shows so much more emotion than just a simple “like”. As a user of Facebook, I appreciate the ability to show a wider range of response to a post beyond just a like. It’s nice that I can show that I saw the post without saying I “like” something sad or serious that may have happened in a friend/family member’s life.” – Lennon Patton, Sales Strategist

What’s your least favorite reaction?

“I guess I like the “like” reaction the least then, because that isn’t giving us as much information to drill down with.” – Mike

“I don’t think I have a least favorite, as all have a place. There are times when a post will make you sad or angry, and it should, so while some may see those as fueling negativity, I see them as a way to respond to posts that, for good reason, make us sad or angry.” – Kevin

“Because I am already used to seeing the “love” reaction used in a comforting way, I just can’t get behind the “sad” reaction. It’s too simple. I almost think the appeal of the other reactions is that they can be used in a wider variety of contexts. Maybe I just haven’t seen “sad” shine yet.” – Kailey

What can Facebook Reactions add to brands and managers?

“If we have a brand that can be a little cheekier with, these nuanced responses will help us do more of one kind of content and less of another. More real-time insights on Facebook are always great, because they allow us to pivot faster on the content creativity.” – Mike
“We’re always looking for new and improved ways to measure brand sentiment for our clients and the prospect of going beyond the “like” in a quick, easy format is exciting. For years, users have expressed that “like” just didn’t go far enough when they feel passionate about a piece of content.

I’m hoping the new reactions are just the tip of the iceberg in Facebook’s efforts to help users and brands connect and understand each other better. When brand managers have a deeper understanding of a Page’s digital audience, we can elevate our content — resulting in a better overall user experience. Plus, the easier it is for users to engage with our content, the more valuable this platform is for advertisers.” – Allie

“I like the 6 they have now, but one option would be too add a “confused/confusing” emoji reaction, for those posts that just make us scratch our heads and wonder what in the world we just read/saw.” – Kevin

“The new reactions feature will be great for managers because it gives them an idea of how their content is performing. Rather than just relieving a “lazy like” from your audience, you can see if people thought your content was funny or offensive. If you are getting a ton of “wow” or “angry” reactions on content that you didn’t mean to be controversial, you can get in front of the crisis and handle it accordingly.” – Samaiyah

“I think it will be another interesting aspect of engagement to measure. Right now, people are using the reactions in such varied ways, but I think over time there may be a more standardized usage and from there we can figure out how best to measure them. I am excited to see what it will reflect.” – Kailey

01 Mar

Diversify and Diversity: Doble R Media brand launches

Business, Content, Entreprenuer, Featured

doble-logo-cropped

Smirk New Media is changing today.

That sentence has been many months in the making.

When I launched “a company” in 2010, it couldn’t even really be called that. It was just me, a used laptop and a bag full of hope and gumption.

Fast forward to today: We have a great team. We are trying new things while working on audacious goals. But Smirk New Media isn’t big enough to do all that we want to do.

Today we are launching two new companies. The first is pretty exciting. Doble R Media is a new brand which will take all of the best practices we’ve learned about marketing and deliver them to clients who are part of (or who are trying to reach) the Spanish-speaking market in Oklahoma City. This idea grew out of needs our clients had in 2015 and blossomed when we brought Liz Ramirez on board. Response has already been great to this brand, even before its official launch today. Liz will serve as Doble’s managing director. Please check out the new Doble R website at www.DobleR.Media

In conjunction with the Doble rollout is the creation of another new company – Smirk Solutions.

Smirk Solutions is my attempt to be Warren Buffett. 🙂 Smirk Solutions will serve the umbrella over all of our brands – Smirk New Media, Doble R Media, ‘Merica Media (which serves political campaigns and clients) and Social Network Staffing. This will allow me to work on an overall vision for all that we do, while empowering our team to execute and work closer with clients.

Allie Carrick will now serve as managing director of Smirk New Media. Penny Seale is my partner with ‘Merica Media.

This is a great day. I couldn’t be happier with the work everyone has put into the success we have had in 2016. If you have any questions about working with us, for us or beside us, please feel free to reach out.

Onward and upward,

Mike Koehler

12 Feb

Instagram now (finally!) allows multiple account management

Instagram, social media, social media strategy, strategy

 

giphy

By Michaela Lawson

The moment all social media managers have been waiting for is finally here: Instagram supports account switching. The headache of logging out and in on various accounts is now a headache of the past.

With the rise of profiles dedicated to businesses, pets, professional accounts and any number of other things, the ease of navigating between profiles was an inevitable step for Instagram to make.

But wait, there’s more: you can add up to five accounts with one login. This is an obvious advantage whether you’re a small business managing your personal and business account, a brand manager managing multiple brand accounts or an agency partner managing multiple client accounts.

For marketers, this feature could not have come at a more perfect time (well, except for the fact that we’ve all been waiting for it). Last September, Instagram announced that its self-serve ad offering would be made available to all business, everywhere. And given the platform’s growth – which has doubled from 200 million users in 2014 to 400 million this year so far – advertisers have used the platform to reach its growing, visually-focused user base.

The ability to quickly and easily switch between accounts will also enable social media managers to avoid other problems they faced with the old approach to Instagram account management.

The new functionality allows for the increase in content posted. The easy navigation between profiles will allow individuals to update business profiles without having to logout and log back in. Being able to switch and post could make business owners more active on the platform, and the amount of time saved will be significant for those with active brand profiles alongside their own, personal accounts.

