Month: January, 2013

31 Jan

Social Media and Super Bowl XLVII

Allie Carrick Facebook, Featured, Marketing, social media, the internet is great, Twitter, videos, YouTube Tags: , , , 0 Comments
Super Bowl 2013: Go viral or good riddance. 
Super Bowl Predictions
           Personally, count me in as one of the who only tune in for the most creative advertisements of the year. Sometimes it seems that top executives must meet with their ad staff at some point and convey that if they have one good idea all year, it better be ready at Super Bowl time. Whether you’re watching for game or the ads, social media will play it’s biggest advertising role ever in NFL Super Bowl XLVII.
          Hootsuite launched a real-time Super Bowl Social Media Command Center. You can check out the Super Bowl’s command center to see an analysis of the overall social media fan sentiment throughout the game. Before the AFC and NFC, Hootsuite was able to correctly predict the winners by analyzing fan sentiment through Twitter conversations.
         Visualize with me for a second. Visualize spending $8 million for 60 seconds. Social media will help corporations know if they got the most bang for their buck.
         In decades past, marketing executives could only measure success based on possible impressions from ratings data. No more. This year, analysts will measure an ad’s success based on if it goes viral or is a trending topic around the world. How many people shared the ad or talked about it on Twitter? Were the reactions positive? Real-time, two-way communication between corporations and audiences will give marketers the data they need to up the advertising game and measure campaign success.
         Audi relied on social media to build awareness for their ad weeks before the game. This isn’t a new practice for the company. In 2011, they got 2 million YouTube ad views prior to the game and last year that figure doubled. This year, Audi allowed the public to vote on YouTube for this year’s Super Bowl ad ending.
         Coke’s ad this year is promoting a social media game. Their 60-second spot depicts 3 teams trying to get a giant bottle of Coke. The ad ends in a cliffhanger and it’s up to the audience will choose who wins the coke. Subsequently, the audience will choose their final 30-second spot that will air at the end of the game showing the outcome of the race. Coke is creating an online conversation.
          The question is what hashtags will trend during the game. In recent interviews, Super Bowl players expressed fearing their team names being next to #lose. When Sunday rolls around, I’m going to sit in front of my TV, with my french onion dip, and see how corporate marketers across industries are approaching social media integration into their marketing strategy. Also, waiting to see which ad is the first to make me giggle. What are you looking forward to this Super Bowl Sunday?
30 Jan

An Example of Social Media Done Right.

Mike Koehler Marketing, Oklahoma, SmallBiz, social media 0 Comments

By definition, marketing is the action or business of promoting and selling products or services. But many in executive management positions at small- to medium-sized companies find it difficult to grasp the concept that engaging in social media isn’t about pushing your product or service.

Traditional marketing as we once knew it revolved around a specific activity – say a direct mailer, television advertisement, pay-per-click ad or print piece – that explained what your product was, where to find it and how it was going to improve your life. Then, using mathematical equations, marketing directors would track if the activity generated a positive ROI (Return on Investment) or if the strategy was wrong and another marketing tasks needed to be implemented.

Social Media, on the other hand, is about connecting and sharing, not necessarily selling. In some ways, social media is really more akin to branding than marketing. Marketing genius Seth Godin defines a brand as “A set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.” If you think about social media for corporate use, it’s about making your product or service memorable. You want your product or service to become the talk of the town.

Let’s look at an excellent example of using social media to create a memory that is hard to forget.

I give to you: Moore Liquor. This small liquor store located in Moore, Oklahoma has decided to use social media for two unique purposes that do not in any way relate to trying to sell a bottle of Johnny Walker. Their first Facebook page (found here)  is dedicated to making us laugh. About once a week, they post a new message on the marquee in front of the store to give patrons a good laugh and also post it on their Facebook page. A recent photo says “If you value fame more than your freedom, shoplift here.” posted on the marquee.  This message itself might not seem hilarious, until you check out their other Facebook page (found here) and learn that recently thefts were becoming a big problem, so they began posting images (via their surveillance cameras) of people stealing alcohol from the store. The pictures are posted and there is a reward offered for anyone who is willing to message the store with the name (or names) of the individuals in the photos.

Their Facebook pages are so popular, with over 6,200 on one page and almost 2,700 on the other, that they have more likes than the popular Original Hideaway Pizza location that has been a campus favorite in Stillwater Oklahoma for more than 50 years.

Social media is about engagement and building a network of people who like similar things. If all you do is talk about the products you are selling- you’re doing it wrong and your social media success will be marginal at best. Determine what your target audience likes (and doesn’t like) and work that into your social media strategy. Make it fun. Make it interesting. But mostly, don’t make it all about you.





