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
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.
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,
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.
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.”
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.
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.
The “most wonderful time of the year” starts with the recognition and thanksgiving for all the little things. This Thanksgiving, we’re thankful for the benefits digital marketing gives businesses and folks like us who manage social media for our clients’ great brands. Here are some of the things we’re thankful for:
1. Shared experiences
“I am thankful for shared Twitter experiences. Whether it’s the latest rumbling of an Oklahoma earthquake, the last seconds ticking down on a Thunder game or whomever is stumbling up the steps at the Oscars, being able to joke, snark, question and cheer on Twitter is now and always has been a blessing. I strongly believe that Twitter has strengthened our community’s muscles over the past few years and 2015 was no different. We keep growing up as an online community – we support folks who lose their jobs, help new events find their footing and keep talking in 140 characters or less. Just this year we did it with more photos, more GIFs and more moments.”
– Mike Koehler, president and chief strategist
“I’m thankful for community. That’s what social media is to me. Groups of people passionate about similar causes, ideas and industries who connect, interact, share, support and spur each other on. It’s opened my eyes to people and perspectives I otherwise wouldn’t have known or considered, helping to build empathy. Community is a powerful thing, and I’m thankful for the community that social media provides.”
– Kevin DeShazo, senior strategist
3. Higher marketing standards
“I am thankful that social media has not just changed the marketing game, but raised the bar. The traditional sales pitch is dead and I’m not sad to see it go. Unlike media outlets of the past, platforms, like Facebook, design their advertising standards putting the customer experience first to cultivate a captive audience. They limit overly promotional content and reward brands for creativity, originality and relevance to their target audience. Some see this change as an inconvenience, but I see it as a big opportunity. Those willing to adapt stand out amongst their competitors and are experiencing the benefits. Brands using social media well are creating more personal, conversational customer relationships than ever before, resulting in a positive impact on in their customer service, sales and community.”
– Allie Carrick, senior strategist
4. Local connections and information
“I am grateful that we live in a time where we can witness connections being fostered and help being given over social media platforms. It has been heartwarming to see local restaurants/suppliers reach out to nonprofits to supply food for Thanksgiving dinners across the state – like Other Options.
I am also thankful that businesses of all kinds are increasingly active on social media, as it allows us to find their Thanksgiving plans with ease; restaurants are tweeting their specials, their holiday hours, and generally connecting with their followers. Take Pie Junkie for example!”
– Lennon Patton, sales strategist
5. Creative sharing
“I’m thankful for the wealth of free or low cost creative sources available to the public. Artists of all forms contribute free resources of photos, graphics and fonts to make good content stand out. Programs like Canva give users with limited graphic design experience the ability to create professional graphics in preset dimensions for all of the digital platforms – social media, email, blogs, etc. Other low cost and free resources provide easy access to photography, mockups or graphics. More than the visual representations, however, the free resource of ideas, information and studies make content creation easier. By observing the digital world around us, these resources give us the ability to expand on ideas and create new trends.”
– Michaela Lawson, intern
Social media and the digital age have given us much more to be thankful for than just these perks, and the upcoming year will bring even more to be thankful for.
Advertisers and social media strategists have all but mastered the art of redesigning and cropping their advertisements into tailored Discover stories for Snapchat, but they miss the key role of providing value instead of cluttering the conversation.
Enter Twitter Moments.
Twitter is a flowing stream of information that demands its users to fight the current to pick up everything from the latest news to the latest trend. For those who are not active Twitter stream swimmers, the social network and its reverse timeline of 140-character information can be daunting. The Moments feature uses human curators to highlight the newest and hottest trends & delivers them in a neat package.
Twitter didn’t take long finding ways to monetize its new offering. Two weeks after the launch of Moments, Promoted Moments were announced to start trial runs within the Moments stream. Promoted Moments will show brand narratives that include everything from real-time events to seasonally relevant ones and those defined as “authentic narratives around a brand’s values” in multimedia format.
These sponsored Moments allow brands complete control to present a series of different tweets – and even Vines – to tell their story. Each Promoted Moment will last up to 24 hours with the ability to be constantly updated.
As brands start creating content for Promoted Moments, it’s important to remember what contributing to conversation means for users.
- Brand-generated content gives a behind-the-scenes vantage point to audiences.
People are increasingly more interested in the exclusive, behind-the-scenes access to the brands and people they love. With this information ready at brands’ fingertips constantly, Promoted Moments gives a new outlet for brands to give the people what they want; and, more importantly, what they are eager to engage with.
- Conversation contribution is not the same as conversation curation.
As brands highlight Moments to share with the public, it is important to remember that promotional content for the brand might not be the most interesting piece of information to audiences. Starting a conversation and contributing to it is much different than pushing conversation to viewers. People will interact more purposefully with topics they feel their input is valued in.
- Moments give audiences short-bursts of information for a short amount of time.
With a short shelf-life, Promoted Moments gives users the unique opportunity to be part of a conversation in one moment with a brand. This is perfect for live-events and short-term specials, offers or deals. Although not all audiences will tune in to the conversation during its Moment to shine, the overall potential of reach in a short-blast of curated information garners great potential for brands to share their story in the best package they can.
- Multiple Tweets together defy the limited character rule.
With the potential of streaming multiple 140-character tweets together in one Moment, brands have a unique storytelling opportunity in Twitter to build a story within a string of Tweets. The limited messaging of 140-characters at least loosens its grip. The ability to tell a story throughout multiple pieces allows brands to spread information across multiple photos, videos or messages.
As Promoted Moments continue to grow, brands have the ability to provide unique conversation to their audiences and be an important facilitator in conversation any given Moment of the day.
