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.
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.”
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.
470 million people have profiles on LinkedIn. LinkedIn was founded 15 years ago and has transformed as a company and platform through updates, CEO changes, Microsoft’s acquisition and transitioning from an all online website to an application.
Lennon Patton, Smirk’s director of sales, is an active LinkedIn user.
“As a digital marketer, I am excited about having a platform with a business focus that will be able to deliver better metrics. Some of the industries that Smirk creates strategies for are better served by the business focus that LinkedIn brings to the social media world,” said Patton. “Creating a better user experience should result in much better and more sophisticated ad delivery. This is a smart move by LinkedIn.”
LinkedIn introduced a new update for the desktop version of their site today. It will be more accessible with a straightforward layout. The features you know and love won’t change, but LinkedIn is adding some new user-friendly components to simplify their experience.
One of the more exciting new features is pop-up messaging boxes. Chatbots have been introduced, almost like a wingman, they will help you break the ice with whomever you are private messaging. When you receive a message, on Facebook for example, the message sender and the message will show at the bottom of your screen and you can respond straight from the messaging box.
In addition to the new private messaging and design layout, LinkedIn updated their search bar and navigation. You’re now able to search by people, jobs, companies, groups and schools. Also, the platform’s navigation was reduced to seven areas: Home (Your Feed), Messaging, Jobs, Notifications, Me (your old profile page), My Network, and Search.
Smirk had early access to the redesigned company page and we’re excited for the new, more accessible LinkedIn. The first image below is a preview of the updated LinkedIn company page, and the second image is the old company pages.
“I have a dream…”
Delivered by one of the greatest orators ever, Martin Luther King, Jr., this speech still echoes the fundamental beliefs of the civil rights movement decades after it was spoken. The March on Washington, where this famous moment occurred, was one of the largest public relations events of the 20th Century. 250,000 civil rights supporters attended and the speech was live on TV and radio.
There are many valuable lessons to draw from Dr. King’s work as a human rights activist, organizer and preacher. As communicators, here is some of the wisdom we found in his work.
The most effective messages are easily remembered and repeatable. Martin Luther King spoke about dreams for years, crafting his message with similar language. For example, he spoke about his dreams in Detroit in June 1963, hitting a lot of the same talking points as the famous “I Have a Dream” speech in DC. Communicators are most effective when they identify their main points, supporting facts and emphasize them consistently across platforms.
Speak To Your Audience
Dr. King, who earned his Ph.D. from Boston University, had the “ability” to speak academically about the plight of the African-American person in a segregated America. Instead, he referenced examples that his audiences could understand. For example, he said he dreamed of the day “little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.” Dr. King spoke to people on all sides of civil rights: for, against and neutral. As his audience changed, so did his messaging and references for clearer resonance. The objective doesn’t define your message — the audience does.
Make It Personal
Dr. King often spoke about his children and his vision for their future. Most parents, no matter their race or creed, can relate to the hopes a father has for his young children. Making your message relatable can transform your audience’s viewpoint, helping them see your message through a personal lens.
Be a Connector
Effective communication is generally a two-way street. Dr. King never appeared rattled by all the external forces working against the cause — even those threatening his life. While many of us don’t face the dangers Dr. King did — when things feel out of control — communicators need to take a deep breath, be steady and provide the voice of reason. We love social media because it’s accessible, but this accessibility can create difficult situations for brands. Everyone has an opportunity to be heard. Free and open digital platforms are equalizers. Good communicators are open and responsive to both positive or negative discourse.
Oklahoma City is host to the third largest MLK Day parade in the country. The parade ran through Automobile Alley today and our team attended to celebrate with hundreds of others honoring his legacy and impact.
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.
“You can only edit a tweet if you are a verified user, meaning you have a blue check mark next to your twitter handle,” said Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, in response to another Twitter user.
For avid tweeters, tweet editing capabilities could be a game changer. On other major platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, users are already able to edit a post after it goes live. Twitter hasn’t rolled out this feature for users yet.
Allowing original tweets to be altered would require a change log, so people can see all previous edits, as Dorsey would like to keep Twitter “a public record.”
“The change log is very necessary,” said Allie Carrick, Smirk’s Managing Director. “Editing would be beneficial for fixing small errors in your text, but not the entire tweet. Don’t rewrite history.”
Below are some examples why we believe tweets deserve to be edited. Enjoy.
Hey friends, Smirk New Media is hunting for another person on our team. This time, we’d like to find a specialist in digital and social media ads – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.
Below is a job description. Hit us up if you can do it:
Digital Advertising Strategist
LOCATION: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
TIME REQUIREMENT: PT 20 Hours/Week or FT 40 Hours / Week
Smirk New Media is in search of someone with a particular set of skills.
