Category Archives: User Engagement

Winning Strategies Focus on the Three R’s of Content Marketing

Have you ever noticed that when you see a McDonald’s, typically you will also see a Burger King? Or when you see a Target, odds are a Walmart is in close proximity? With brick and mortar brands, this is visually obvious, but the same coincidence is true when it comes to online space. Type in the keywords for your brand and you’ll notice that you might appear in the search results, but so do your closest competitors.

A little competition is actually a good thing. It gives brands a benchmark to compare or strive toward. It also provides consumers with choices. That’s right, I actually said that consumer choice is a good aspect of competition. A healthy bit of competition serves as a natural reminder for brands, forcing them to consistently have a gut check, evaluate current positioning and offerings, and push toward product enhancements.

While competition can be great for creating product roadmaps and defining consumer demand, it does make the landscape a bit more treacherous for online content marketers. Have no fear – we have three rules of content marketing that will steer your content marketing efforts toward search results success.

Roulette Anyone?

One of the biggest hurdles for any content marketer is to figure out how to create pieces that are not only interesting but also entertaining. One of the best ways to achieve this goal is to make it fun – take it back to grade school and make it a game. Get consumers involved through a game of chance…a game of roulette.

Don’t leave the reputation of your brand to chance but rather make the involvement of your consumers exciting by engaging them in a way that they’ll never be completely sure what they’ll get. Make your message the surprise.

An excellent example of this is the new Doritos campaign, which is aptly named Doritos Roulette. This incredibly creative campaign has chip lovers across the globe rushing to purchase the mixed bag of regular Doritos with a handful of extra spicy ones in order to play the game for themselves. And word is spreading like wildfire on Vine and YouTube as consumers film their games and share their experiences.

By creating something that is fun and engages consumers in such a way, Doritos has established a campaign that is self-feeding with a message that is spreading virally and organically across cyberspace.

Rivalry Develops Advocates

Rivalries are a staple of our everyday lives through athletic teams, hometown cities and our brand preferences. New York vs. New Jersey, University of Texas vs. Oklahoma University, Pepsi vs. Coke – it’s something that is ingrained in our culture.

So why is this the key to content marketing? Glad you asked! These rivalries are key drivers for creating brand advocates. Think of how many times your grandparents preached about the dependability of a Buick as you were growing up or how many times you found yourself buying the maximum amount when your favorite but slightly more expensive brand, Tide, went on sale. Brands can become such a part of our lifestyles that, as consumers, we do a great deal of storytelling in hopes of swaying others on behalf of our favorite brands.

This natural tendency of rivalries helps create some of the strongest brand advocates. As content marketers, it is our job to fuel the fires of rivalry, providing our advocates with additional ammunition and publicly thanking them when they take a stand on our brand’s behalf.

Recognition Is the End Result

Want to increase your brand’s organic reach without spending a fortune? Recognize your consumers. This gesture of recognition often instills a sense of pride and provides a natural motivator for increased word-of-mouth advocate marketing.

You see this in restaurants all the time – a menu board full of sandwiches named after the store’s more famous and/or loyal patrons. Domino’s recently took this cue and created an app that allows customers to not only customize their pizza but also name it, and they can even earn money for local charities when other consumers order one of their creations.

Not only does this give consumers a chance for the public spotlight, it also allows Domino’s to put themselves in a position of charitable giving within individual communities, giving consumers even more reason to pledge their loyalty to the brand and return again and again.

Creating a Game Plan for Your Brand

The first step to any journey is always the hardest. At Haley Brand Intelligence, we’ve helped hundreds of brands create roadmaps for success with their content marketing strategies. If you’re ready for your brand to get into the game, contact Haley Brand Intelligence and let us guide you to a winning strategy.

 

5 Ways to Weave Your Brand’s Story in 140 Characters

twitterbusinessCreating strong online social presence means your brand needs to participate in all of the top platforms, including Twitter. Too many brands shy away from Twitter, not understanding the potential impact the platform can have on an online marketing strategy.