Being actively switching between multiple accounts also allows for more immediate customer service. The app now notifies based on profile what activity is being made on respective accounts. This capability allows for individuals to know who, when and where others are interacting with their content. For brand managers, this ability allows for better responsiveness to their audiences when comments or questions are made on brand posts.

* Note: The update is also important for those who currently use third-party tools to perform similar account switching as Instagram announced recently that they’ll be restricting access to their API (Application Program Interface) as of June 1, 2016.

08 Feb

It’s true: Twitter is going algorithmic

Social, social media, social media strategy, the internet is great, Twitter

d6970620e44b66deef927514920a2524

By Michaela Lawson

BuzzFeed News has blown the whistle on Twitter’s optional timeline algorithm, which will push popular tweets – out of chronological order – to the top of timelines. Hang on, though… I think you missed an important word in that first sentence: optional. That’s right, the feature is completely optional.

The feature has been likened to an extended “While You Were Away” feature by The Verge, saying that the “disorienting” arrangement of tweets is not much different from the pop-up section that shows you the popular things you missed when your Twitter app was closed.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey responded the the backlash of the weekend saying that Twitter is not dying and moving away from their roots, they’re simply adding new features for users to enjoy.

So, if everyone is so upset with the disruption of their timeline with the new algorithm feature and opt out, what was the point in the time spent in developing the change at all?

In another effort to compete with social media giant, Facebook, the Twitter has rolled out various features within the past year – with more down the pipeline for the future – that steer away from its original appeal. With favorites becoming likes, prioritizing algorithms and a move away from limited characters, Twitter progresses toward a bite-sized version of Facebook.

For new users, the prioritizing feature may be able to get them accustomed to the reverse-timeline aspect of Twitter until they get proper footing. Once comfortable, users can opt out and enjoy the stream of live tweets without any disruption.
Bottom-line: Twitter is not changing, they’re just diversifying users’ ability to prioritize or filter through their timelines.

And now a word from Smirk New Media president Mike Koehler: “Has there been a worse possible idea in the history of social media? Yes, I’m sure there has been, but none spring to mind. Twitter is made to be not-Facebook and adding a timeline which abandons the streaminess of Twitter betrays what we use the platform for – discovering what our community is talking about in real-time. You might be able to opt-out of this disaster of an idea, but what it’s going to do is deteriorate the idea that I can share moments with the people in our digital neighborhood and that’s going to be a loss not just for Twitter but for everyone accustomed to using it that way.”

20 Jan

#TwitterFlightSchool: Twitter 101

Business, Content, social media, social media strategy, Twitter

By Michaela Lawson

https://twitterflightschool.com

Twitter Flight School? What is it? Twitter launched Twitter Flight School, a free online education program, in 2014 “to help agencies learn how to build buzz, launch products, drive sales, and instantly connect with a highly engaged audience on Twitter.” In 2016, Flight School is now available to advertisers around the world in 16 languages despite their affiliation with an agency.

Eager to see what it was all about, I decided to enroll in classes. The first step was to choose a flight path: Buying & Execution, Account Leadership, Executive Leadership or Planning & Strategy. For my first set of lessons, I chose the “Planning & Strategy” flight path.

flight school

Lesson 1: Twitter 101

Twitter Connects You to the World: The motivationally moving look into what can be achieved through using Twitter is set up in a continuous scrolling lesson format. The “lesson” depicts a community of people tweeting about like interests and includes a high-energy video compilation of tweets during the World Cup. Finally, Twitter 101 explains what Twitter is, how the timeline works and the mechanics and anatomy of a tweet. The fundamental understanding of the way Twitter works segues into how people use Twitter to connect to brands.

People Connect to Brands on Twitter: The social media platform uses tweets and videos from brands like General Electric and Paige Denim to emphasize the idea that brands can connect to their audiences through Twitter by making their messages engaging and novel. One way that this is highlighted is through the use of video, specifically native to Twitter itself. Finally, Twitter breaks down the importance of online research for marketers on twitter into a sleek and simple bar graph that indicates stronger customer intent to buy based on their emotional response to brand messaging.

Twitter Drives Business Results: Research has shown that people want to find out about new products and brands on Twitter, showing that 64 percent of people on Twitter report having purchased a product, and 57 percent of people report having used Twitter to choose what stores to visit. This section of the Twitter 101 lesson features various case study snippets in which Twitter drove higher business results for brands, including Samsung, Audi and Budweiser. These results were shown to strengthen message association, expose brand favorability and lift, produce direct action and show advocacy of followers for the brands the love.

Tweets from the Top: To wrap up the first lesson, Twitter Flight School includes a section of tweets from large brands that talk about why using Twitter for brand promotion has been key for their company’s success. (Hooray!)

Flight Check: Finally, the part of the lesson where Twitter sees just how much I was paying attention to the lesson. Three hypothetical questions are asked about how you would respond to people saying certain assumptions about a brand’s proper use of Twitter. My result: I passed, of course, by picking the most positively worded and jargon-filled options.

I passed Twitter 101 and it was a breeze, but then again I’ve been using the platform since its inception in 2006. So, perhaps this section of Flight School is better formulated for the Twitter novice. I guess we’ll see next time as I fly through the next lesson: “Ultimate Guide to Content Planning”.
Goodbye little league, here I come MLB.

RECENT TWEETS

SOCIAL PROFILES

Join our emailing list