Tag: social media strategy

13 Jan

The Boomerang Theory

Lauren Ashpole digital advertising, Facebook, Instagram, Social, social media, social media strategy Tags: , , 5 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

09 Aug

#ShopEdmond: Why Response Matters

Michaela Lawson Business, Content, Small Business, Social, Twitter Tags: , , , , , , ,

By Michaela Lawson

A local hashtag became the top trending topic on Twitter and even received national response on Friday amid other big ticket news items – Russell Westbrook’s extension and the 2016 Olympics Opening Ceremony to name a few.

The hashtag #ShopEdmond was besieged with responses on Twitter Friday after the lifestyle magazine Edmond Active said it had trademarked the phrase.


The Twitterverse heartily rejected this assertion, and the hashtag was used by outraged users posting everything from silly pictures to heated screeds about marketing and intellectual property law.

The long and short of the dilemma stemmed from the publisher of the lifestyle magazine Edmond Active, Sherri Hultner, trying to defend a trademarked phrase when used for marketing and advertising purposes. Hultner said the tweet was intended for businesses trying to leverage #ShopEdmond audiences for their own business without advertising with Edmond Active.

However, the tweet requesting people not to use the hashtag was seen as an attempt to keep the public from using the hashtag as well, which is what seemingly fueled the negative conversation.

“It’s not even really a hashtag that the public uses,” Hultner said in a phone interview with The Oklahoman. “It hasn’t been an issue except for three or four people grabbing it for marketing.”

Not only did the original tweet offend, though, but the initial responses between the brand and upset Twitter users – including the blocking of local reporter Brianna Bailey – caused the controversy to continue growing until was a nationally trending topic and garnered a response from the man who created the hashtag, Chris Messina.

IMG_8763Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 12.46.31 PM

Our own Mike Koehler, CEO and Chief Strategist, discussed the issue with KFOR reporter Lorne Fultonberg on Friday afternoon.

So, how could things have gone differently?

In any misunderstanding or issue involving brands, the biggest factor to a successful resolution ultimately lies in the immediate response by the brand. Here are a few things to keep in mind when responding to a crisis on any scale through social media:

  1. Step back and look at the whole picture

By allowing yourself a little bit of time to figure out the best response to whatever is happening, you automatically decrease the possibility of making the problem worse through hastily drafted responses. Allow yourself the time to have consistent, thought-out responses to defuse the situation.

Often times, having the right people in your corner can make the difference. Seeing a situation from multiple perspectives helps identify your blind spots for an overall better response. You may even need to consider having a marketing firm to consult with regularly to prevent and effectively respond to situations like these when they occur.

  1. Be upfront, honest and transparent

Own up to your shortcomings in the situation. If you said something you shouldn’t have, apologize wholeheartedly to those you upset and try to right the wrong. If there has been a misunderstanding, apologize for being unclear and reconsider your message. Understand where the outrage is coming from and address that concern directly. People are more graceful when you admit wrongdoing than trying to defend it further.

  1. Respond as quickly as possible

Once you figure out the right approach to resolving the issue, you want to respond to the problem as quickly as possible to try to get in front of the problem before it becomes overbearing in responses. Shaping your own messaging is important for being able to frame the issue correctly before someone else can write their version of your story for you.

  1. Consider what you could do differently

For ongoing issues, see if there is another viable option to resolving the problem without going to social media about the concern. For #ShopEdmond specifically, we suggest reaching out to the few brands using the hashtag without advertising with the magazine. By approaching them directly, you have the opportunity to express your concern and possible establish a relationship that would lead to a partnership opportunity with those businesses as well. The entire Twitter backlash may have been avoided using this approach.

Ultimately, if you need help in a situation like this, know who to call. Oftentimes, there is a fine balance between dealing with crises effectively and making them worse. By having a plan in place for difficult times, you are able to learn to effectively handle issues when they inevitably rise for your business.

30 Mar

So many apocalypses, so little time

Mike Koehler social media Tags: ,

You better make sure you are on Ello. And Kik. And Tinder. And Snapchat. No wait, make that Meerkat. Or probably Periscope. It’s a game-changer. They are all game-changers. AND YOU MUST BE ON THEM.

And don’t forget to make your website mobile-friendly. And optimize your spring holiday chatter. And make sure your dog is hashtagged.

If not, it’s digital marketing doomsday.