With almost 300 million users, Twitter has become one of the most effective means of getting your message out to an expansive audience. When Twitter is coupled with a comprehensive content strategy, the impacts are truly limitless! But how do you take your brand’s story and negotiate it down to 140 characters and still keep the message impactful?

Here are five ways to stand out on Twitter with an impactful and retweetable brand story:

1.    140 Characters Is the Limit – But 100 Characters Should Be Your Goal

If you want to increase your retweet power (i.e., the ability for someone to share your tweet with others via their Twitter stream), then don’t max out your character counter. When something gets retweeted, Twitter adds “RT” to the tweet – so leaving a little padding will give the would-be retweeter the room they need to share your full message with the world.

Without this space, part of your message will be cut off and removed in order to provide the needed space to add the “RT.”

Leaving a bit more room also gives you future retweeter space to add a comment.  The comment allows them to make it more personal, therefore appealing to their audience and giving your tweet new life.

2.    Incorporate Extra Tweet Power #hashtagpower

There is a time and place for hashtags – and that place is Twitter! Adding an appropriate hashtag to your tweet can not only extend your tweet’s keyword impact, it can also provide an additional avenue for your brand’s personality to come through.

To create a powerful hashtag, keep the following in mind:

–       Avoid using too many words together #toomanywordsishardtofollow

–       Limit yourself to one hashtag per tweet #hashtagoverloadisnotcool

–       Don’t use the same tags in every tweet #learntobecreative

3.    Engage Your Audience With a Question

You have over 300 million users at your disposal, so don’t miss this opportunity – engage them in a conversation. Yes, a conversation! You really can have a meaningful conversation and develop a connection with your target audience in 140 characters or less.

With a question in your tweet, you are opening up the opportunity for your audience to engage with you directly. Considering opening lines like:

–       “How many people…?”

–       “Which of our products do you…?”

–       “Did you ever wonder why…?”

–       “Why did you purchase our…?”

–       “Ever notice that…?”

4.    Everything You Learned in English – Use It Here

Just because some celebrities don’t use proper grammar or punctuation in their tweets doesn’t mean your brand should follow suit. Even if you share the same target audience as the world’s top Twitter users, don’t pick up these habits. Stay true to your brand’s personality and have fun, but do it while incorporating the basic rules and standards of the English language.

Embrace Spell Check; ask your copy editor for assistance; and if all else fails, friend your high school English teacher on Facebook and ask her for advice.

5.    Be Original – Be Yourself

Of all the tricks of the trade for being successful on Twitter, this is by far the more important. You want to stand out from the crowd? Then be true to yourself…be true to your brand.

Don’t just put the same tweets out there that everyone else does. Let your brand’s personality show through in every tweet you send out. Being unique and authentic will go a long way with the end user and will not only stand out but odds are will become something they connect with and share with others.

As you can tell, just tossing out a tweet from time to time can clearly do more harm than good. In order to get the most impact, you need to think strategically and follow a few basic rules. Once you experience the benefits of a well-crafted Twitter strategy, we’re sure you’ll never be careless in your tweets again.

Ready to talk strategy and take your brand’s story to the next level?  #tweetagoodgame  Then contact the Haley Brand team and let us show you how to launch your tweets into super-cyber stardom.

Spark Social Media Engagement With Brand Storylines

Spark Brand StorylinesYou’ve read the blogs and downloaded the apps. You post content to your social media pages on a daily basis.  The problem is, you’re seeing little, if any, traction. Odds are, you’re falling into the same trap as countless other brands that attempt to manage social media as a one-way push of information instead of a two-way conversational opportunity.

One-way conversations on social media do not cultivate vibrant, purposeful conversations with your consumers, nor do they serve as an avenue for building brand advocates. However, when you change your game plan and open up your daily posting activity to two-way conversation starters, you’ll spark engagement with your consumers and light a fire under your social media strategy that will grow and grow.

Brand Storyline Conversations

It’s so easy to ignore a brand that doesn’t engage with you, but it’s hard to ignore a brand that strikes up a conversation with you. Conversations build relationships, demonstrate what sets your brand apart from the others, and keeps your brand top-of-mind with consumers.