Based on a swelling demand for digital advertising services, Smirk New Media is looking to add a campaign-running, audience-targeting, innovative ninja* to join our team in Oklahoma City. (*-You don’t have to be an actual ninja)
Our digital ad strategist is a problem-solver for our clients in the complex area of digital advertising on all social media platforms. They work on a range of projects, promoting and protecting our client’s online success with informed strategy.
Working with our senior staff, a digital ad strategist will collaborate on ad campaign strategies and will be responsible for day-to-day execution of those campaigns, focusing on how best to use client ad dollars, how to A/B test social media ads, deliver measurable results to clients and how to find the right target audiences for their messages. Bottom line: You need to know how to target a 63-year-old grandmas in Western Oklahoma who loves country music and Mountain Dew and get them to answer a call to action.
This is not a job for someone who wants us to teach them how to do this, we need people who have run campaigns and can show results.
We need a team player who can wear a wide range of hats, 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 do it 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 ad strategy trends, tools and technology
- Active accounts across key social media platforms including, but not limited to, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc
- 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 advertising strategies that meet client objectives
- Create engaging ad content specific to each social media platform
- Craft ad copy using effective practices for clients
- Stay current on the latest digital trends
- Consistently analyze account metrics on engagement and follower growth and adapt ad strategies accordingly
- Collaborate closely with our group of strategists in design, strategy, and production of social media channels
- Prepare monthly reports to update staff/clients on predetermined metrics
“What’s in it for me?”
- Work in a laid back, yet ambitious team culture with a flexible schedule
- The opportunity to work with a diverse group of clients
- Unlimited access to the Ms. Pac Man machine in our office
- Occasional donuts
To apply, please send your resume and cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor’s note: Smirk New Media has had the privilege of hosting Aung Soe Win the past few week at our offices downtown. Aung Soe Win is a journalist from Burma, who is here in the USA as part of the Professional Fellows Program. We asked him to write up a blog post talking about his background, what it’s like to be in a country which just recently got press and social media freedom, as well as his thoughts on the Sooner State. Enjoy!
By Aung Soe Win
I was born in Lamaing, a small town in southern Mon State, and left my hometown to Thai-Burma Border in late 2006, and spent about 8 years for the searches of further education and job opportunity on the border and in Thailand.
In 2010, I worked at Human Rights Foundation of Mon-land (HUFROM) gathering data of human rights abuses and writing reports. In 2012, with a scholarship from Child’s Dream Association, I started my college at the Ramkhamhaeng University, studying for multimedia journalism and marketing. After finishing my study, I returned to Mon News Agency (MNA), which is under umbrella of HURFOM, working as marketing manager and news editor.
Apart from working for MNA, I recently started a new venture, which is running a restaurant, called Rasar Non, or the Royal Taste; the menu includes Thai and local Mon foods.
And, now, I am in Oklahoma and my placement is at Smirk New Media (http://smirknewmedia.com/ ) in the Oklahoma City. With the help from my placement, I have met several different people with different backgrounds, including web developers, journalists, NGO workers, and entrepreneurs. And, my colleague Lennon Patton from the Smirk New Media, who is taking me around the city and introducing me with different people, also has marketing and sale experiences and shared with me his experiences every day.
The Sooner State and its people
It is my first time in Oklahoma and the first time in the United States. What reminded me most on my first day in the state is about the article that talks about the tribe of people called “Asu” use an animal “rac” for their needs. Yes, cars are everywhere! And, people here do not seem to have or use public transportation. But, recently I learnt that the land is so massive in the state that it makes more convenient for the locals to travel with their own cars.
It has been two weeks already in the States, and so far, I love it! The people here are generous, friendly and helpful. They like to share about their work and ideas, invite you over dinners.
Although I did not really like “American Football”, now I start liking it. And, oh, keep in mind that people here do not like to see you being late.
What is Professional Fellows Program?
It is a five-week program and hosted by the University of Oklahoma’s Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication, partnered with the U.S. Department of State, the Center for Entrepreneurship Development at BRAC University in Bangladesh, BRAC Myanmar in Burma and Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India.
The objective of the program is to inject the Bangladeshi, Burmese and Indian participants, who are mid-level emerging leaders in different working fields, including small business ventures, government, NGOs and social entrepreneurship, into working small businesses in Oklahoma and associate them with one of the America’s leading universities. It also aims to provide the participants with professional experience and training that will foster their talents and prepare them for more responsible leadership positions in their businesses, communities and society, enabling them to apply back in their countries.
What do I want to get?