It’s been quite a few weeks in our world, not to mention a tumultuous start to 2015. Platform performance is shifting under our feet, as many of them continue to wrestle with how to meet the demands of revenue, while still innovating and, honestly, keeping shareholders and advertisers very happy. Plus, I think Mark Zuckerberg is planning to build a house on the moon, so those Facebook dollars need to keep flowing.

But it seems like the more we talk to customers as well as potential clients, things aren’t getting more complicated, they are getting more simple. There is something to be said for keeping up with the latest social media networks as well as understanding the best practices online. Digital marketing strategies are, after all, based in a world that is much more nimble and fast-paced than traditional media.

At its heart, the pulse of what we do remains the same.

I was putting together some slides last week for a presentation in Tulsa, Oklahoma and I think I finally created one that distills how we explain our process, our execution and our explanation of return on investment.

And it had nothing to do with hair-on-fire hysterics or an overwhelming amount of do-this-or-else finger-wagging. It has to do with making it easy for people to understand how social media works.


I don’t dismiss any of the ideas we’ve shared here before: That businesses benefit from teams like us to help them keep track of trends. Strategy is still at the center of everything we do and bad content is definitely bad content.

But if we treat each day like the walls are going to come down and don’t react to every tweak that happens and every feature that drops, we lose sight that we should be building content-and-customer relationships – not bunkers.

27 Feb

The thin line between brand relevancy and trying too hard

Michaela Lawson Small Business, SmallBiz, social media strategy Tags: , , , , ,

We’ve all known that middle-aged relative that tries too hard to be hip with the times. They start conversations with sayings like “the good ol’ days” and tales of “when I was your age” and frequently asking what “you kids are calling it these days.”

Some brands have crossed the line of relatable and, in doing so, became THAT middle-aged relative, making their messages something to sigh about rather than respond to.

These brands grasp at the waves of trends and end up looking like fools among the masses of millennials. Referring to your newest item as “clutch” does not appeal to the younger generation and infiltrating snapchat translates as an invasion of their privacy. Instead of following the ever-changing trends, brands need to be generating creative, yet appropriate messages that have a voice of their own.

Creating a Voice

Find a tone that communicates your brand’s items, products, services or mission effectively, while maintaining the interest of your audience. Especially if you’re not targeting teens, why would your brand sound like one? Instead of jeopardizing the loyal fan base you’ve already established, focus your efforts on catering to your niche network. Brands should not be chameleons, changing their ways to entice and fit in with every crowd. Instead, brands should own their image and be consistent with it.

Reaching Out vs. Selling Out

Being part of the trending network is not always creating trends in your messages. Brands can be an active part of conversation if their business or product is directly intertwined with the topic at hand. Consumers do not expect businesses to participate in every trending topic. In fact, most audiences get annoyed with brands that they perceive are trying too hard to insert themselves into every conversation. There’s a difference between participating in a conversation with your industry and fitting your products into trends that do not pertain to your brand at all (square peg, round hole).

Stand Your Ground

Everyone can respect a brand that knows their voice and sticks with it. No one expects an oil company to know the ins and outs of the upcoming Oscar awards. Knowing your avenues of conversation is the first step to successful relationships with audiences. Understanding the when, where and why of all messaging is essential to survival in the muddy waters of trends and slang.

Don’t be the brand that people are rolling their eyes at for referring to your product, service or customer as being your “bae.” Be a contributor of useful content, not more noise.

02 Apr

All Hail the Power of Hashtags

Allie Carrick social media, Twitter Tags: , , , 0 Comments
Hashtag Pic
According to a new study by RadiumOne, 58% of social media users use hashtags on a regular basis. Of the study participants, 71% that admitted using hashtags were women and 44% were middle-aged. By this standard, hashtags are mainstream and one of the main ways people choose to quickly explore and share content.
RadiumOne Study Graphic

A hashtag is a word or a phrase following the # symbol without spaces. Hashtags were created by Chris Messina, now a Google employee, on Twitter in August 2007. Chris was searching for a way to group conversations with his followers on Twitter. Today, Twitter and other social media platforms, like Instagram and Pinterest, have fully integrated the hashtag and it’s the easiest way to search for and find out what Twitter users are currently talking about.