24 Jan

Social Media in the Workplace: 5 Mistakes You Shouldn’t Make

Allie Carrick OKC, Oklahoma, Small Business, SmallBiz, social media, social media policy, Uncategorized Tags: , , , 0 Comments
Every organization faces a choice on what popular websites to allow on company computers. Social media is the taboo of the last few years. Social media availability isn’t necessary for every industry, but certain social tools can encourage digital team collaboration and boost productivity. Here are five mistakes your company shouldn’t make when approaching social media in the workplace.
Ban social media on company computers.
Design a policy on acceptable use of social media during work hours and open social media up company-wide. There’s untapped value in these tools and your team can benefit from using them to collaborate and to help in identifying potential customers. Social media has streamlined the hiring process and can do the same in a lot of different areas. Your sales team can use social media to generate leads and easily communicate with customers. Research and development teams can use it to brainstorm new ideas by seeing what is popular and what people are asking for. Design teams can derive inspiration for the next big idea from pins on Pinterest. The possibilities are endless for productive activity on social media.
Rely on email as the primary group collaboration tool.
According to comScore’s 2012 U.S. Digital Future in Focus, the time spent on webmail by 18-24 year olds decreased by 50% since 2010. Email is ceasing to be the only and best way to accomplish team tasks. Google made functionality strides when it converted traditional emails to long-running conversations in Gmail, but things are changing and Gen Y will operate differently than any other generation. More than 200,000 companies worldwide are using Yammer, a social site designed to streamline team collaboration. With both free and paid features, it operates similar to Facebook and Twitter, but exists only for company collaboration, file sharing and knowledge exchange. It’s a web-based and mobile capable platform to encourage productivity wherever your team is working from.
Relinquish ownership of company profiles.
A big mistake businesses often make is allowing one person sole access to all the company’s social profiles. This is setting you up for disaster. I’m not saying you can’t designate one person to be in charge, but other staff members need to have access as well. If someone leaves the company, you could before forced to start over if you don’t have the account information and passwords. Also, if that individual is employed elsewhere, it could also lead to another company receiving your followers. In your social media policy, it should be clear the company owns social each social profile and can revoke an individual’s access at any time.
Be unaware of what’s being said about your company publicly.
Especially if you work for a company with more than 10 employees, monitor what’s being said publicly about your company by potential customers and employees. Don’t be caught by a surprise social media scandal. Searching the different platforms occasionally for public mentions of your brand will help you stay ahead of negative attention.
Allow employees to educate themselves on social media practices.
More and more companies are having branded social media training programs created for their employees. Sprint employees complete a two-hour workshop called the Sprint Social Media Ninjas. After becoming certified ninjas, Sprint employees are continuously asked to contribute ideas for new ideas for the company’s social profiles. Doing nothing is not option. Blaming an employee for a social media regulation that didn’t exist, after an embarrassment, helps neither party. Designing programs specific to each business or organization is a Smirk specialty. Contact us for more information on social media company policies, monitoring or training your staff.
22 Jan

Technology,Teens and What Parents Need to Know

Mike Koehler Content, Facebook, Featured, Instagram, life, OKC, Oklahoma, Pinterest, social media, Twitter Tags: , , , , , , 0 Comments

With the explosion of mobile technology over the last decade, specifically smartphones, parents are having a tough time keeping up with the latest trends. It”s no longer cool to use Facebook or even Twitter. Teens are moving to less known social media platforms such as Tumblr and Instagram to communicate with friends to avoid the prying eyes of their parents. But educating our kids about technology and how best to use it is a challenge when parents are unaware of the dangers.

As if the smartphones themselves aren”t temptation enough with their easy-to-use cameras and instant communication mechanisms, now software developers are encouraging behaviors like sexting with apps including Snapchat and Facebook Poke.

Snapchat and Facebook Poke are mobile apps which let users share images or videos that disappear after a few seconds. The sender can choose how long the message will be visible — up to 10 seconds — before it self-destructs (or so they say).

Here are some sobering stats from the site

  • 20% of teens have sent or posted nude or semi-nude photos or videos of themselves
  • 39% of teens have sent sexually suggestive messages via text, email or instant messaging
  • 48% of teens say they have received sexually suggestive messages via text, email or instant messaging

Snapchat has taken the app world by storm. At the time of this post, Snapchat is the 15 most popular app in the iTunes app store, ahead of Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook. Teens and 20-somethings are downloading and using this app in record numbers.

