By: Kurtis Wiles
California is now requiring social media companies to offer young users the opportunity to delete past internet postings.
This new law is the first of its kind in the country, and has been hailed by some as a good step towards extending grace to under-18 internet users. Next year, 3.5 million California teens will have the long-sought-after privilege to completely remove a regrettable post and preserve their reputation.
“This puts privacy in the hands of kids, teenagers and the parents, not under the control of an anonymous tech company,” said James Steyer, founder and chief executive of Common Sense Media, to FoxNews.com
The so-called “erase bill” was signed by Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown and takes effect January 2015.
Opponents of the new law say the burden placed on social media sites to figure out who, of their large user-base, is a California resident. Sorting through users who are legitimately Californians and others who say they’re from California could also prove a daunting and potentially controversial task.
However, there is a lot of support for this measure as it is part of a larger bill sponsored by state Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg, which aims to protect children from the direct marketing of alcohol, guns and other guns that are illegal for them to purchase.
“This is a groundbreaking protection for our kids who often act impetuously … before they think through the consequences,” said Stenberg. “They deserve the right to remove this material that could haunt them for years to come.”
Under this law, apps will also be required to inform registered minors about their right to erase posts.
Interestingly, companies will not be required to permanently remove this content from their servers, making it possible for these posts to be found potentially, just not by the public.
Some argue content shouldn’t be permanently deleted from the servers for public safety, incase the authorities need to review deleted content, but what does this law really accomplish?
On any social media platform I can think of users are able to delete past content, minors included. So, on that front is seems like this law is a preemptive strike in case platforms decide to remove the delete button down the road.
Another part of the law requires companies to inform minors that they’re able to delete content. It’s unclear how that will be implemented, but if this information isn’t more fine print during the sign up process it could educate young users in a positive way.
Minors and parents still have no control over copied content. Under the law, sites will not be required to delete re-postings by a third party of the minor’s original post. The purpose of the law, to protect a minor’s future and opportunities, is only fulfilled if the content didn’t go viral or wasn’t copied. Parents still hold no real ownership over their child’s content and can’t stop it from living forever on the Internet.
This law is a step forward on a very important issue impacting our young people, but maybe the next step is finally getting serious about social media education and focusing on prevention. Regrettable posts by minors can’t be universally prevented, but they can certainly be reduced.
Kevin DeShazo has built Fieldhouse Media from an idea to one of the top companies in the nation specializing in social media education for college athletes and athletic departments.
In this episode of Smirkcast, Allie Carrick talks to Kevin about Snapchat and dives into other issues facing the social media world.
By: Kurtis Wiles
When you scroll through your newsfeed on Facebook, what catches your eye? Naturally, the big, colorful squares that contain an image are picked up by our eyes as being important and worth looking at. Pictures are the most easily recognized and engaging type of content in a news feed.
“A picture is worth a thousand words.”
Haven’t we all heard that phrase too many times? As much as it might pain us to admit it, there is truth in the idea.
Pictures offer us a unique insight into moments that are frozen in time, different colors and shapes that we are attracted to, and an idea that must be seen to be heard. Pictures tell us stories.
Every company has a story to tell. Brand history, customer feedback and internal innovation are all a part of the ever-growing story. So the question becomes,”How do we use pictures to tell our story?”
This question burns into the minds of marketing professionals worldwide who understand the power a single image obtains in generating engagement on Facebook. The best part about “visual storytelling” is that you don’t have to be a marketing pro to learn how to do it; all you need is a story and some imagination.
Here are four ways you can master the art of visual storytelling on Facebook:
Stand-alone visual campaigns
A UK-based insurance comparison site, Compare The Market, created a campaign around the idea that market sounds a little bit like meerkat. They introduced Aleksandr Orlov, a meerkat with a Russian accent and aristocratic heritage. Though Compare The Market doesn’t have its own Facebook page, Aleksandr’s page has more than 800,000 likes.
Aleksandr’s story (and family) was created through images and clever interactions with followers on Facebook. Who would have thought a meerkat could tell the story of an insurance company?
Many businesses make a point of giving back to their community, but TOMS shoes takes it a step further. The company was founded on the principle that for every pair of shoes sold, they would donate a pair to children in poverty around the world.
TOMS shares pictures of all of the kids they have the fortune of helping. Not only are they impacting people in a positive way, but they are sharing the story of their company’s founding principles and how those principles impact their business.
A picture doesn’t always need to be created to tell your story; sometimes your story is already in a picture ready to be taken. Photos of your entire team as they work on, and eventually finish, a 3-year project can tell a complete story with short updates here and there to tie it all together.