Brand storylines take the conversation from general to something very specific – storylines create two-way conversations that revolve around a brand’s offerings, brand lifestyle and core values. It’s a great way to engage users and to discover what they truly think about your brand and where they’d like to see you take your product roadmap in the future.

Elements of a Brand Storyline

What makes brand storylines so effective is that they are crafted to connect with and focus the conversation with your target audience specifically around your brand. It’s subtle and, if done correctly, won’t come off as a commercial or marketing blurb.

A brand storyline is comprised of three essential elements:

  1. Expertise: It’s a topic you and your team know well and draws from your company’s core expertise.
  2. Strong Opinions: It’s a topic your company is passionate about. You can take a stance on it and boldly share your opinions.
  3. Point of Sharing: The topic resonates with your target market and encourages others to participate in the conversation.

As with anything, craftsmanship matters. If any elements are missing from the social media strategy architecture, much like a three-legged stool with only two legs, it won’t be useful and will fail to achieve the end goal.

Spark Your Social Media Engagement

Most companies today have some sort of online social media presence. However, to stand out, your brand needs to go further – you have to find ways to spark engagement and keep your brand top-of-mind with your target audience.

Brand storylines shift the customer experience from a one-way marketing pitch to a two-way conversation wherein you are able to plant the seeds of a relationship. And after all, relationships are the core of any fundamental business development strategy.

So, what conversations can your brand spark within your marketplace? Defining those conversations and creating strategies that will ignite and engage your target audience is what we do at Haley Brand Intelligence.

When you’re ready to create your brand storylines and spark two-way conversations for relationship and business success with your consumers, contact the team at Haley Brand.   We’ll design a social media storyline of success for your brand!

Know the Elements of a Twitter Strategy for Success

Twitter StrategyOver 85 percent of today’s Fortune 500 companies are active daily in social media, and of that group over 73 percent have Twitter accounts. To stay on top and garner the most impact of their social endeavors, these brands have carved out entire positions and teams who do nothing but focus on social media and online brand marketing interactivity on their behalf each day.

Smaller brands face a different challenge when it comes to social media engagement, as they typically cannot afford to hire entire teams to drive their social media engagement, so they must maximize and streamline their daily efforts.

Believe it or not, Twitter has turned out to be a bit of a secret weapon for smaller brands. Not only does Twitter put you in front of a larger audience you may otherwise have not reached, it also has a direct impact on your search engine rankings and performance.

Know Your Audience Demographics

To get to the heart of things, if your target audience demographics are on the younger side of the population, then being on Twitter is a no-brainer…it’s an actual must.

Recent studies have shown those most active on Twitter are those who find themselves in the 18-24 and 30-49 age range groups. If half or more of your user base or target audience falls within either of these two age groups, then Twitter needs to be a long pole in your marketing tent.

Know Your Competitor’s Strategy

Take time to get to know what your competitors are doing on Twitter. If your competition has been successful in building their social media audience, then learn from them.

Take a bit of time to review their Twitter pages. See if there is anything they do that is working that you could improve on and implement into your own strategy. Compare them all and decide on what you could do on Twitter that would help you stand out from them.

Know the Value of Daily Activity

Unlike the content on your site, to develop credibility and a consistent following, daily activity is a requirement on social media for long-term success. The less known or understood aspect of daily activity comes with the concept of “being in the right place at the right time.

Specifically, Tweeting at a bad time, when none or less than the majority of your target audience is online or active, is futile. Unlike other platforms, if they aren’t there when your Tweets hit the wall, odds are they won’t see the message.

There are three options available here:

  1. Block time on your calendar to work on Twitter manually a few times a day. The trick to this method is that you can’t miss your window of opportunity – if you do, then your efforts might be wasted.
  2. Use a social media management tool to schedule your Tweets to post automatically throughout the day or week. This way, you only need to set aside time once a week to schedule all of your social media posts for the week and then allow the tool to push out the content at the right time. Of these two, especially for a smaller brand with limited resources, this is obviously the best option, as it will maximize both your time and effort to the cause.
  3. Work with a marketing agency that not only understands the importance of social media engagement but the value in online brand marketing.

