Branding Strategies for Digital Agencies

Do you need a better a way to identify yourself or your company and differentiate yourself from others?

Do you have a social media branding strategy?

The two should go hand-in-hand. The best and easiest branding happens on social media, and social media is an outlet for the breadth of your brand. Many people have found success with personal and company branding online, and a lot of markeing agencies have come along to help you with both.

One of these digital agencies, NelsonEcom, gave us a look inside the way they run social media for their agency and how an emphasis on branding extends to the very root of all the content, scheduling, and engagement they provide with OnlyWire. Get the specifics on how NelsonEcom finds marketing success for their clients with a full brand strategy, with social media and OnlyWire at its roots.

Growing a following on the strength of branding
Many marketing agencies begin from the base of one expertise: web design, advertising, and print.

For NelsonEcom, their unique advantage is with customer engagement through social content.

Social Content has been a huge asset for their customers. Loren Nelson, an avid paddler in Dana Point, CA, found OnlyWire through a fellow teammate on his paddle team who just so happened to be one of the Co-founders of OnlyWire. He started using OnlyWire and hasn’t looked back. His customer following continues to grow because he was using OnlyWire. His content always includes images and video because they get the best organic search results.

He began to see this type of content was really kicking up some serious action and engagement. What ended up happening was his customers started asking him, “Hey, how are you able to get all these followers? How are you able to do this so quickly?”

Everybody I talked to, I would say, “I use OnlyWire.” I would give them tips. I eventually was able to turn that into what I have now, which is NelsonEcom a premium social branding agency. We specialize in content branding. That’s from the creative aspect of it, the social media, the publicity, everything.

Loren paddling in Kona, HI 2015

“Our content doesn’t look scheduled”
Branding is the most significant selling point for NelsonEcom, and a huge part of this branding effort is the social media presence. Loren and his team want their clients to have great success on social. For NelsonEcom, this all starts with the content.

Their emphasis is on visual content. They prioritize custom images for their clients, and they have the in-house production team to pull off some beautiful shots (Loren leads a majority of the video production for the team).

Their visual strategy includes a few go-to elements:

  • Custom images
  • Emoji
  • Gifs
  • Videos
  • slides

This is the formula that worked for Loren as he grew his following, and it’s been working for clients, too.

The overall effect of this specialized, visual content is that it’s impossible to tell what’s been scheduled and what hasn’t.

The secret, of course, is that a majority of it is scheduled, within the OnlyWire dashboard. NelsonEcom that every social media update is unique and special, be it with a custom image, an emoji, or a GIF. And the result is a Twitter feed that looks completely in-the-moment.

One of our strongest assets is that we provide clients with the information to figure out how to schedule posts efficiently and how to get the best results. One of our biggest tips is to customize the content to fit whatever that particular client is into and what networks they’re on. And OnlyWire is a key part of it. I believe I manage 32 accounts in OnlyWire — at one point it was 50. I’ve used OnlyWire in every sort of way you can think of.

Before I started my own agency, I was working for a digital arts company, and I was managing 100 accounts there. We’d do two to three posts per day, per account, per channel. It was LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+. Not only did those accounts see growth, but they always had consistent engagement. I think that that had a lot to do with the fact that I used two rules when it comes to content:
Be informative, be entertaining.

In any situation, there’s always a call to action. Even if it isn’t a specific, “Hey, have you checked this out?” or “Hey, visit us here,” I always have a link at the end of the post. That helps a lot. And I don’t do link shortening. I leave the link as-is. That’s just for branding purposes.

From the beginning we would do a mix of photos, emoji, and GIFs. We would have customized videos, customized photos, including a call to action link, including the emojis and including the GIFs. We’d shake it up. Nothing looks ordinary. None of our content looks scheduled. It all is. That’s one of the biggest things that people say all the time. In fact, I get so much high engagement that people always think that I’m online, but I’m not, which is awesome.
When it comes to social media content, the more unique you are with posts and the more consistent you are, the better results you get.

Looking for huge results? Give it some time.
Social media, with its real-time nature, tends to lend itself to an expectation of quick results.

Of course, this can’t always be the case (and rarely is), which is why a long-term social media strategy and a consistent brand on social are so key.