Bringing together a group of real-life photos can tell a powerful story with little to no work on “creating” the images. The secret is to take a step back and see the story as it is happening before your eyes.
The Walt Disney Animation Studios facebook page is a great example. The picture below posted on the Disney Animation page features all their team members who attended the California Institute of the Arts in the 1970s.
Starbucks celebrates the most important people to their company through visual stories: their customers. The Starbucks Facebook page is full of fan photos that offer a customer’s-eye view of their company. In essence, Starbucks allows their customers to tell their story.
What better strategy to generate fresh, relevant stories about your company than to enlist the free advocacy of your fans?
Photo posts account for 93% of the most engaging posts on Facebook. On average, photos receive 53% more likes, 104% more comments, and 84% more link-clicks than text-based posts.
Visual stories are powerful tools in the world of social sharing and fast-moving content. How will you tell your story?
By: Kurtis Wiles
Social media is an ever-changing and ever-evolving marketing tool. The most popular platforms continuously grow and diversify to draw broader audiences for marketers. Statistical information posted about current social media practices and consumption is often outdated within three months. Staying up-to-date on the current trends and patterns is essential for true social media marketing and business success.
Here are the most recent social media statistics across some of the most popular platforms:
Thanks to Facebook, many companies are not taken seriously without a social media presence anymore. Sharing relevant and information-rich content on a consistent basis is essential to increase traffic, extend your brand and generate leads to your website.
- Over 1.15 billion people are now registered users on Facebook.
- 23% of Facebook users login at least 5 times per day.
- 47% of Americans admit to Facebook being the top influencer of their buying decisions.
- 70% of marketers acquire new customers through Facebook.
- On average, Americans spend 16% of every hour on Facebook.
- Over one million web pages can accessed with the “Login with Facebook” feature.
Twitter has become the fastest growing social network in recent years that can have a serious impact on your business. Telling short stories through video, images and the forever-classic hashtag have become a staple in any serious marketing strategy.
- There are now 550 million registered users and 215 million active monthly users.
- Twitter achieved a growth rate of 44% between 2012 and 2014.
- Over 34% of marketers use Twitter for lead generation.
The social network powered by the most influential search engine, Google+ is all the more powerful due to its increasing influence on search rankings. With only three years on the social media scene, Google+ has literally changed the nature of content marketing.
- There are now over 1 billion enabled accounts and 359 million active monthly users.
- Google+ had a 33% growth rate last year.
- People aged 45 to 54 years old have increased their usage on Google+ by 56% since 2012.
Bonus – Big Picture & Visual Mediums
- 72% of all internet users are now active on social media.
- 71% of those users access their social media from a mobile device.
- Youtube has over one billion active monthly users
- Pinterest has 20 million active monthly users
- Instagram has 150 million active monthly users
Social media can incite serious marketing and sales results, however, real results come from understanding your audience and creating content that fulfills their needs and expectations. Every piece of your social media presence is necessary to create a web of successful marketing and follower relationships. Take advantage of Facebook’s active population, Twitter’s growing popularity and hashtag phenomenon and other up-and-coming mediums to realize real social media and business success.
By: Kurtis Wiles
A new study conducted by TNS on behalf of LinkedIn found that 81 percent of small businesses (SMBs) are currently using social media to drive business growth and 94 percent are meeting marketing objectives through the integration of social media.
The study, called Priming the Economic Engine, surveyed nearly 1000 SMBs to glean insight about their industry and how implementing social media or not implementing social media has impacted their business over the past few years. Almost three out of every five SMBs say that consistent social media integration has played a key role in their business gaining new customers. Not only is there growth in new customers, but according to the study, SMBs are seeing a lot more customer interaction and engagement from existing customers – especially customers who have had positive experiences with their organization.
The fact: Businesses that have devoted themselves to integrating social media as a marketing tool have met marketing objectives through stronger customer acquisition and retention.
According to another LinkedIn study, conducted by Borrell Associates, there is a strong correlation between SMBs that have increased social media spending and those that have achieved “hyper growth.”
“Through the study, we found that SMBs that are in growth mode rely heavily on social media for multiple activities in their value chain,” said Jennifer Grazel, category head for financial services at LinkedIn.
Hyper-growth companies with significant year-over-year increases in revenue are among the most active in social media marketing, finding the most effective social media practices to include branding, word-of-mouth, lead generation and content marketing.
The fact: Increasing financial resources in social media efforts and effectively “practicing” your brand through social media often leads to successful growth – even hyper-growth in some industries.