Know the Value of Experience

For so many brands, having the expendable time to focus on understanding their target audience and the intricacies of the art of social media is a luxury few can afford. That’s where understanding the value in incorporating the experience of others comes into play.

The Haley Brand Intelligence team has years of proven social media strategy and execution success. When you’re ready to move your brand into the realm of social media, contact Haley Brand and let us create a social strategy that will allow your brand to stand out from the crowd and flourish online while you spend time focusing on the other aspects of growing your business.

Ace Your Content Marketing Game to Drive Higher Traffic

The world of content marketing is an unglamorous and sometimes unrewarding place. We spend hours poring through analytics to determine high-performance keywords and the online habits of our target audience in order to create better and stronger blogs, press releases and emails. You write, rewrite and send your content off to editorial. Once cleared, you send your hard work out into the world…and then you wait.

online_traffic

Hours and days go by and you begin the slow process of analysis; watching and studying in order to see just how accurate your original planning was and how appealing others find what you have created. You have now entered the hardest part of being a content marketer – evaluation. Writing can be so personal for many, so waiting to see what others think and determine how well it performed can be agonizing.

But then the stats come in and you see you were on track. After a quiet moment of celebration, you begin the process again by creating new content that will build on the moment of this most recent piece.

And thus is the day-to-day reality of so many content marketers. But how is it that some brands appear to have figured out the secret sauce of social media success while others still struggle to create content that performs well and connects with their target audience?

The truth of the matter is that the road to social media success is different for every brand. Every brand has its own unique map to success. The key ingredient to their secret sauce, though, is that they understand how to read the cryptic feedback and directions they are receiving from their analytics and turn them into a championship guide for brand content marketing success.

Grab Your Caddy and Hit the Links

Believe it or not, content marketing is the golf game of online user engagement. Some days, your game is off and your content fizzles away into the black hole of cyberspace. Other days, you continue to hit hole-in-one after hole-in-one with content that delivers a punch and expands your reach through viral, grassroots efforts. It’s this success, just as in golf, that keeps us coming back for more.

Content marketing is a game of patience and one that we must practice daily. It’s not just something where you can pick up a club for one day and simply expect to automatically remain under par. It takes practice and commitment. It takes an appreciation for the game. It takes years of working with and understanding the course.

Over time, just as with golf, your understanding of the game will increase and your performance will improve, garnering you better page rankings and a stronger online reputation.

Appreciate the Best Practices of the Game

While you’ll never have a guarantee that your content will go viral, there are things you can do that will ensure a better performance and increase the longevity of your pieces. Following these tried and true tactics is the first step to any successful plan:

  • Know your target audience – Take time to get to know your target audience, where they hang out and what their “hot button” topics are. This will guide you in creating a roadmap for your brand’s content strategy.
  • Freshness is key – Ensure you’re putting out new content on a steady and consistent basis. Your audience will come to expect it and look for it, and your rankings in the various search engines will rise.
  • Variety is the spice of life…and content marketing – Mix up your formats and spread your brand message via blogs, emails, videos and infographics. This gives your content additional channels to travel and increases your probability of sharing.
  • Let your audience be heard – Add social sharing icons to your content to make it easier for users to share, but also include an avenue by which they can respond directly to you. Let them share feedback on your content, your brand and your products. This not only gives them the chance to connect with your brand, but it will also give you insight into what products and services your audience is seeking.
  • Know your game stats – Review your content performance on a daily basis and work with your team to adjust your strategy on a monthly or weekly basis so your game stays fresh and on target.

Is Your Brand Ready for Your First Set of Clubs?

Being able to perform well in the game of content marketing requires skills and a deep knowledge of the game. Just as with golf, working with a pro from the start will help your brand to develop a strong swing and appreciation for the game.

The Haley Brand Intelligence team is full of pros – we’ve studied user behavior and engagement for years; we’ve practiced our swing so that we are able to hit consistently long drives down the online fairways; and we know how to drop it in for putt. Wherever you want your brand’s game to go, Haley Brand Intelligence can provide the guidance to get you there.