While the hashtag feature has been a driving force behind Twitter’s popularity, it’s also been the cause of a $50 million lawsuit against Twitter. In October 2012, a French court ordered Twitter to reveal specific online users tweeting anti-Semitic hashtags and the social media giant refused. Following the refusal, the Union of Jewish French Students filed the $50 million lawsuit on March 20. There are French laws forbidding hate speech in any forum. Twitter contends that it’s an American based company abiding by American laws and policies.

Hashtags have the power to put posts in front of the people who will care about them.  When utilized and circulated corrected, hashtags can be a powerful force in the community. The hashtag’s true power is its ability to direct millions of eyes to one conversation. Then, allow people to interact with the conversation and spread it even further.

In March, an Oklahoma City family used Twitter and a hashtag to rally community support behind an 18-year-old cancer patient denied life saving treatment by her insurance company. The hashtag #ApproveLorelei went viral in the community and was tweeted out hundred of times by Oklahoma residents. This event compelled the insurance company to reverse their decision within 24 hours.

Recently, Facebook announced plans to possibly integrate the hashtag into its social universe. Facebook already allows users to tag themselves with people at specific places, but public posts aren’t currently indexed by keyword the way the hashtag does. Hashtags could even be searchable with Graph Search.

Brands are starting to take hashtags more seriously and integrate them into their social media strategy. More businesses need to get on board. In the study by RadiumOne, 43% of respondents use hashtags to search/follow categories and brands of personal interest. During the Super Bowl, Hyundai implemented a hashtag campaign to drive social media traffic to a video advertisement. Of those visitors, 70% of the consumers that clicked on the ad viewed the full video.

To be effective, hashtags have to simply reflect your existing branding. They have to be easily memorable and integrated into marketing material. People need to know the specific phrasing to include in a post. If the hashtag isn’t phrased or spelled correctly, it won’t be added to the larger conversation. Use your hashtag as an opportunity to make statement or bring some appropriate levity to a campaign or an event. Allow your supporters or customers to spread your messages to all of their followers.

05 Feb

A Pinterest Redesign: Subtle New and Improved Features

Allie Carrick Content, Marketing, Pinterest, social media Tags: , , , 4 Comments

Successful social media platforms have taught us complacency is digital death. I could name some names, but I probably don’t need to.

The most popular platforms are constantly evolving and striving to improve. These changes usually initiate users to verbalize growing pains, but that generally falls away and the redesigns become the norm. Most users don’t recognize this fact, but the redesigns keep people interested and help the platforms remain popular with users once newness fades.

Pinterest is the latest platform to attempt a redesign. Its new look attempts to improve upon the visual appeal that helped Pinterest become the fourth most popular social media platform in the world. The changes are subtle, but will hopefully improve the user browsing experience.

When selecting a pin today, a popup, quick view version of the pin appears in the middle of the screen. A small description, options to like or repin, the ability to comment and a small recap of the interactions the pin’s had appear.

New Pinterest 2013

In the resdesign, the visual pin is much larger. As you can see in the screenshot above, when viewing an individual pin you’ll be able to see the board the pin is posted to and thumbnails of other pins on that board. In the lower right hand corner of the screen, you’ll get thumbnails of other recommended pins from the user that originally posted the pin. The new pin is designed to encourage more exploration and effectively recommend things you might like to see by your viewing history.

Pinterest could take some cues from YouTube on supplying better recommendations to users. Ever get on YouTube to watch one video and look up from your screen hours later wondering where the time went? Pinterest is doing well in this area, but can always improve. By December 2012, the average Pinterest user spends an hour on the site. Twitter’s average user only spends 36 minutes and Facebook’s average time is only 12 minutes.

Pinterest Navigation

Pinterest upgraded their simple topic navigation at the top of the page. They’ve replaced that with a slider tab at the upper left of the page. You’re going to have the option to choose from the classic topics, pins from the people you follow and what’s popular on Pinterest.

Finally, Pinterest is looking to improve both their web and mobile interface. Their mobile app has been riddled with technical and functional issues since its inception. There is a huge disconnect between the web and mobile Pinterest experience as it is now. Designers are working on creating a seamless browsing experience on all mediums.

Pinterest released a new iPhone and iPad app update yesterday. Version 2.2 will enable you to edit and delete pins. Also, you’ll be able to delete pins on your Apple device.

At this point, all of these features are still in beta testing. Only a lucky few will experience these new features for the foreseeable feature. I hope to be one of these lucky few. Check back on the Smirk New Media blog for updates on any additional developments.

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.