According to the U.S. Small Business Association, seven out of every 10 new jobs are created by small businesses. To learn more about the new social media positions that will be seen in 2014 (maybe even in your own small business) click here.
We are excited to announce the debut of Smirk New Media’s podcast, hosted by our own Allie Carrick.
Smirkcast will bring you interviews with people who are innovating and winning in the world of social media, while breaking down the trends and best practices in digital marketing.
In this first episode, Allie introduces herself, talks about the mission of Smirk New Media and dives into what kind of content Facebook is rewarding. Thanks for tuning in!
OKLAHOMA CITY — Smirk New Media, one of the region’s most successful social media consulting firms, is branching out to help businesses find qualified employees for digital marketing and strategists positions.
Social Network Staffing – and its website SocialNetworkStaffing.net – goes live today.
According to CareerBuilder.com, 2014 will see a great increase in businesses needing and hiring full-time social media strategists. Smirk New Media’s new division will provide an efficient way to identify qualified candidates of businesses in the region. Social Network Staffing will initially serve Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas and Missouri.
Social Network Staffing will collect, review and recommend qualified applicants who can take on the job of using social media channels to effectively represent brands online.
In addition, Social Network Staffing can also work alongside the new hire with its “Running Start Program,” in which new social media strategists and their companies get help in developing social media content, digital campaigns and techniques for audience growth.
“As businesses get serious about the integration of social and digital media into how they connect with their customers, we saw a great opportunity to share our advice and expertise with them through SNS,” said Mike Koehler, CEO and President of Smirk New Media. Koehler is confident that Social Network Staffing will have a profound impact on the hiring, integrating and training of new social media professionals as they enter the business spectrum.
“In 2014, we’ve moved beyond social media-for-social media’s sake,” said Koehler. “Companies need qualified strategists who understand the depth and impact social media can have on their business. Our system of identification, recruitment and placement of training will be a win for businesses and our Running Start program will be the difference-maker for how digital marketers are hired in the region.”
Kevin Deshazo, who works as a senior strategist for Smirk New Media and has more than five years of experience in the recruiting and staffing industry, will work with businesses seeking social media help. Social Network Staffing is also forging relationships with area colleges to create a pipeline for students interested in digital marketing.
“Matching the right person with the right company is critical, especially when that person is going to be the voice of that company. We take that process seriously,” DeShazo said. “We at Smirk pride ourselves in being the bridge that connects a working culture with an individual who understands and appreciates that culture and is able to effectively portray it through social media.”
ABOUT SMIRK NEW MEDIA
Smirk New Media was launched in July 2010 as a professional services agency focusing solely on social media and digital communication for government agencies, non-profits, brands and businesses. Smirk New Media serves its region with strategists in Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Kansas City and Springfield, Mo. With a client base of more than 30 companies, Smirk New Media helps create and implement digital strategy from Fortune 500 corporations to small businesses. Smirk New Media provides experienced and well-thought social media strategy as well as reliable service managing social media accounts. Smirk New Media allows our clients the peace of mind knowing they have consistent and relevant digital content on all of their platforms, while also having experienced consulting monitoring conversations and creating interaction.
Facebook began as a medium for teenagers and college students to interact, hang-out, and socialize without the necessity of a physical interaction. However, 2014 may leave Facebook singing a different tune, and marketing to a different audience.
According to a recent Social Ads Platform study, released by iStrategy Labs and published in Time Magazine, there are now over 28 million users over the age of 55 on Facebook – around an 80.4 percent increase since 2011.
On the flip side, there are now 4,292,080 fewer high-school aged users and 6,948,848 fewer college- aged users than there were in 2011, a 25.3 percent decrease and 7.5 percent decrease.
Where are all of the millennials going, and why the steady increase in older users?
The rise in people older than 55 logging onto Facebook could have something to do with simply being a loving parent. Facebook is an avenue for parents to not only monitor their children, but connect with them on a different level that no generation of people have ever explored before now.
The parenting and family connection trend has been around for some time, even an article posted on CNN.com in 2009 revealed this to be the case. Almost five years ago, a 56-year-old Houston, Texas mother is quoted as saying “We call [Facebook] our living room. We call it our living room because everybody can tell what everybody else is doing.”
Many folks are not only able to monitor the well being of their children and interact with them in a new way, but are also connecting with people they previously lost all contact with before. A simple search may now reveal a long lost pen pal or high school sweetheart. Facebook provides the need human beings have to easily connect with other people, no matter how far away, and the older generation is latching onto the significance of connecting with the past.
So what about the millennials?