Does Facebook Make the Right Connections for Your Brand?

Midyear is here and it’s time for many brands to step back and evaluate their social media performance for the first half of the year and adjust as needed for the remainder. Facebook, a longtime requirement for most successful brands, has had a year of ups and downs already, causing many to question its value in a brand’s social media portfolio.

Facebook now has over 1.28 billion active users and more than 30 million brands with some sort of a presence on the site. With that many consumers available in one place, Facebook is a marketer’s dream.

Here are a few facts and stats to keep in mind while your brand evaluates and plans for the remainder of 2014.

  1. More than 19 million of the businesses on Facebook have optimized their Fan Page for mobile. Considering 399 million Facebook users use mobile on a monthly basis, if you want to compete, your brand should do the same.
  2. Facebook ads now command a 122 percent higher price tag per ad unit than they did just a year ago. Brands spent $2.66 billion on Facebook advertising last quarter, which is an increase from $2.27 billion the previous quarter.
  3. 829 million people use Facebook on a daily basis, an increase from 802 million last quarter. In comparison, Instagram is only used by 200 million people each month.
  4. The average Facebook user spends 40 minutes a day on the platform. That’s a lot of opportunity for any brand.
  5. Facebook users bought $234 million worth of virtual goods and gifts on Facebook over the last quarter.
  6. Why is it important to consider video on Facebook? Because twice as many people now watch videos on Facebook in their feed compared to just six months ago.
  7. There are over 1 billion searches performed on Facebook each day. With those kinds of numbers, shouldn’t your brand be part of the search result?

Despite the competitive landscape, Facebook continues to outperform market expectations in both revenue and user engagement, which ensures that it’s still one of the top social media darlings and a must-have for any brand’s online marketing portfolio.

Build a Strong Social Media Brand Presence

With all the competition out there, creating a presence for your brand is not only more important than ever, but ensuring you stand out is now trickier than ever.  The Haley Brand Intelligence team knows how to create brand social excitement online.  Wherever you want your brand to go online, Haley Brand Intelligence can provide the map to get you there.

Does Your Brand Tell a Story or Nah?

Today’s online marketers now understand the importance of creating stories, not just campaigns, that not only weave a tale of history and purpose about their brands, but that stand out and connect with consumers via a more personal social media marketplace. This emerging strategy is visible in just about every industry and resets the bar for online consumer engagement.

With so many examples of the phenomenal success of this new strategy, we are forced to wonder why more organizations aren’t structuring their own strategies and issues as stories versus continuing to pursue the dying art of campaign and old-school commercial marketing?

A Case of a Viral Success Story

zayuum-you-gotta-bae-or-nahWhere did you come from and what do you stand for have always been essential elements of a brand’s history, but the story a brand tells is more about the message, context and emotional triggers it uses to connect with its target audience. If you want to see a successful case of a story that connects, just spend a few minutes watching the videos of Nash Grier, a Vine.com sensation who has created a cult following on a global scale.

Wait – a teenager posting online videos is our case study? Yeah! What Nash did was simple – he cracked the code of online social media and created a viral story, which he tells through quirky short videos. His ongoing story and his message are authentic and entertaining, continually forming an emotional connection with teens through personal excerpts from his daily life.

Through his story, Nash turned himself into a brand – a brand that many companies now believe in enough that they sponsor his YouTube channel and provide him with products and apparel to pitch on their behalf. Even more ingenious is how Nash turned one very highly watched and shared video into his own commercial success. His “You Gotta Bae or Nah?” video has now become his signature calling card and is a slogan available for purchase on everything from t-shirts to iPhone covers on his website.

What Nash did was to be authentic – telling his story instead of pitching a commercial. His followers believed in what he was saying and connected to it emotionally enough that they did the work of expanding his social reach for him. This is a true success story in how a story should work online.

You Got a Story or Nah?