NelsonEcom have found that three months tends to be the sweet spot for a strategy to take hold and for results to start coming in. They believe these first 90 days to be so key that they make this period a requirement for any new clients that they take on.

Our goal is to empower people in general. Entrepreneurs and creatives. That’s our number one goal.

Typically what we do is we have a three-month period. I like to call it a trial period even though it never is officially a trial. It’s basically a three-month minimum to work with us. Typically within those three months I see gangbuster results.
I think maybe it’s because the first month is that trial transitional phase.

The second month you’re building the system

The third month you’re seeing out-of-control engagement.

I can tell you this, when the content is really, really good and it’s scheduled out to perfection, and everybody is doing the role of what they need to do to succeed, obviously, the results are awesome. Typically, when they’re not consistent about posting, or the content is not very good — looks like spam, looks redundant — then it’s just a mixed bag of results.

A social media scheduling workflow

An emphasis on quality content raises a key question: How much time does it take to make and schedule all these awesome tweets and posts?

The content that NelsonEcom creates includes:

  • Custom photos
  • Videos
  • Emoji
  • GIFs
  • Content
  • Groups, pages and followers

Plus a good mix of scheduled updates …
… and real-time engagement.

(And even some that seem real-time but are actually scheduled!)
Here’s how Loren and his team pull it off.
Typically at the beginning of the week, I put everything in the queue. Then as updates, announcements, anything that happens on the fly, I add those to the queue as they come.
I usually do two weeks out for each client. And I’ve been doing this practice, even when I had 100 profiles to manage.
What I would do is I would add all the content to the queue in a very systematic way: Monday motivation, transformation Tuesday, wins on Wednesday, etcetera. Then I would add images. Usually, those images are images that I take myself or one of my team members takes, because we are very technical and creative. Then we add emoji to spice it up to make it look a little more unique. And then we take out links, or we add links to make it look like we’re not promoting anything.
This all happens Monday-Tuesday, and then on Wednesday and Thursday we typically check in for engagement and reshuffle the deck. I might look at something and say, that will work next Monday instead of this Monday, and maybe this is more important to push out right now.
I’m trying to apply that knowledge to everyone. I think it would be really smart if everyone would just take out a couple of hours, it doesn’t even have to be a couple of hours, at the beginning of the week, write out all updates in an Excel sheet. Then go back to it and review it a little bit later just to make sure that it’s the language that they want to use, put it in OnlyWire and export it all at once and then just clean it up.
I look at breaking news, then I will look at trending topics, and I will add them in the OnlyWire queue as every other post. Then, I will put in original content, split into different categories: question, call to action, entertaining, a quote, a funny GIF. If you break that down, with two posts a day per channel, I’ve already filled up five days out of my week.
No matter what, Monday through Friday is those two posts, that’s good to go. Anything special that happens, then that’s an extra post. We know that Saturday is the weakest day to push out content. Sunday is debatable depending on that the industry is. The weekend is always a beta test for me.
Anytime anything happens on the fly, I do have OnlyWire on my cell phone, so I’m able to easily adjust. For example, the other day I was speaking at a live event that I didn’t even know that I was going to be speaking at, and it was easy for us to push out something immediately on all channels at the same time.

The next big question is: How do you measure the ROI of your work?
ROI is a question that seems to come up quite often for social media marketers. It gets asked of branding, too.

At NelsonEcom, the topic is one that they address for all their clients. There can be some data behind the answer: things like sales and engagement help address the topic slightly. There’s an even higher-level discussion to be had as well.
The ROI of branding and social media becomes extra apparent if you were to image what it’s like without either or to compare it to the alternatives.

Branding is the funniest thing ever because nobody ever talks about things like, say, a Super Bowl spot, in the same way. Nobody ever challenges that. But if you put out a Facebook post or a Tweet, people want to know, “What’s the point of this?” I always tell people, you’re saving money, period. You’re saving money, period, and this is so easy if you just just take a step back and think about it for 5 minutes.

Now people know what reach is, and when you’re trying to explain to somebody that your reach is 50,000 but you only have like 200 followers, then do those numbers really matter? How did that translate to sales for us? What did that look like? What does that mean?

For Loren and his team, a bit part of the discussion is with building awareness and consistency, two things that social media as a medium and OnlyWire as a social management tool have helped make easier.

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