Month: February, 2014

27 Feb

4 Ways to Use Visual Storytelling on Facebook

Allie Carrick Facebook, social media Tags: , , , 0 Comments


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 Orlov – Founder of Compare the Meerkat

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?

Develop Community

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.

Photo: Spread the love. </p><br /><br /><p>Happy Valentine's Day!

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.

Photo Collections

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.

Photo: Learn more about the members (and familiar faces) of the CalArts class that have helped make our studios what they are today. Read more in Vanity Fair:

Fan-Generated Content

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.

Starbucks Fan

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?

26 Feb

The Latest and Greatest Social Media Statistics

Allie Carrick Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, social media, Twitter, YouTube Tags: , , , , 21 Comments

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 Hashtag Logo


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.

17 Feb

Can Small Businesses See Big Returns From Social Media?

Allie Carrick LinkedIn, Small Business, SmallBiz, social media Tags: , , 0 Comments

By: Kurtis Wiles

A new study conducted by TNS on behalf of LinkedIn found that 81 percent of small businesses (SMBs) are currently using social media to drive business growth and 94 percent are meeting marketing objectives through the integration of social media.

The study, called Priming the Economic Engine, surveyed nearly 1000 SMBs to glean insight about their industry and how implementing social media or not implementing social media has impacted their business over the past few years. Almost three out of every five SMBs say that consistent social media integration has played a key role in their business gaining new customers. Not only is there growth in new customers, but according to the study, SMBs are seeing a lot more customer interaction and engagement from existing customers – especially customers who have had positive experiences with their organization.

The fact: Businesses that have devoted themselves to integrating social media as a marketing tool have met marketing objectives through stronger customer acquisition and retention.

According to another LinkedIn study, conducted by Borrell Associates, there is a strong correlation between SMBs that have increased social media spending and those that have achieved “hyper growth.”

“Through the study, we found that SMBs that are in growth mode rely heavily on social media for multiple activities in their value chain,” said Jennifer Grazel, category head for financial services at LinkedIn.

Hyper-growth companies with significant year-over-year increases in revenue are among the most active in social media marketing, finding the most effective social media practices to include branding, word-of-mouth, lead generation and content marketing.

The fact: Increasing financial resources in social media efforts and effectively “practicing” your brand through social media often leads to successful growth – even hyper-growth in some industries.

According to the U.S. Small Business Association, seven out of every 10 new jobs are created by small businesses. To learn more about the new social media positions that will be seen in 2014 (maybe even in your own small business) click here.

04 Feb

Podcast: Smirkcast debuts with Episode 0

Mike Koehler Facebook, Podcast, social media 0 Comments

We are excited to announce the debut of Smirk New Media’s podcast, hosted by our own Allie Carrick.

Smirkcast will bring you interviews with people who are innovating and winning in the world of social media, while breaking down the trends and best practices in digital marketing.

In this first episode, Allie introduces herself, talks about the mission of Smirk New Media and dives into what kind of content Facebook is rewarding. Thanks for tuning in!

03 Feb

Smirk New Media launches Social Network Staffing

Mike Koehler Featured, SmallBiz, social media 0 Comments


OKLAHOMA CITY — Smirk New Media, one of the region’s most successful social media consulting firms, is branching out to help businesses find qualified employees for digital marketing and strategists positions.

Social Network Staffing – and its website – goes live today.

According to, 2014 will see a great increase in businesses needing and hiring full-time social media strategists. Smirk New Media’s new division will provide an efficient way to identify qualified candidates of businesses in the region. Social Network Staffing will initially serve Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas and Missouri.

Social Network Staffing will collect, review and recommend qualified applicants who can take on the job of using social media channels to effectively represent brands online.

In addition, Social Network Staffing can also work alongside the new hire with its “Running Start Program,” in which new social media strategists and their companies get help in developing social media content, digital campaigns and techniques for audience growth.

“As businesses get serious about the integration of social and digital media into how they connect with their customers, we saw a great opportunity to share our advice and expertise with them through SNS,” said Mike Koehler, CEO and President of Smirk New Media. Koehler is confident that Social Network Staffing will have a profound impact on the hiring, integrating and training of new social media professionals as they enter the business spectrum.

“In 2014, we’ve moved beyond social media-for-social media’s sake,” said Koehler. “Companies need qualified strategists who understand the depth and impact social media can have on their business. Our system of identification, recruitment and placement of training will be a win for businesses and our Running Start program will be the difference-maker for how digital marketers are hired in the region.”

Kevin Deshazo, who works as a senior strategist for Smirk New Media and has more than five years of experience in the recruiting and staffing industry, will work with businesses seeking social media help. Social Network Staffing is also forging relationships with area colleges to create a pipeline for students interested in digital marketing.

“Matching the right person with the right company is critical, especially when that person is going to be the voice of that company. We take that process seriously,” DeShazo said. “We at Smirk pride ourselves in being the bridge that connects a working culture with an individual who understands and appreciates that culture and is able to effectively portray it through social media.”

Smirk New Media was launched in July 2010 as a professional services agency focusing solely on social media and digital communication for government agencies, non-profits, brands and businesses. Smirk New Media serves its region with strategists in Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Kansas City and Springfield, Mo. With a client base of more than 30 companies, Smirk New Media helps create and implement digital strategy from Fortune 500 corporations to small businesses. Smirk New Media provides experienced and well-thought social media strategy as well as reliable service managing social media accounts. Smirk New Media allows our clients the peace of mind knowing they have consistent and relevant digital content on all of their platforms, while also having experienced consulting monitoring conversations and creating interaction.



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