Category: Facebook

13 Mar

Facebook Stories : Snapchat’s Evil Twin

Lauren Ashpole digital advertising, Facebook, Instagram, Marketing, Social, social media 0 Comments

They’ve done it again.

After numerous attempts, Facebook has created something to try and outrun Snapchat for good: Facebook Stories. The feature is being tested in Ireland right now with plans to launch in other countries soon.

Facebook Stories are based on Snapchat’s original format. Users can take photos, film videos, and add geofilters. Your friends can tap through your story and posts will disappear after 24 hours. Stories will appear at the top of the app right below the search tool and above the status update box. You may also respond to a story with a private message.

Facebook has two advantages over Snapchat that could help Stories have a successful launch: significantly more daily users and the fact that it’s an older, well-established platform that appeals to a much wider audience. Facebook has 1.5 billion daily active users while Snapchat only has 150 million. For comparison, Instagram Stories – launched in August 2016 – has 150 million daily users.

For most brands, Facebook is a necessity, as it’s where the majority of their audience lives online. With this feature, brands could give established audiences a look behind the scenes into the culture of their company. Facebook Stories could allow brands to be more clear and transparent than ever before: “Customers connect with emotion, originality and sensory details — all elements of a compelling story on any platform,” said Smirk’s Managing Director Allie Carrick. “Facebook Stories is a step in the right direction for brands to give users the cohesive, behind-the-scenes stories they want to see.”

How could ads play into Facebook Stories? Less people are wanting to see fewer advertisements their News Feed and because of this Stories could be a new place for sponsored content. Instagram has taken advantage of their Stories feature by recently introducing video advertisements that appear when you move between users’ stories. Facebook already has short advertisements playing before and during videos on the platform. Additionally, they are testing ads in the Messenger app.

10 Feb

The 5 social media mistakes most likely to cost you your job

Lauren Ashpole Facebook, social media 0 Comments

Over the years, social media has gone from a niche communications tool to a large part of many people’s, and businesses, daily routines. Even though Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc., are accessible to anyone who knows how to set up an account and use a smartphone, no professional should dive into the at times treacherous world social media without knowing basic survival skills. Here are a five social media tips (and cautionary tales)  from Smirk that can help you keep your job in the highly visible world of new media.

1. Don’t trash someone else on Twitter, especially the president’s son.

katie-rich-tw

Smirk Tip* Don’t post anything about current social issues without thinking carefully and if you do make this mistake be prepared to do more than just delete your tweet.  

2. Don’t let out company (or jury) secrets.

Live tweeting can be a great way to share a conference or event with your network. What’s not so good? Posting about your company’s proprietary information or jury duty. Recently, A juror who was sitting on rape and sexual assault court case learned this the hard way. According to her Facebook post, she was having a hard time deciding whether to rule guilty or not guilty, so she made a Facebook poll asking her followers for help. When word got out about her post, she was dismissed from the jury and potentially ruined the entire case.

Live tweeting can be a great way to share a conference or event with your network. What’s not so good? Posting about your company’s proprietary information or jury duty. Recently, A juror who was sitting on rape and sexual assault court case learned this the hard way. According to her Facebook post, she was having a hard time deciding whether to rule guilty or not guilty, so she made a Facebook poll asking her followers for help. When word got out about her post, she was dismissed from the jury and potentially ruined the entire case.

Smirk Tip* Don’t share private information online. Even if your boss doesn’t follow you, one of your friends could share the post to your boss. Remember, social media post are never secret, even if you have a private account. Everything is accessible at the touch of a button or a share from a “friend.”

3. Don’t ask for drugs at work (or anywhere else) by posting it on Twitter.

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Smirk Tip * Don’t think we need to explain this one. But kudos to the local police department for their great response.