Photo from Twitter, Inc.
We have great news — our team is growing! We’re looking for a new full-time Strategist and it just might be you. Find the position description below.
Digital Marketing Strategist
LOCATION: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
TIME REQUIREMENT: FT 40 Hours / Week
Smirk New Media is looking for an experienced communicator and innovative marketing pro to join our team in Oklahoma City.
Our strategists are problem-solvers for our clients’ digital marketing needs. They work on a range of projects, promoting and protecting our client’s online success with great content and informed strategy. We love how words work on the web.
Working with our senior staff, strategists collaborate on client social media strategies and are responsible for day-to-day execution of social media campaigns; tasks include creative brainstorming, content creation, monitoring, profile maintenance, frequent engagement/conversation, customer service, targeting and managing advertising campaigns and analyzing metrics.
We need a team player who can wear a wide range of hats (these are metaphorical, you will not be required to actually wear a hat), will take ownership of his or her projects, and can move seamlessly between the strategic and the tactical.
Smirk New Media’s team is a diverse powerhouse of web content, marketing, public relations, media and writing experience. We are one of the fastest growing digital agencies in the region, working with brands of all sizes from local businesses to Fortune 500 companies. We love what we do, who we work with and we’re passionate about going above and beyond for our clients. We continuously challenge ourselves to deliver more creative, cohesive and engaging content to help our clients stand out from the crowd — and we have a great time doing it.
What we’d like to see:
- Creative, versatile self-starter who is comfortable with both taking initiative and working in collaboration.
- Experience advocating for social media marketing best practices and an awareness of emerging content strategy trends, tools and technology. We are passionate about what the digital space can do for our clients and our community.
- Active accounts across key social media platforms including, but not limited to, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. If you haven’t updated your account since attending your aunt’s birthday party in 2013, we’ll notice.
- Strong verbal and writing skills as well as a keen eye for detail.
- Team player able to integrate with a diverse team full of opinions and ideas.
- Ability to meet deadlines and manage the many details that need to come together to create big impact for our clients.
Duties & Responsibilities
- Develop digital marketing strategies that meet client objectives.
- Write creative, engaging client marketing content specific to each social media platform.
- Craft website copy using effective SEO practices for client websites.
- Stay current on the latest digital trends.
- Consistently analyze account metrics on engagement and follower growth and adapt content strategies accordingly.
- Collaborate closely with our group of strategists in design, strategy, and production of client websites and social media channels.
- Prepare monthly reports to update staff/clients on predetermined metrics.
- Work in a laid back, yet ambitious team culture with a flexible schedule
- The opportunity to work with an interesting and varied group of clients
- Unlimited access to the Ms. Pac Man machine in our office
That enough? If you’re up for it, let us know.
To apply, please send your resume and cover letter to email@example.com.
In an attempt to “give the people what they want”, Facebook announced a new update to the news feed for users. Individuals can now prioritize their news stories to show their friends, family and favorite pages before seeing stories from everyone else they follow.
The rest of their news feed will still update as normal beneath the prioritized information, but now people don’t need to see the mindless updates about spiders on porches and their former roommates’ seventh kitten before seeing their cousin’s engagement photos and favorite band’s newly announced tour dates.
The update also gives users the ability to unfollow people, reconnect with people they previously unfollowed and discover new pages based on previous liking activity.
As always, this change to the platform can be either harmful or helpful for brands. The challenge brands now face is being relevant enough to be deemed a priority by your audience . In that challenge, though, is the opportunity to be seen above the clutter by the people that care the most about your brand and the people that are more likely to take action based on your messages.
In the struggle of being heard among the masses, loyalty is key. Loyal followers are more likely to deem your information important and prioritize your posts above your competitors. So, you don’t get lost in the crowd of brand page posts and your treasured audience’s attention is all yours.
Last year, Facebook started making changes to the news feed based on user complaints about the promoted content of pages they followed. These updated news feeds resulted in pages being penalized for overly promotional and unoriginal content.
As Facebook continues to weed out overly promotional content from pages, brands have the opportunity to reform their sales pitches into genuine transparent relationships with the people that care about their message.
Brands have the opportunity now, more than ever, to give individuals personal relationships. People are increasingly interested in the behind-the-scenes exclusives that brands have to offer.
Facebook keeps digital marketers on their toes, to say the least. New ways of reaching audiences are constantly surfacing or being redefined. The once photo-dominated platform is now responding more and more to video content. In fact, photos only reach half of the audience that videos can, according to MarketingLand. Granted, the content still needs to be engaging, creative and unique to the audience. Here’s a breakdown of how much organic reach each mode of communication is receiving on Facebook:
But this landscape is ever-changing with Facebook’s announcement that the platform will now be supporting GIF (pronounced “JIF”) animation in the news feed. Now, users are able to express themselves in one of the Internet’s purest forms of expression – short, animated images played on a continuous loop.
These short snippets of hilarity seem endless in all their glory from social media to text messages, GIFs rule communication circles everywhere. Adding this ability to Facebook’s timeline allows users to continue expressing themselves through others’ captured expressions as they deem fit.
However, this option is not yet available for brands, but the inevitable extension to brands will ultimately change the face of organic reach on Facebook again. The use of animated GIFs, however, open new opportunities for businesses to succeed or fail.
GIFs on brand Pages have the potential to:
- Add personality to tweets and customer responses.
- Make content more viral and share-worthy.
- Creative way to feature new products or exclusives.
- Highlight brand culture with your own content.
Ultimately, Facebook has added another step to the pathway of communication today. And it’s a step that brands are desperate to be a part of to try and reach their audiences with one more outlet of communication.