Athough Snapchat claims naughty images will never come back to haunt users,  people can still grab screenshots from their phones, even though both Snapchat and Facebook Poke notify the sender if the recipient snaps a screenshot. And these screenshots are being used to create Snapchat-themed Tumblr blogs featuring nude or semi-nude teens as well as a one completely dedicated to images of the male genitalia. Nice, huh?

So what can we as parents do to combat this? First, educate yourself.  Your kids might think their videos and pics are deleted forever, but inform them that Zach Epstien with has detailed a way to retrieve the deleted videos your kid receive. And the photos that vanish after 10 seconds? Nope, those are retrievable too. (TechCrunch wrote steps on how to do that here: retrieve Snapchat pics) The more YOU know, the less your kids can get away with. This includes keeping up with apps like these.

Second, communicate. Some of us at Smirk New Media are parents ourselves, and we want to keep our kids (and yours) safe as well as educate them about digital media. Our kids are exposed to more technology in their pocket than was used in the first Apollo rocket. The key is to set boundaries and talk to your kids. Explain that the “private” video your kid shot of her backside in a thong is not only unacceptable, it could also be viewed by authorities as child porn depending on who it was sent to. If you”re the recipient of those images (even if you THINK they are deleted), you could also get you in trouble with the law.

Lastly, consider using one iCloud account for app purchases, with a password that only you know. This can prevent teens from downloading such ridiculous apps like Snapchat or Facebook poke all together.

What are your thoughts on these apps? Are you familiar with them? We”re here to help.

17 Jan

Trust, Truth and What to Make of Te’o

Mike Koehler Content, Entreprenuer, Featured, life, social media Tags: , , , , 0 Comments

My thoughts on Manti Te’o case:

The web has changed the way we think about relationships. Who “our friends” are is different than a few years ago, when a thin connection and a couple of online chats didn’t constitute something to be thought of as a real friendship.
Of course, as may or may not be the case with T’eo, truth and identity has changed because of the web. I could go online right now and create the life of a college co-ed. She could have a Twitter and a Facebook account. I could fill in a random high school, stock it with photos that are just a right-click away. Then I could find a chat site and become that person. Behind this monitor, anyone can become anyone.
Whether Te’o was in it or no just speaks to the overall notion of what the online world has done to “truth”. Remember, today is also the day that Lance Armstrong is speaking. How much Te’o knew and when he knew it is caught up in the flow of information between him, the girlfriend/hoaxer and the media waiting to spread a good story.
Finally, that’s where I feel the strongest in all of this. This shows the continuing flux of movement beneath the feet of the media, as it grew from a feel-good story that made for great (albeit shallowly reported) pieces on ESPN, to something that was “a Deadspin story” into a time of self-reflection for those reporters who were taken in by what may have been a massive con by someone who almost won the Heisman.
In a way this story both hurts and helps our trust in what we see online. It should make more people skeptical about whether a drama or tragedy that sounds too-good-to-be-true is, but it should also show us that sites like Deadspin, which lure us with lurid, linkbait headlines every day are also close enough to the web to understand it and report on it.


15 Jan

Instagram and Advertising: How Will it Evolve for Marketers

Allie Carrick Content, Facebook, Featured, Instagram, Marketing, social media, the internet is great 0 Comments

Facebook-owned Instagram app capitalizes on the fact that people love visual media. This free smartphone app allows users to upload and edit personal photos, then view and comment on other users images in a real-time feed. Instagram differs from other social platforms because it’s exclusive to mobile. Instagram doesn’t accommodate desktop publishing. Users are able to choose if their photo feeds are public or private.

Trial and Error

In December, Instagram announced big privacy and terms of service changes. This week they sent out a reminder email to users that the changes go into effect Saturday, January 19. Backlash followed the initial announcement because the original revision claimed perpetual rights to sell users’ photographs without notifying or compensating a photographer. Under that policy, Facebook could license all public Instagram photos, past or present, to other companies, including for advertising purposes. This would make Instagram the world’s largest stock photo agency.

After a public outcry, Instagram changed their tune and announced that the policy change wouldn’t be so drastic anymore after user feedback. In a blog on their site, Instagram Co-Founder Kevin Systrom stated they had no intention of selling users photos and acknowledged user-uploaded pictures are not Instagram property. However, Instagram is exploring how advertising will be integrated into their platform and once they’ve decided concretely what they’re going to do, they’ll announce official plans to the public.