Many millennials don’t view social media as a way to connect with the past as the older generation does, they are constantly seeking the next best thing, and if the iStrategy study is any indication, millennials appear to be moving on to greener social media pastures. Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat have all seen an increase in the number of newer, younger followers (in the past six months especially) and the bus doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon.
In 2014, we should see Facebook facing an interesting new challenge as attempts to integrate multiple generational marketing strategies and interface updates will have to be made to appease the older generation while keeping the millennials engaged. Facebook remains at the top of the social media food chain (with all ages) for the time being when it comes to sheer numbers, but will shifting demographics change that soon? If Facebook’s recent attempted acquisition of Snapchat proves anything, it’s that
Facebook isn’t planning to wait around and find out.
Welcome to the world of “Not Provided”.
In a move that has rocked the digital marketing world, Google has announced that it will encrypt all of its search results. While that may sound wonderful for privacy advocates, it torpedoes the ability of marketers and website owners to see which keywords are bringing in visitors.
Two of the top sites in our industry – Hubspot and SearchEngineLand.com – have looked at the issue. Basically, instead of Google Analytics showing the search keyword(s) that visitors used to get to your website, Google will block that info – posting “Not Provided.” For people familiar with Google Analytics, the percentage of searches coming up under that term has grown over the past two years.
Google has said that more search data will be available as part of its Google AdWords program … hmmm.
I asked Smirk New Media Business Development Director Stephanie Bice, who oversees all things SEO and Pay-Per-Click for our clients, her reaction to this news. Here are her thoughts:
“How can you write content, unless you know what potential customers are searching for? If I’m a business and I think the keyword phrase ‘flower shop OKC’ is how customers are finding me, but they are searching for ‘flower shops in Oklahoma City,’ I won’t know that using Google Analytics.”
“Essentially, everyone (will now be) guessing what kind wording they should be using in order to drive traffic to their site.”
“Social media may end up play a bigger part in driving traffic to your site than organic searches. You’d be better off on spending your money on growing your social audience. At least you are going to be able to measure results, because of the information about the audience you will have, instead of guessing.”
Combine this with Google’s recent tweaks to it overall search algorithm and it adds up to how to get the best results: consistent social media activity and quality content.
Over the past couple of days, Facebook made some announcements previewing promising new changes ahead for the social media giant.
On Thursday, Facebook announced a new deal with Shutterstock that will make millions of stock photos in its library available for Facebook advertisers to use through Facebook’s online ad creation tool.
Facebook has over 1 million advertisers and it’s clear they’re making a serious play for more. Advertisers won’t have to pay anything for high-quality stock images used in their ads because Facebook is footing the bill. Facebook’s new image uploader offers the ability to select a range of Page photos, images used in prior ads and Shutterstock images.
With one of the coolest new ad features, you’ll be able to select up to 6 images and test them out to which image helps your ad perform better. This should mean better Facebook ad targeting than ever before for brands.
Expect to see the option to integrate Shutterstock images into ads in the next few weeks.
Mostly since the introduction of Timeline, Facebook’s had serious problems with Newsfeed.
How many times have you visited Facebook occasionally throughout the day and seen the same content? That happens a lot for me and its drove me to use a Facebook less and Twitter more.
The old ranking system, called EdgeRank, has finally been replaced. With the new algorithm, Facebook says its focusing on pushing fresh, “high quality” content from Pages higher up on a user’s Newsfeed.
Right now Facebook uses a technical algorithm that takes several factors into account to rank posts and create a personalized Newsfeed for each user. Important designated ranking factors for posts include the author, number of likes, comments and shares.
To understand what people really want, Facebook surveyed users and asked them what made content important to them. The new algorithm is based on those respondents and it will now consider over 1,000 different factors when determining high quality content. Content will be mainly ranked based on quality of the page’s other content and the level of profile completion.
Facebook says it tested the new algorithm on “a small segment of users” and found those users engaged more with content on their feeds and hid fewer stories.
We’ve heard similar stories before on algorithm improvement, so we’ll just have to wait and see how much the Newsfeed really improves.
Look for the new algorithm to be rolled out over the next few weeks to users on both desktop and mobile.
One other development on Facebook’s horizon: updating its mobile apps for managing Pages. With the update, Page managers can upload multiple photos to a single post, edit existing Page administrators and add new Page administrators on a mobile device. It isn’t shocking this would be a pressing priority given a recent report that showed Facebook’s mobile usage is surging and desktop use declining. Facebook says nearly half of its ad business comes from mobile devices now.
I’m both excited and skeptical about some of these planned changes. So, what do you think?