Twitter announced new features this week that have the ability to transform the way businesses can communicate with their audiences and each other. On Tuesday, Twitter added Direct Messaging with more than one person at a time and the ability to shoot, edit and share video directly from the mobile Twitter app. Both of these services represent Twitter moving to build engagement opportunities into its product.
The Group DM function allows Twitter to more closely resemble an instant messaging app, and allows people to start a group DM with followers, regardless of whether those followers follow each other or not.
New! Use Direct Messages to speak privately with a group of up to 20 people. Share Tweets, show emoji & be yourself. https://t.co/8giGhC6OO0
— Twitter (@twitter) January 27, 2015
Ultimately a group DM, which can include up to twenty people, offers Tweet sharing and supports emoji, could act as a way to keep users within Twitter’s own network. Sidebar conversations about things happening in real-time on Twitter can take place in the app, instead of on a third-party platform, like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger.
The video feature allows users to record videos up to 30 seconds in length right from the app. This feature also allows you to edit video using basic cuts. Currently, iPhone app users can upload from the camera roll as well (update coming to Android users soon).
So, what does this all mean for brands?
Twitter’s group DM does not penalize brands and prohibit them from having real-time communication with their audiences, unlike some other platforms. If a customer has a complaint, question or concern, the conversation can move from the public Twitter feed into a lengthier and private DM. Responses that are not necessarily relevant to the entire following can be addressed in a private conversation and free up the news feed from public responses.
The group DMs also have the ability to allow businesses to communicate directly with a large group of people in their workplace, which is a similar concept to what Facebook At Work is trying to establish, by connecting coworkers through social media. Twitter’s simpler platform allows for real-time communication between individuals with the ability to share tweets that concern their business or industry and other relevant ideas in a private group setting.
Native video focuses on keeping users within the Twitter app and provide inline content viewing without users having to go to another destination. Twitter’s video content restrictions also seems to be a good length for advertisers looking for new ways to reach audiences on the service. The 30 second length is twice as long as Instagram videos and five times as long as a Vine, allowing for more in-depth and informative video content for viewers. Businesses can use this new accessibility, in the same way Neil Patrick Harris announced exclusive information about the upcoming Oscars, to inform audiences that follow them of new products, services and ideas. This in-app sharing ability also allows businesses with visual elements to provide their audiences with real-time video from events and share it with their followers.
Ultimately, Twitter’s new features allow businesses to provide more information in real-time with their audiences, whether that be through video or private messages.
It is important to be conscious of current events when managing social media accounts. While using trends and events can be effective ways to relate to public through the things they’re talking about, we all know the stories of people retracting posts because of lacking sensitivity during events that should not be leveraged on by companies.
The Hall of Shame is lined with brands met with criticism from the public by seeming to use tragedy to promote their brand through social media. In September 2014, DiGiorno used the trending hashtag #WhyIStayed, used by abuse survivors following former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice’s termination, without knowing its context. Earlier this month, the Seattle Seahawks used Martin Luther King Jr. Day as an opportunity to plug their involvement in this year’s Super Bowl, drawing comparisons between civil rights and a football game and ultimately offending the public.
While instances may arise where interacting with trends make sense in light of the greater marketing goal, deciding if a tweet is tasteful and beneficial for your company requires considering the following rules of thumb:
Pause and review. Always know exactly what messages are scheduled in your campaign and be prepared to pause it if and when a large-scale event happens. Review the content consumers will see and the searches that will trigger it. Advertising on searches that address a tragedy or crisis event may appear insensitive to consumers and victims. For a roofing company, “tornado repair” may seem like a great term to attract new customers – unless a major tornado has resulted in excessive and tragic damages, like the Moore tornado in 2013.
Consider changing the content. If possible, alter ad content to help your audience deal with the situation. In the case of the roofing advertiser, changing the content to reroute to a hotline for filing claims, rather than an ad soliciting new business, can help shift company image from exploitative to responsive. Localizing campaigns can be especially beneficial in these situations. You may even consider creating informative content about charities taking donations or organizations helping victims. Your quick response in times of crisis can make a large difference to a current or potential customer and lead to deeper connections.
Have a backup for your backup plan. Assign an experienced marketer to keep up with current events and formulate alternative marketing plans. Having a substitute campaign ready will enable a quicker, more thoughtful response when it becomes necessary. This is especially helpful in a team, so that someone is always available to deal with crises.
Be genuine in doing good for others. Brands benefit from having genuine human response. Since social media allows for real-time interaction, consumers have heightened expectations of critical information. Failure to meet this new standard could mean you may miss an opportunity to do some real good in this world and possibly get unfriended or unfollowed on a national level.
With the rapid growth of social media as a strategic business tool, communication students in college are expected to have current knowledge about best practices.
To that end, Oklahoma Christian University has partnered with Mike Koehler, president and partner at Smirk New Media, to provide students with a strategic social media and reputation management class. Koehler is uniquely qualified to teach the class as his Oklahoma City-based company specializes in social media strategy, online content and digital and web-based success.
“I’m thrilled to be able to offer this class to the Oklahoma Christian community,” Koehler said. “Social media is a passion of mine and I’m glad to share that with students. Social media is becoming a more powerful part of public relations and marketing every day, so equipping students with the skills to manage and create strategies is going to be key for their careers.”
According to Larry Jurney, chair and professor of the university’s communication department, the class will help OC students continue to stand out when seeking internships and post-graduation employment.
“Social media is a powerful force in our society, as evidenced by today’s headlines such as the ice bucket challenge,” Jurney said. “Our students need to know how to maintain a good reputation through social media and how to protect it. They also need to know how to use social media correctly. It can accomplish great things for good, especially in service to others.”