4. Don’t post racial slurs. They’re not funny. Ever.

o-paula-deen-twitter-570-1

Once America’s kitchen sweetheart, Paula Deen’s career has gone down the garbage disposal due to racism. Shortly after her frequent racial slurs were made public, Deen paid a heavy price, losing deals and contracts with the Food Network, Smithfield Foods, Walmart, Target, QVC, Caesars Entertainment, J.C. Penney, Sears, Kmart and her then-publisher Ballantine Books.

In an attempt to be funny, Paula Deen’s social media manager posted the above photo to her social media followers, but no one really got the joke. Needless to say, her social media manager was fired.

Smirk Tip* Racism, sexism (or any ism) don’t play well on social media. Just don’t.

 5. Don’t be stupid.

Always, think before posting. If you wouldn’t want your boss to see it, don’t post it. The same applies to co-workers, clients, colleagues or your grandmother.

For example, PR professional Justine Sacco posted the tweet below before flying to South Africa. Due to her large amount of followers (many of whom were journalists) the tweet quickly spread across the internet finally reaching her boss. By the time she landed, Sacco had been fired and had become an international example of what not to do online.

Smirk Tip* Always, always consider your words carefully before posting, as you never know how your audience will react. Unless you want to get fired, then feel free to tweet away.

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31 Jan

Update: Snapchat users aren’t loving the new update.

Lauren Ashpole Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Social, social media Tags: , 0 Comments

Snapchat is one of the most popular apps among teens and young adults. Their most recent update, with the addition of a new search bar, aims to help Snapchat be more accessible to all.

Katie Marshall, a Smirk strategist, has her own opinions about the Snapchat update.

“With Facebook testing stories, in addition to Instagram Stories, Snapchat is struggling to hang on to its users. Recent studies show Instagram Stories have as many viewers as Snapchat. I expect for Instagram and Facebook numbers to rise while Snapchat’s start to fall.”

The search bar gives users the accessibility to search any of their followers’ stories, any of Snapchat’s stories or to quickly send a private message to a friend.

“The new features, like the search bar, were introduced as an effort to make Snapchat more accessible to a wider range of users, but I think there is still confusion on what certain features, like Quick Chat, mean and how to use them,” said Marshall. “I do think the new update is more visually appealing, which is a bonus.”

Avid Snapchat users seem to love the new Bitmoji editing capability within the app. Some edits might include facial features and outfits.

A Bitmoji is a cartoon you can design to look, dress and talk like you. Bitmojis can say anything from ‘hello’ to ‘nope’ to ‘are you there?’

Below is an example of a Bitmoji. They are supposed to look similar to the person they emulate, but you can be the judge of that.

   

screen-shot-2017-01-31-at-2-54-22-pm    screen-shot-2017-01-31-at-2-54-29-pm

These new features come at a time when Instagram Stories, the mirror image of Snapchat Stories, are now reaching 150 million views. Snapchat has been the social leader for story type video — until now. Snapchat has yet to introduce live video streaming to the app, while Instagram already has live video and Facebook is testing out live video right now.

What does this update mean for Smirk?

“For businesses and brands, Snapchat still doesn’t make much sense because there is no analytics to ensure you’re actually reaching potential customers,” said Marshall. “For many, it’s still seen as a waste of time.”

24 Jan

Who should Market to Millennials?

Lauren Ashpole Business, digital advertising, Facebook, Instagram, Our Clients, Social, social media, social media strategy 0 Comments

The millennial generation is the largest in U.S. history, even bigger than baby boomers. For that reason, many of our new clients believe their brand should market to millennials.

Every client’s social media presence should be as unique as the products or services they provide. The answer to solving the millennial debate is knowing who you should reach.

“Some clients come to us wanting to appeal everyone, but I advise that their target audience should be much narrower,” said Allie Carrick, Smirk’s Managing Director. “Targeting the decision makers for your products or services impacts the bottom line.”

Your decision maker shouldn’t completely define your digital presence, but speaking their language will help you resonate. When speaking to older generations, avoid slang phrases (ex: FB/LB, respek, TD) and other passing trends (Pokémon GO, anyone?). Reduce your target audience down from generalizations to who they are, their decision-making process and what information is valuable to them.