A brand story that is true, authentic and engaging will make the paradigm shift from traditional marketing to consumer engagement successfully. When a story connects with its audience, it becomes sharable. Statistics prove that brands with sharable content are seen by others as being more trusted. Brands with a sharable story become more trusted, with a message and following that are more organically created through brand advocates and become brands with stronger sales and growth.

Haley Brand Intelligence is a leader in crafting unique, entertaining and authentic stories that enable brands to stand out among the pack and create an organic following of true brand advocates and supporters.

Tips for Creating Better Brand Content

Brand content as a term differs largely from other forms of content creation, in the way that it is designed to build brand consideration and affinity rather than to directly sell a product or service. Though there is only a fine line of difference between brand content and the traditional content creation, when done right brand content marketing tends to build trust, appreciation and loyalty among the consumers and the brand.

A multipronged approach works best while creating the right brand marketing campaign:

Identify and Categorize Consumer Segments

Identifying and categorizing consumer segments within your target audience helps create the right branding content topics for each specific marketing campaign. Understanding these segments within your audience also allows you to better understand your target audience and cater your content, promotions and social engagements toward them.

Build the Brand Around Trust

The biggest commodity from any brand marketing campaign is a loyal following. Educational, fresh, targeted content that offers complete transparence is a key driver in creating brand loyalty online.  Consumers don’t want to be told what to do, but rather, why the product or server is better and how it can make their lives easier.

Open two-way conversations on blogs and social platforms allow the user to engage with your brand.  This practice will extend the life of your content and give consumers true insight into your brand and the type of customer service they can expect.

Relevant and Entertaining Content Is Key

Creating content that adds value, but also entertains, is hugely important to any successful online brand content campaign. Content deemed entertaining, truly educational or thought-provoking is more likely to be shared by consumers. The effects of sharing can increase a brand’s reach exponentially.

Create, Measure and Sustain  

The role of a brand content marketing campaign does not end with a single one-way push of content. Continually interacting with consumers online and measuring feedback and performance are critical in judging a campaign’s performance and in guiding future content.

Research, constant innovation and content evolvement, driven by a healthy dose of creativity, hold the key to a successful brand marketing campaign that could surpass even the most ambitious expectations.

Become a Brand SEO Major Leaguer

12426119_sWhat’s the secret to notable SEO brand success? Is it luck? Science? Voodoo? Do you need some special superpowers or advanced technological expertise to become a notable hotshot? Actually, not really – you just need to understand the rules of the game.

Content marketing is one of the best ways to achieve more visibility for your company in search engines. And something as simple as a well-crafted blog and monthly newsletter can give you an opportunity to differentiate your product in a crowded market and connect with customers online.

For many marketing teams, terms such as SEO copywritingkeyword research, and creating clickable headlines is a process that can seem mysterious and overwhelming. Fortunately, it’s all very simple to create once you understand the concepts around content that ranks well in search engines.

Keywords Are, Well, Key!

It might seem a bit counterintuitive, but just because you’re selling a “blender” doesn’t mean that’s what your customers are looking for exactly. To benefit from online content, understand what the keywords for your products and services are. In this case, the keywords would include something like: blender, mixer, mixing stand, kitchen tools, etc. You have to know all the ways your customers, and potential customers, might go about searching for your product or service.

After you know the words and phrases, then it’s time to incorporate them in a way that the search engines will be able to find them. The more they find in what is considered to be “fresh content” (i.e., content that has been posted recently and isn’t the same thing over and over), the better your ranking results.

There are three easy ways to incorporate your keywords and phrases into your site in order to impact your rankings:

  • Whenever you incorporate a keyword or phrase into your blog, newsletter or social media content, embed a hyper-link (like this) to the product or service on your website. With this technique, not only the word, but the link to your site, plays a huge role in impacting your search results.
  • Incorporate keywords and phrases into your page metadata. This counts as separate content and is something the search engine web crawlers automatically look for.
  • Get the content out there! Newsletters are great, but they won’t help your search rankings and count in your content scoring unless you promote it via the web. Have a page on your website for items such as newsletters, emails, and special offers. Then promote these content pieces via social media. This will not only give you a list through keywords, but the links back to your site will substantially impact your overall ratings.