Category Archives: social media

Happy Native Advertising Year!

native advertising

If you’re thinking of using promoted Tweets or Facebook stories, investing in PPC ads or creating advertorials in 2017, you’re in luck: This year is primed to be a banner one in the native advertising world.

While 2016 was the year marketers and advertisers started using native ads on a widespread level, they were still just getting their feet wet. This will be the year native advertising really blows up, and organizations and their employees will realize the true power and potential that native ads offer.

Are you already using native advertising techniques at your company? Do you want to start using them (or expanding on them) in the new year? Here’s what you can look forward to over the next 12 months:

  • Facebook and in-feed videos will expand – Though most people hate having a video auto-play on their Facebook feed or on a website, 2016 has shown that it’s actually a highly effective promotional tool … as long as the video is muted by default. That means companies are going to start using more videos with text, captions and graphics. Check out Tasty’s Facebook page to see what I mean. You can also expect to see more live and 360-degree videos, which Facebook has made popular as well.
  • Tech will make the biggest difference – Emerging technological tools will allow native ads to be more effective, easier to manage and measure, and more targetable.
  • Mobile will come first – When planning native advertising strategies, marketers are going to take a mobile-first approach in 2017, meaning they will design and test around mobile screens and tech first – not second. Visibility on traditional screens will still matter, but it will be advertising accessed on smartphones and tablets that will really be king.
  • Display advertising will drop – The heyday of display ads is over, and content will become the No. 1 way marketers and advertisers reach their target demos. In fact, this year you can expect content strategy to be the foundation on which all other marketing strategies are built.
  • In-house content will decline – More and more organizations are going to realize that creating content in-house just isn’t as effective or efficient as using a pro or agency. Expect to see more content marketing agencies crop up and for more organizations to keep content retainers with experts who really know their stuff.
  • Native ads will get more entertaining – Gone are the days where content is just meant to be informative. With the influx of content on the web, advertorials, Tweets, Facebook updates and blog posts need to be increasingly more and more entertaining to really get noticed.
  • Content will become better tailored – As the use of ad blocking software rises, advertisers and marketers are being forced to get to know their audiences better – and better tailor messaging to suit their needs. The average user can expect to see more relevant native ads as they surf the web in 2017, as long as marketers do their jobs right!

No one can foresee the future, so these are only our predictions, but no matter what happens in 2017, expect to see native advertising more and more as you browse the web. And if you’re looking to market your company or promote your services, make sure you’re educated on the latest native advertising techniques and strategies. It’s truly amazing what technology can do for connecting company and customer, and the industry is advancing daily.

Get in touch with us to learn more about native advertising or to get help creating a native ad strategy for your organization.

The Ultimate Online Branding Checklist

social media

Branding is no longer just the logo and colors you slap on your products or hang from the walls of your trade show booth. While these physical pieces of branding are still very important, they only account for a very small portion of your overall branding strategy.

The bulk of your branding? In today’s world, that’s found online.

It’s your website, your social media accounts and your email campaigns. It’s everything your customers see when they search you on Google or research your products on the web.

So take a minute to look at your online presence. Is it branded properly? What is it saying to your potential customers? Is it selling them on your company or making them run for the hills?

Go through this checklist and make sure your online branding is up to snuff – before it’s too late:

  1. A well-designed, easy-to-navigate website. Your website is going to be your first touchpoint with customers, so make it one to impress. Your site should be sleek, professionally designed and, most importantly, easy to use and navigate. Confusing menus or overly complicated designs are just going to turn users off, so keep it simple and beautiful at every turn.
  2. A well-honed voice. Just like your customer service reps have a voice on the phone, your brand needs to have a voice on the web. It should show off your personality and values as a company, and it should carry over through everything you do – your website, your social posts, your email newsletters and more.
  3. Matching social media accounts. On the web, your brand needs to have consistency so your Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and any other social accounts fall right in line with your website. They should share the same logo, have similar design schemes, and the same voice.
  4. Online customer service. The service you deliver is a big part of your branding too. It’s what makes people feel a kinship with your brand – what keeps them coming back for more time and time again. So don’t slap a phone number on your website and call it a day. Invest in online chat functionality, install web contact forms, and make getting in touch with your team a breeze. Don’t forget to also have the right staff in place to manage those contact funnels. You don’t want long queues or angry customers.
  5. Good calls to action. What’s the point of pulling in customers online if they’re not converting in some way? Make sure you have a call to action on every point of contact with a customer on the web – a product to buy, an ebook to download or at the very least a contact form to fill out. The more you interact with a customer, the more chances you have to impress them and draw them in for more business.

