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Five Tips for Branding on Social Media

Five Tips for Branding on Social Media

Posted on Jun 13, 2017 by Emily Ballard

Brand strategy as a concept can often be bit murky or esoteric. Whether you’re an established business or an individual searching for a more prominent way to self-brand, it can be difficult to identify a starting point and select a course of action. Social media offers endless opportunity for engagement, so maintaining a cohesive presence across platforms can be daunting. It’s important to remember that your strategy is your anchor, and keeps your team in sync with how your brand interacts with the world.

There are also many tutorials out there, but the truth is that it just takes practice. Proficiency with social media is one of those things that comes through experience. To help get you started, here are some widely accepted components for a basic, well-rounded strategy:

Finding Your Voice

Establishing values early on is essential for staying true to your brand’s roots. Consistency and authenticity (ie: with dialect and tone) also help to foster trust that you are who you claim to be. With that, you develop a personality on social media that makes it easier for consumers to relate and entices them to engage more. People want to feel like the content they are consuming is genuine, and will likely form a positive association with your brand when that is the case. Again, finding your voice on social media takes time, but as long as it’s natural it will soon become second nature.

Tell Your Story

Here at HMG we’re currently in the process of a complete rebrand. When I joined the team in February, one of my initial goals was to increase engagement on social media. The first thing that came to mind was to tell our literal story by sharing what’s happening around the office. However, we also like to see what’s going on throughout the community, which helps to tell a different, more casual side of our story. Once some time has passed, share a few throwbacks to apply a very personal tone to your progress. People love to see others succeed—it’s both motivational and rewarding.

Engage With Your Audience

As you find your tone and start to post more frequently, you’ll see more engagement (trust me). Sparking conversations with your followers makes them feel valued and acknowledged, which creates a sense of community. Keeping up with platform updates will also help you to find new ways to interact with your followers. People tend to notice when a specific brand interacts with them and may become more likely to consider or recommend your brand as a result.

Post Regularly

Staying relevant is every brand’s top priority. Consistency plays a direct role in staying in the consumer’s top-of-mind—even if you only post twice a week. Although the more you post, the more engagement you will likely see. Scheduling specific days for certain content also makes producing content easier and less stressful. For example, I post every Monday. There’s usually a lot going on around here, but if it’s a quiet day in the office I’ll post a little motivation Monday (since we could all use that from time to time). That takes the pressure off if it’s one of those rare, still days in the office. Posting regularly also gives your followers something to look forward to. So if you’ve just hit a milestone with a cool project, share the progress!

Stand Out

Adding value to your content is the number one thing you can do that will make you stand out. This is another one of those easier-said-than-done things. Maintaining your personality throughout your content, while continuously sharing valuable information for your readers to digest will result in reciprocated engagement as well. Share insight, ask questions, ask others for their opinions and post visuals such as photos and videos. It’s always a great feeling when you know that you’ve delivered awesome content. On the other hand, sharing another’s authoritative content says a great deal about what you appreciate and support from your peers.

Social media opportunities are wide open for reaching new consumers. As simple as this all may sound, there are many things that even big brands forget to take in consideration. While it remains a relatively new tool for branding, it has also become essential for adapting to the latest trends, technologies and markets. Let us know how your brand strategy leverages social media in the comments below!

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Seven TED Talks on the Power of Collaboration

Seven TED Talks on the Power of Collaboration

Posted on Jun 06, 2017 by Emily Ballard

A great amount of research has gone into exploring the benefits of collaboration. In the talks listed below, seven experts explore where ideas can lead through collaboration and open-source solutions. They discuss how multibillion-dollar companies incorporate collaboration in the workplace today, where we could be as a society with increased daily collaboration and where human communication might go as technology advances. They also share personal experiences from using and contributing to open-source information, how it led to mass collaboration and their results.

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Rebranding—Sharing Our Experience

Rebranding—Sharing Our Experience

Posted on May 24, 2017 by Emily Ballard

Scaling a business can happen intentionally, or otherwise, unintentionally. Either way, you’re going to have to manage pretty big changes. For us, this means expanding our services, refreshing our entire brand, revamping our website, moving into a bigger office and welcoming new members to our team. Needless to say, we’ve been busy! Throughout our growth and rebranding experience, we’ve really taken a step back to evaluate our core values and focus on why we do what we do. At the end of the day, what we find to be most rewarding is building relationships and sharing the joy of flourishing in doing what we love. Our team finds great value in truly getting to know our clients’ stories on a personal level and authentically producing premium deliverables so that their businesses can succeed.