During my Professional Fellows Program, my first priority is to acquire the skills and knowledge of writing a business plan, along with marketing and sale strategies. Second priority is to meet different people with different backgrounds but mainly in media sector, startups and social entrepreneurship.
Independent Mon News Agency or Mon News Agency
The company I work for, the Mon News Agency (MNA) (www.monnews.org) , founded as Independent Mon News Agency (IMNA) in 2000, is a multimedia agency. With its coverage on largely southern Burma, its media products include online news, weekly newspaper, radio [broadcasting] and video clips for TV news.
Since its inception, I had operated on Thai-Burma Border, but after the country has been reformed, the agency decided to move in the country in 2015. And, now registered as Mon News Agency, it is based in Mon State’s Capital Mawlamyine.
MNA, which has been running over the past 15 years as a non-profit, is now in transition to full profit agency. To be able to stand on its own feet and to generate regular revenues for the long term sustainability, it is now working hard and hopes for the best for this new adventure.
Media reforms and social media spotlights
Following a new government in 2010, the country unblocked international news websites, exiled news websites and YouTube.
In 2012, it lifted pre-publication censorship for the press and gave green lights to privately-owned daily newspapers and ethnic group-run newspapers to publish.
According to Reporters Without Borders, Burma was ranked at 174 out of 178 for press freedom in 2010. But, the results of political change have moved the country up to 144th place.
The number of internet users grew to 625,000 in 2014 but reached up to 11,000,000 in 2016 (according to InternetLiveStats.com and internetworldstats). At first there was only a state-run telecom, the Myanmar Post and Telecommunications (MPT), but two additional telecom companies, Telenor and Ooredoo, started in 2013, have been around the country ever since.
3G networks arrived in the country as early as 2008, under MPT operation, and there came 4G networks first by Ooredoo in May, 2016, followed by Telenor in July.
When it comes to social media platforms, Facebook reigns. In 2015, the Facebook had 4 million users in the country. But, mid-May 2016, Facebook had 9.7 million monthly active users (Amara Digital Marketing Agency), while the number of Facebook subscribers hit 11,000,000 in June 2016.
The number of mobile penetration and internet users is on the rise and in fact, the mobile penetration is expected to hit 100 percent within the next five years (according to lamplight.me).
About the Mon people and Mon State
One of the earliest peoples to reside in Southeast Asia, responsible for the spread of Theravada Buddhism in Indochina, and a major source of influence on the culture of Burma, the Mon people now mostly live in Mon State, Bago Region, Irrawaddy Delta, and along the southern border of Thailand and Burma.
The Mon language is part of the Monic group of the Mon-Khmer family, and believed to be source script of writing systems of Burmese. The national symbol is the Hongsa, Sheldrake or mythological water bird or Swan and known as Hintha in Burmese.
The culture and traditional heritages includes spiritual dances and Hongsa dance, and the musical instruments include crocodile xylophone, flute, harp, drums and gongs.
Mon State is located in southern Burma and is one of the seven states, along with the seven regions across the country. The state lies between Andaman Sea to west and Karen State to east, having a short border with Thailand to southeast.
The capital of the state is Mawlamyine, formerly known as Moulmein, and it is the sister city of Fort Wayne, Indiana, in the United States.
The State’s major products include rice, rubbers, betel nuts, and fishes, while there are also industries of paper, sugar and mining.
There are several tourist spots, while the beaches are yet exploited. Kyaiktiyo Pagoda, better known as the Golden Rock, is one of the most attractions in the state, and the visitors will be soon able to use cable cars going up to the pagoda’s compound from the bottom of the Kyaiktiyo Mount. Another popular destination is the Win Sein Tawya, which has the world’s largest reclining Buddha.
Since Mon State lies on the coast of Andaman Sea, there are beaches – yet to be exploited. One of the “fresh beaches” in the state is Kabyar Wa Beach, and located in Ye Township, in the south.
After decades of isolation, Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, has now introduced significant political and economic reforms since the quasi-civilian government took the office in 2010.
Many foreign investments projects are flowing into my country, with over 50 million people and located in Southeast Asia, while construction can be seen at every corner in major cities, especially the country’s former capital Yangon, or Rangoon.
When I started working with Smirk New Media in January 2015, I had no idea that almost two years later, I’d be a full-blown strategist on the team. Beyond that, though, I had no idea what bonds and friendships I would form, how those relationships would enact positive change in my personal growth and the invaluable ways the Smirk team would prepare me for future professional success. Here’s a (short) list of some of the things I learned at Smirk New Media:
- The obvious: account management, strategy, platforms, analytics, etc.