The class will include lectures, discussions, online and in-person guest professionals and applied assignments. A few national experts in social media will Skype into the class or lead a live Twitter chat with students. In addition, the students will develop a comprehensive social media and reputation management plan for a real organization. Students will also present their ideas in the form of a strategy pitch.
“I want students to have practical knowledge that gives them a foundation to build upon,” Koehler said. “Effective management of social media and reputation requires a truly strategic, long-term plan. This class will emphasize how important strategy is. I believe this experience will helps OC’s students get a head-start on achieving career success.”
About Smirk New Media
Smirk New Media has helped organizations large and small create robust social media strategies, craft quality online content and protect their brands’ digital reputations. Smirk New Media’s social media consulting team in Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Kansas City and Springfield, Mo., works hard to promote and protect its clients’ online successes. Before launching Smirk New Media, President and Chief Strategist Mike Koehler led the new media development for Oklahoma’s largest website and its largest public relations firm. For more information, visit www.smirknewmedia.com.
My tweets earned 4.2 thousand impressions over the span of the last 28 days. 61 percent of my followers are males and 57 percent of them live in Oklahoma City. 82 percent of my followers top interest is music while only 30 percent are into baseball. July 12 I had a 34.5 percent overall engagement rate with my tweets.
How do I know this? Thanks to Twitter and their new organic tweet analytics tool, I was able to find this information and much more.
Twitter announced last week that all users are now able to check in-depth data on their tweets and followers with Twitter analytics that was previously only available to advertisers of Twitter for business purposes.
Users can go to http://analytics.twitter.com to access this new information. There users can get all the in-depth information they could want and need on their account. The new information is free to everyone, users only have to sign up for an advertising account.
“For the first time, advertisers will be able to see how many times users have viewed their content strategy,” Twitter Product Manager Buster Benson wrote in a blog post releasing the news. “The tweet activity dashboard is now available to all advertisers, Twitter Card Publishers, and verified users around the world.”
Here are some examples of the many services and features offered:
Snapshot: Provides a holistic view of how your content is performing on Twitter, showing the number of tweets containing a link to your website or app.
Change over time: A look at how the overall data in your snapshot has changed over time. This includes lost or gained followers and engagement with your tweets.
Sources: The most common platforms used to send tweets that linked to your content.
Best practices: You’ll find personalized tips and suggestions that give you ideas for boosting the performance of your Twitter. This will show you when the best time to tweet is based off your times of highest engagement, how often you should tweet and what sort of tweets and style are working best for you.
Followers: Get information on your followers including where your followers are from and when you’ve gained or lost followers.
A graph of the previous month of mentions, follows and unfollows where tweets can be broken down into “good” and “bad” categories depending on how much they were viewed or engaged with is also available for more a more in-depth look.
At Smirk New Media, we have always been huge fans of Twitter. Finding out more about our tweets and how effective they can be gives this already robust platform even more depth. For businesses and other professionals who want to drive their leads, sales and reputation from Twitter, you now have a clearer view of what works – and doesn’t when it comes to content.
For us, the more focused and engaging the content can be, the better.
The other day I got an email: It was the 7th anniversary of joining Twitter.
Had it really been that long? Yep. Sometime in the Summer of 2007, in what was surely a slow day at the offices of The Oklahoman, I logged into the web, followed a link here or there talking about the latest thing online and decided to try out Twitter.
I’d heard that shorter usernames were better, so at that moment “@MKOKC” was born, to be scribbled on “Hello my name is” stickers for years to come.
(Footnote: There is a @mikekoehler on Twitter. His tweets are protected. His follower count is 50. What a legacy.)
Twitter has always been my native social media land. Facebook came along much later. And LinkedIn, while incredible helpful, is not somewhere you hang out and talk about the Thunder game.
Without Twitter, there wouldn’t be all of this. There wouldn’t be a Smirk New Media, or an office downtown, or a friendship and partnership with Stephanie Bice (or Kevin Deshazo or Allie Carrick and so many others) or all the other twists and turns of what up until 2007 was a straight line through the world of journalism.
What Twitter brought into my life and many others, I think, was a sense of connection and community. It was forged in those earl days, when people started to get hit by the recession and just started to wonder what was going on outside their windows and cubicles. It was forged during our bouts of severe weather, when you were able to get a real sense of “was everybody OK.”
I literally worked in a dark, glass tower for years, cut off from anything that was happening downtown, in other organizations or in the lives of people I would love to know.
For me, Twitter was a real-time stream of light and life, peeking in through the blinds.
Now did I take it a step farther? Yes. During that heyday of Twitter adoption in Oklahoma City, as I transitioned from journalism into consulting, I reached out to the people I met on Twitter and dared to meet them IRL. Those “Twitter blind dates” as my wife called gave me a crash course into PR, marketing, networking and thinking about business (and myself) differently.
And when the time came to leap into the void and start my own business – selling this service that had so radically changed the world – the net I dove into had been knitted by those friendships and relationships found on Twitter.
This is one of the reasons I take social media so seriously, when others still want to put it in a box or make it a punchline. Social media had so much to do with how my life has changed since 2007 – along with, no coincidentally a recommitment to church I made the same year – that I can never discount its impact.
When you open your phone to day, or pull up your computer, and start to send one of those 140 character gems, think about how different your life is now that we have this expectation of real-time communication with hundreds and thousands of those around us.
Think of how different life is now that we have made this community.
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.
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 But sometimes, the best promotion that is tapped by online casino s is the Loyalty Program. 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.