Branding

While we provide everything from light refreshes to complete overhauls for our clients’ brands, we also need to update our own brand, from time to time. Our old logo will always have a special place here at HMG. However, after nearly 14 years of only subtle tweaking, it was time to give our logo and brand the revamp they deserve. Our main objective for the logo redesign was to create a clean and appealing mark, which we plan to leave on the next 14 years.

Typography

We incorporated lightly-modified typography that draws classic and timeless aspects from Futura, but with a more contemporary feel—similar to Avenir. Following the necessary planning and modifications, we feel that our new typographic treatment will be here to stay for the long haul.

Color palette

From the beginning of our rebranding process, we made the choice to use our original HMG blue as a starting point. From there, we decided that the updated color palette should be simple, yet dynamic enough for integration across all brand assets. The new color palette has already started to appear on a few pieces of internal collateral, as well as on the winning entry in the 2017 Pixelwood Derby.

Icon

For our icon—we aimed to produce something that could stand alone and be recognized as ours. To achieve this, we crafted an abstracted composition that, upon closer inspection, reveals “HMG” in the angles. This was also created entirely with simple 90-degree angles.

Social Media

Every business has a story. We leverage social media to chronicle our company culture, the talent of each person on our team, and also some of the less extravagant bits of our day-to-day story. We value the personality and character of each member of our team and have found Instagram to be a great tool for showcasing the talent and creativity that flows throughout the office. We also make use of the real-time engagement that social media offers. Watching our peers succeed in the Austin community has been invigorating, and being able to interact and congratulate them on their success brings us all closer.

Through Facebook and Twitter, we’ve seen great interest in our blog and the informative content we post on hot topics within the tech industry. Readers benefit from our blogs which further explain certain areas of the industry, offer deeper insight into specific services and explain how they can get their head around ROI and many other topics. The majority of our posts are geared toward helping marketers better understand the digital world and the current trends that shape it.

What’s next?

Our vision for revamping our website is to create a more seamless user experience. Users should be able to quickly navigate to information on our services, and the information should be direct and easily absorbed. The ideal result of this would be that current and prospective clients come away with a clear understanding of who we are, what we do and how we think. Smoothing and polishing a user’s journey is essential for not only demonstrating your own understanding but also the value placed on each user’s time. For this reason, it also should never be unclear how a user would get in contact.

Now that we have laid the foundation for our updated brand, you can expect to see much more in the coming months. We have started planning our new website which should bring together all of our hard work and revamped branding elements. Let us know if you like what you see!

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How We Work With Clients

How We Work With Clients

Posted on May 16, 2017 by Emily Ballard

Finding the right agency can be a difficult and stressful process, usually due to several factors simultaneously in motion. You may need help developing a branding strategy before it’s time to begin the web project, or you may need to coordinate ongoing marketing efforts, such as PPC or retargeting, within the scope of a much larger project that is already underway. It can also be tough to choose an agency that fully understands and harmonize your story, brand and culture consistently through every single project. However, the right fit is usually self-evident, meaning that you’ll know when you’ve found the right one.

Here at HMG, we pride ourselves on the authenticity of both our creative process and work itself. Staying true to our core values, our team of experts collaborate daily to maximize creativity and apply diverse perspectives to each client and their story. First and foremost, our top priority is to cultivate long-lasting partnerships with every one of our clients. Maintaining transparent communication is key to developing rapport and managing expectations throughout the course of each project. We also consider ourselves to be part of each client’s team, committing ourselves to the development of unique, high-quality deliverables that position them for success.

As a full-service marketing agency, our professional bandwidth allows us to cater to marketing needs across the board, from brand assessment and strategy, to web development and implementation of interactive marketing initiatives. Whether you need one of our services or five of our services plus ongoing maintenance, we tailor each project to align with your specific needs, brand and culture. During the kickoff meeting, we will dive into your values, your target audience and your customer journeys. Then we will incorporate our findings into your web project, digital marketing strategy, or whatever else you may need.