To me, it seems like the company thought the initial policy change wouldn’t make people happy, but they’d accept it, like other controversial Facebook terms of use policies introduced in the last few years. Facebook told users they could delete their profile, but they could never fully remove information from Facebook archives. That policy change caused a stir, but people got over it essentially. Not the case with this failed Instagram policy.

The Momentum
The app gains a new member every second and hosts over one billion user-uploaded photos. It’s one of the fastest social platforms to reach 100 million members. It took Facebook four years to reach 100 million users and Instagram reached the milestone in a little over two years. The average Instagram user spent 257 minutes accessing Instagram in August (All Things D). Twitter users over the same period only accessed the site for 170 minutes.If you’re looking to manage an Instagram account on a computer, check out Statigram. This French-designed tool allows users to view, promote, manage, analyze and engage other users on Instagram. This tool provides free profile, content and engagement statistics similar to Klout, but with more useful options. You can add a tab to your Facebook fan page that will display your Instagram feed, create a photo gallery widget for your website, launch photo promotion contests and create a patchwork Facebook cover photo filled with photos from your Instagram profile.

More Questions Than Answers
Instagram is looking for ways to maximize advertising profits and marketers have to keep an eye on how this issue will evolve in coming months. Systrom basically expressed that Instagram is trying to find a way to piggyback off of Facebook sponsored posts, but they need to find an Instagram spin for it. They want to gain from business promotion, but have to find a way to not alienate its average user base.New policies could benefit or harm your brand’s promotional efforts on the app. As always, Smirk New Media will keep you updated on how Instagram advertising expands. Until we know more, Instagram is a force to be reckoned with and every brand should explore if they could be effective on Instagram.

08 Jan

Real-time Scandals: The Benefits of Social Media Training

Allie Carrick Content, Featured, life, OKC, Oklahoma, Small Business, SmallBiz, social media, social media policy, Twitter Tags: , , , , , , , 0 Comments

Social media provides so many opportunities to connect with the public instantly. The downside of the positive opportunities is the possibility for instant embarrassment.

Twitter isn’t the top used social media network, but could arguably be the most powerful. Reckless personal use of this platform has caused politicians to resign, gotten a Greek triple-jumper banned from the London Olympics and lead to the firing of a Chrysler marketing executive.

It’s obvious that in a moment, with a careless decision, a bad post on social media networks could negatively affect your life or brand. Posts can be deleted, but not always forgotten.

In the Chrysler case, a marketing executive was fired after tweeting an expletive filled rant about Detroit’s driving issues. Chrysler has just released a new marketing campaign promoting its made in Detroit status and the controversial was the exact opposite of its branding message.

Simply, think before you post. But, it can’t be that simple because if it was possible for people to just change behavior, they would. The larger conversation is that social media training is now necessary in the workplace.

Implementing a code of conduct will protect some employees from themselves. Negative actions on social media are usually dealt with after the fact. Your employees must understand their behavior is a reflection of your brand. With any behavior correction, the punishment can’t effectively prevent embarrassing behavior without a warning.

Social media training doesn’t have to be approached as a negative experience. It’s an opportunity to understand the dynamic of personal social media use before committing an action that can’t be reversed.

Nothing is truly private in the digital age.

Smirk New Media offers social media training services that can be tailored to individual situations. Let us know how we can help you.

07 Jan

Why Smirk?

Mike Koehler life, Mike Koehler, Small Business Tags: , , , , , , , 0 Comments

I often get asked about why Smirk New Media is called Smirk New Media. Here’s a quick origin story:

After trying a bunch of very stiff and “business-y” names on for size, my wife and I looked at each other and said it was time to just get real with the name of my new social media consulting business.

Smirk New Media was born in 2010, letting people know the attitude we had and the business we were in. Social media has always been the intersection of a punchline and a very serious way to connect with your customers.

Smirk – that intersection of a grin and a grimace – fit perfect.

04 Jan

5 business tips for my jean-shorted, 21-year-old self

Mike Koehler Content, Entreprenuer, Featured, life, Mike Koehler, Small Business, SmallBiz Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

Becoming an entrepreneur late in my career – after 15 years in print journalism – I had a dearth of business knowledge that I had to catch up on really quickly. So there's lots of advice to offer my 21-year-old English major self.

03 Jan

There is no viral button

Mike Koehler Content, Featured, Mike Koehler, SmallBiz, social media, the internet is great, YouTube Tags: , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

As much as we’d all like there to be, there is no viral button on the internet. You can’t make a video which you think is clever and turn it into a worldwide meme. The right things need to happen in the right order for your cat to be the next Grumpy Cat or for your business to become the next Ojai Taxidermy.



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