In the ever-changing environment of social media and digital marketing, your job is constantly changing. What works one day may not work the next, and it’s my job to stay on top of emerging trends and platform changes. As the sole communicator for small businesses, it was of the utmost importance for me to understand the responsibility that was given to me every day. With business owners busy running their business, my services can directly affect their success or failure – that’s some scary responsibility. However, knowing that your decisions have larger ramifications than your own paycheck was a sobering and motivating factor to do my best for each client. At the end of the day, knowing the ins and outs of platforms, determining a strategy, and explaining the reasoning and results for those decisions was integral to real time successes for people trusting me to allocate their limited budgets effectively. This balance of communicating with clients, executing plans to meet their goals, and show them how I did that for them each month made me more organized, more conscientious of other people, and an all-around stronger communicator.
- Valuing people above their jobs benefits everyone in the end
One of the things I love the most about Smirk is that they understand that there’s life beyond work and that sometimes people need a break. It was extremely rewarding to work in an environment that was so inherently trusting that you could determine the work schedule that fit your life the best. The ability to work from home, travel to my heart’s desire, or just have the flexibility needed for life’s unexpected events was an invaluable piece of working in a team that understands a punch clock doesn’t directly correlate to productivity. As long as you did your work well, you could do it from anywhere. That being said, it was always beneficial and worth it to go into the office for collaborative brainstorming, good company, and stress-reducing laughing throughout the days.
- It’s okay to make mistakes, as long as you’re trying to improve
I’m thankful for the forgiving mentorship of Allie Carrick, specifically for her constructive criticism, learning opportunities, and desire to help me succeed. Under her watch, I was able to learn so much more than I could alone. I’m thankful for her allowing me to have creative freedom and evaluating what worked and what didn’t and – most importantly – WHY something did or didn’t perform well.
- Use the skills you have, even if they’re not in your job description
In a small team, there are needs that may be outside of your job description. At Smirk, I was able to use my personal passions for photography and other creative outlets for the betterment of the entire team. By offering my ability to take photos or videos, I was able to grow personally in those areas while helping co-workers, and ultimately our clients. This experience taught me to go above and beyond what you’re asked because it often means the betterment of everyone’s work.
- Self- and team-awareness is essential to success
Companies are made up of people and people have strengths and weaknesses. Knowing your own strengths and weaknesses, along with your teammates’ goes a long way in communicating and working together. What works for communication between you and one of your coworkers may not be productive with others. Knowing these differences allow us to better communicate as a team and company. After all, “Teamwork makes the dream work.”
There are hundreds of millions of tweets that happen every day. Twitter wants you to be able to find the best ones with Moments.
Twitter announced that Moments is now available to users. The company tweeted, “Creators everywhere can now tell stories with tweets.”
Users can view organized, compelling tweets that have been grouped together based on where they are have been sent from or what they are about. Whether it is “sitting” on the front row of the Grammy’s, being up close at your favorite sporting event, to political rallies or debates, Moments can bring the action to your hand.
From yesterday’s funniest viral story to tomorrow’s big game, keep up in the social world with Moments. Get the whole picture of a trending topic through highlights, pictures and headlines that come directly from the event you are interested in.
Engaging with a Moment:
- • When you click into a Moment, you’re taken to an introduction with a title and description.
- •Start swiping to dive right into the story, with immersive full-bleed images and auto-playing videos, Vines, and GIFs.
- •A single tap gives you a fuller view of the Tweet, which you can favorite, Retweet, and more. A double tap lets you instantly favorite the Tweet.
- •The progress bar at the bottom indicates how much more each Moment has to offer.
- •Swiping up or down dismisses the Moment and takes you back to the guide.
- •At the end of a Moment, click the share button to Tweet your thoughts, and send it out to your followers.
Don’t know who to follow during these events? Follow the actual event. The best tweets from that event will be delivered to your timeline. This will eliminate any garbage and let you focus on the good stuff.
What if you don’t want to keep following an account after the event? When the event is done, you will automatically unfollow them. If users don’t care to follow an organization forever, but can stay in the loop during a special event.
Twitter users who aren’t huge sports fans can still keep up with the playoffs, big games, or just want to keep track of a certain game. Political debates are a great example as well. During debates, you can follow the event and after it has concluded, you will not have to deal with the aftermath.
Moments offers the ability to see things quicker, more efficiently. From personal use to big organizations, utilizing Moments can help in more ways than one.
“Many people turn to social media for their news — whether that be local, national or international. Twitter Moments fulfills that need for immediate news,” said Smirk Strategist Liz Ramirez. “If something happens in another state or around the world, we turn to the digital world to give us more info about whatever is happening.”