Want more help with your online branding? Contact the branding experts at Haley Brand Intelligence today. We’re here to help.


5 New Social Tools That Can Improve Your Brand Storytelling

brand storytellingSocial media isn’t just for marketing. Sure, you can talk about your latest sales, product releases and company news on it, but the real power of social runs much deeper than that: It tells your brand’s story.

Storytelling plays a huge role in branding. It’s what hooks people – what entices them and makes them feel like a real, meaningful part of your movement.

Though your website plays a small role in your brand’s storytelling, it’s also mostly static, simply telling how your company started, what it stands for and what you do. While that’s a great start, it’s also a one-time deal. Meaning once people visit the site, they’ve learned all they can about your story. They don’t get to hear that story continue and grow as time goes on.

That’s where social media comes in. With social media, your brand can keep telling its story over and over again – every day, in different ways, with different pictures, quotes and behind-the-scenes looks.
And best of all? Social media keeps evolving. So while using traditional platforms like Facebook and Twitter are certainly options, there’s always something new around the bend, offering you a unique opportunity to share your story with the people who care most.

Want to tell your brand’s story via social? Here are some on-trend platforms that can help:

1. Snapchat

In the beginning, Snapchat was simply a way to send quick pics of your life to friends, family and loved ones. Now, businesses across the world are using it to stay in touch with customers, share their day-to-day activities, and give behind-the-scenes looks that make them feel like a true part of the brand. Some businesses, like magazines and news organizations, create “Discover” channels, which include professionally prepared stories with graphics, written content, video and more. Others simply use the platform like any individual would – snapping pictures of products as they hit the shelves, customers in the stores, presentations, or even sharing news and updates via selfie-style videos. Either way is powerful and effective when used regularly.

2. Periscope

Live streaming really hit the ground running in 2015, and Periscope played a big role. With Periscope, you can share live video with your customers as it’s happening – include them in a big company announcement, take them on a tour of your building, or let them experience your holiday party alongside you. It’s an amazing way to make customers feel like they’re right there – taking part in everything your brand does.

3. Blab

With Blab, brand storytelling gets interactive. This unique social tool lets you include up to four faces via video – maybe your CEO and other executives, your customer service team, or just your marketing and PR people. Then, customers can log in and check out your video, asking your presenters questions, commenting and interacting with your brand as the stream is live. Give them answers, talk to them directly and get them involved in real time, right there on the screen.

4. SlideShare

Though SlideShare isn’t as interactive as the other platforms I’ve mentioned, it’s an amazing way to tell your story in a different, more long-lasting medium. With SlideShare, you can take existing blog posts (a huge part of your brand’s story) or any other content you may have and translate it into a visual, scrollable slide show. This can be embedded, downloaded, printed and saved, and customers can come back to it time and time again. Include graphs and imagery, link out to other brand collateral that’s important, and just tell your story as thoroughly and accurately as possible.

5. Hyper

You likely haven’t heard of Hyper yet, and that’s because it’s just now taking off. Like Instagram, Hyper is a photo sharing app – but it’s much stronger at connecting users with interesting content than its predecessor. Hashtags and geotags play a big role in Hyper, helping users find photos and content they’ll like or that’s in their geographic area. The app also includes a voting system that lets users weigh in on the content posted. From a brand perspective, this can be a great way to do market research, get feedback on new products or branding efforts, or just gauge general interest.

Keep your brand’s story fresh and fun by using the latest social media platforms to your advantage. Need help using these sites and apps? Want to make sure your branding’s on point? Contact the branding and marketing experts at Haley Brand Intelligence today.