If millennials are your decision makers, the perfect way to reach them — right from the source — is authenticity.

According to Forbes.com, millennials: value authenticity more than content, would rather buy a car and lease a house and read blogs before making purchases. This generation turns to their handheld devices to meet their needs. They value the convenience of asking a question via Facebook message to a brand’s page rather than making a call.

Millennials expect flexible technology and an easy customer experience as the norm. Brands must be able to maintain an active and authentic presence online to retain the millennial.

As a business owner, you may want more millennials to shop at your personalized paper store, but does this generation of shoppers see the value in your paper? Smirk has helped so many brands answer this fundamental question and many more like it. Starting the conversation is the first step to building an effective social media presence for your brand.

13 Jan

The Boomerang Theory

Lauren Ashpole digital advertising, Facebook, Instagram, Social, social media, social media strategy Tags: , , 0 Comments

A Boomerang. A toy we all wanted until we had it, sometimes it came back to us, but most of the time it didn’t.

The Boomerang of the digital age is an app accessible through Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook. It is a one-second video clip that loops back to the beginning after it reaches the end.

Here’s an example of how we’ve utilized Boomerang for one of our clients, Automobile Alley.

The graphic below, from Social Media Today, demonstrates most consumed type of content on Facebook in 2016. Boomerang could be a very useful visual tool to get your audience’s attention.

Video is just one of the latest trends fundamental to digital marketing success that Smirk’s founder and president, Mike Koehler, is currently traveling and speaking to companies about.

“Any brand interested in making a connection with its audience in 2017 needs to make video content a priority because it takes the transparency that people love to the next level,” said Koehler. “You can show the process of what makes your business great – your expertise and your behind-the-scenes.”

Smirk published our first Boomerang on our Instagram account this morning. Follow along as we share more insight into our content strategies.

On Friday we don't count calories.

A post shared by Smirk New Media (@smirknewmedia) on

26 Jul

Study: Ads on social media are no longer optional

Michaela Lawson Business, Content, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Marketing, OKC, Oklahoma, Our Clients, Snapchat, Social

By Michaela Lawson

Since working at Smirk, I don’t think a single day has gone by (okay, maybe that’s a little exaggerated) without hearing Allie say something about the necessity of putting money behind brand content on social media.

And, low and behold, a recent study by the American Marketing Association has found that to be absolutely true.

Accepted

The Journal of Marketing reports that, based on their findings regarding company-generated content, social media is “most effective when combined with ads.” Even more than that though, they found that brand messaging on social media “indeed increases sales and customer profitability.”

Of course the report was quick to emphasize that other forms of marketing – the more traditional routes – are not to be neglected. Although 90 percent of customer responses were found to be generated from digital ads, “marketers should strive to achieve a synergistic approach so that ads in all platforms work together to reach audiences in cadence to an established tone and message.”

So, how do we integrate social media – backed by marketing dollars – into our overall marketing campaigns?

The first step to all marketing decisions starts with defining your target market, followed by framing messaging for optimal performance among those audiences.

Only then can you locate where the desired audience spends most of their time, which in the past few years is oftentimes social media platforms. Knowing where and how your target audience communicates allows you to engage customers according to their preferences.

Various features have rolled out in the last few months and years on social media platforms that allow for more specific demographic reach within those networks. These tools allow us to know who we are communicating with in very real and quantifiable ways more than ever before.

To neglect social media is corporate suicide. So, it’s about time marketers recognized the importance of spending money where the audiences are – social media. And with that, making sure the right people with the right training are running those messages and ads on social platforms for the best results.

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

12 Aug

Facebook gives users more control of their news feed

Michaela Lawson Content, Facebook, social media Tags: , , , , ,

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.

09 Jun

Animating Facebook: Introducing GIFs

Michaela Lawson Content, Facebook, social media Tags: , ,

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:

Organic Reach 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.

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