The exponential rate that technology is growing is changing the industry of branding and how brands interact with their followers. With the shift to digital based marketing and the importance of native social media content, the days of old school big box Marketing and PR Agencies are numbered. These old school Marketing Agencies have relied on antiquated grassroots strategies that no longer deliver effective results. In a millennial driven digital world, brands must make a complete shift to stay relevant in a world of sophisticated consumers that are quick to drop your brand on social platforms if your brand no longer adds value.
Content is King and Paid Digital Advertising does not Deliver
When a consumer Googles a specific service or product that they have interest in, most sophisticated users consciously avoid the paid advertising in the top slots and side bar and shift their view to the organic content below. For most companies, spending hard earned marketing dollars on paid advertisements on Google is a waste of money. Content focused organic branding is now king and is the most important area for companies to now focus.
To appeal to the sophisticated consumer, native content is what most consumers are looking for. Native content is a tough pill for old school business owners to swallow. Constantly bombarding consumers with the latest product, sale and special offering is not native. Native content is articulating relevant, on-brand content is a way that resonates with the consumer and is socially calibrated. Consumers within urban markets like New York City are especially sensitive.
Here is an example of native on-brand content which would be a relevant social platform post for health and wellness brands like a juice bar or fitness center:
The reason that this type of post is considered native for a wellness brand is because it does not promote a product or service and is humorous alluding to a health orientated element. This kind of post is relevant for the wellness category and appeals to the following of that category. All too often brands that do understand the importance of native content will post pictures and content where every post is promoting their product or service—this type of sales oriented content turns off most sophisticated followers as value is not being added for them.
The Importance of a Brand's Social Voice
Great native content is about adding value for followers with content that they find interesting. A social tone that is humorous and playful has been proven to be attractive for followers. We call this social tone the "Social Voice."
The Social Voice is a vastly important component for your brand on the digital platform. The importance of the Social Voice is grossly underestimated by most brands. Too often we find that many businesses have the misunderstanding that social media is merely about posting pictures about their brand. These same businesses grossly misunderstand what their potential consumers are looking for on the social platforms. For many active social media users, a company that only posts about their services and products without native content is like only watching commercials and advertisings on television—for most this is a terrible experience and followers are sure to unfollow over time.
The Social Voice dictates the emotions that social media followers experience and is important for a brand to carefully craft their Social Voice. The process of crafting a brands Social Voice involves carefully analyzing the fundamental characteristics of a brand and evaluating their consumers. For example, the Social Voice of a high-end jewelry company should be elegant, descriptive and sophisticated while the Social Voice of a hip East Village Juice Bar should be health orientated, playful and cool.
Enhancing SEO with Targeted Keyword Blogging
Blogging is an amazing tool to leverage targeted keywords and enhance Search Engine Optimization, SEO. Most SEO companies that claim they will enhance your brand's ranking in the search engines tend to be located outside the US, where you are essentially buying inferior backlinks that are not an effective use of marketing dollars for any company. Search engines like Google and Bing now penalize companies for weak backlinks that have no relevance to your brand's category. If the branding company you are using claims to offer SEO and does not help you write quality keyword targeted content in the form of blogging, then they are most likely wasting your time and money.
Google Adwords offers an amazing tool called the "keyword planner" which is great to help you identify keywords with relevance to your business that have a high monthly search rate. This tool enables you to geolocate these high volume keywords within the surrounding area your business is located. Once the targeted high volume keywords are identified for your business, these targeted key words should be integrated into your blog topic and used throughout the blog. Here is an example of the keyword planner in action:
Above is screenshot of the Google AdWords keyword planner tool being used to identify specific keywords for branding. In the above screenshot, we are geo-locating the top keywords about branding in New York City. The average number of monthly searches are displayed as well as the level of competition ranked from low to high. The average number of monthly searches are an excellent indicator of how popular your target keywords are. The keywords with the highest monthly average searches and also the keywords with the lowest competition are excellent keywords for your brand to target.
Search Engine Optimization Tool
Another great tool to use is an application called Moz. Moz is an SEO tool that displays the number of links search results that websites have and Moz also ranks websites on their own scale. In addition, Moz also analyzes the links. We recommend using the Moz SEO extension in the Google Chrome browser which makes it easy to assess search results for your targeted keywords in Google. Here is an example of the Moz SEO tool in action:
You can see in the above screen shot the number of active links that each site has. You can also see the PA score, which is the Moz rating system which allows you to easily assess the keywords you should target.
Is Your Branding Firm using 2016 Tools?
The SEO tools are not only recommended to enhance SEO—they are also essential part of a branding firm's tool kit. If the branding firm you are using is not aware of integrating native content on social platforms utilizing the Google Adwords keyword planner in addition to the app Moz along with keyword embedded blogs, it may be time to reevaluate the branding firm you are using and find one that is up-to-date with the competitive 2016 branding technologies outlined in this article.