And now for the fun part—budgeting! Establishing a clear understanding of your budget upfront allows us to remain transparent when communicating realistic expectations for how a project will align with its existing budget. We generally make two budgeting methods available: fixed-rate bids and ongoing retainers.

Large-scale projects which clearly define a set of deliverables, such as a web development project, typically work best with a flat, fixed rate, which can be easily made into a monthly investment. Fixed-rate billing also works well when bundling services together, into a custom package. However, quite often, a client will also require ongoing marketing services in addition to a larger fixed-rate project, which would necessitate a retainer.

A retainer is a pre-purchased block of hours. Retainers are usually implemented when our services are required on an as-needed basis. With a retainer, you have more flexibility for how the hours are spent and on which projects or services they are allocated—whether that be PPC, retargeting, web maintenance, or ongoing creative services such as print collateral.

In this digital age, technology is rapidly changing and the need to keep up with its dynamic evolution is greater than ever. So let’s connect and chat about how we can support your marketing efforts!

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The Art of Dashboarding

The Art of Dashboarding

Posted on May 11, 2017 by Alyssa Zucker

Dashboarding embodies the realms of both art and science. With the ability to present data in a clear and aesthetically pleasing way, dashboards bridge the gap between form and function. It is essentially a tool that aggregates all vital resources needed to make informed decisions and take action. Having previously focused on the potent dashboard of google analytics, creating your own custom dashboard is a powerful way to display useful data, and more.

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Understanding the Basics of Google Analytics

Understanding the Basics of Google Analytics

Posted on May 09, 2017 by Emily Ballard

Google Analytics is a potent tool for leveraging data to gain insight into your current audience, as well as develop a deeper understanding of how to reach your target audience. Top marketing professionals analyze data obtained through Google Analytics to identify how, and from where, website visitors are arriving (we’ll dig into this in a little bit). If you aren’t already utilizing this incredibly powerful service, here’s an overview on how you can make smarter, data-driven decisions that better your chances for more conversions and higher return on investment (ROI). Oh, and it’s free.

Audience

So the first thing you need to do is look at who has already been visiting your website. Google Analytics tells you almost everything about each visitor including their demographics, interests, location, behavior on the site, and what device they used to visit your site. From this, it generates relevant comparisons, using the copious amounts of data collected on each user. With access to such an extensive amount of data, Google Analytics allows you to get a clear picture of who is viewing your site and whether you should alter marketing initiatives in order to cater to your target audience.

Acquisition

Now that you’ve determined the makeup of your audience, the next step is discovering how users got to your site. The overview section (under acquisition) breaks down incoming site traffic into general sources: social media, email, direct visitors, organic searches, referrals from other websites, paid search and other. The information is then further digested into graphs to illustrate the percentage of users from each category, their session time, bounce rate and conversion rate. If the right people are already visiting your website, this feature of Google Analytics can help identify where and how to reach others like them.

Behavior

The “Behavior Flow” chart that Google Analytics creates according to time period is the easiest tool, in my opinion, to analyze each user journey. This chart offers the ability to walk through the steps of each user journey, and possibly determine what drove them to each page. This feature provides in-depth data on the most and least visited pages of your website. Such specific data is beneficial to improving the less-viewed portions of your site, and maintaining those more frequently viewed. Considering this data within Google Analytics helps to identify the popular sections of your site, and thus point you in the right direction for which aspects need extra attention.

Conversions

Now for the good stuff. Once you’ve identified your target audience, optimized your marketing initiatives and increased traffic to your website—you can sit back and watch the conversions roll in. Conversions tie in directly with your goals. For example, if your goal is for people to fill out a “Let’s Talk” form, Google Analytics can track how many visitors were served the form, and compare that to the number that completed it. Ecommerce businesses can track key performance indicators (KPI) like product performance, sales performance, transactions and time to purchase.

Knowing and understanding how each element of Google Analytics functions helps the tool to behave as a messenger, that keeps you informed about which areas of your website are successful and which are under-performing. What do you think is the most important aspect of Google Analytics? Be sure to let us know in the comments!