Seven Steps to Telling Your Personal Brand on LinkedIn

Metscher Musing Brand Story

What’s your story for your online brand?

Last month I published this article on LinkedIn on how to tell your personal brand story. The impetus for the article was based on my own experience on how best to share my experience while painting the picture of who I am and where I have been, so to speak. Here is a snippet of the article:

What tips would you add to creating your personal brand story?

June is one of my favorite times of year as it marks the new beginning for many college graduates. Many are trying to differentiate themselves from the competition in getting their first job. Whether you are a seasoned professional or a newbie, focusing on your personal brand story is important, especially when you are looking to breakout from the crowd.

Your LinkedIn profile should paint a picture beyond your resume of who you are and what you bring to the table. When I look at your LinkedIn profile, what do you want me to know? Are you a B2B rockstar? A Content Marketing Mastermind? And a data-driven professional?

Whether you are a 20-year professional or just starting out, you should consider how to promote yourself through LinkedIn. With more than 350 million users, it is becoming harder on LinkedIn to stand out from the crowd. With storytelling in mind, here are my seven steps to telling your personal brand story on LinkedIn.

Step One: Create Dynamic Headlines

Much like storytelling, your personal brand story needs to make sense and persuade folks to read your profile. You can certainly use your current title; however, think about how someone potentially will search for you. Use keywords in your headline. For example, I highlight my broad range of marketing and communications skills, so my title is “Marketing Leader. Social Media Strategist. Communications & Public Relations. Speaker & Writer. Problem Solver.” Jot down your ideas in terms of these areas to highlight what you want to your brand to stand for.

Step Two: Craft a Well-Rounded Summary

What areas of expertise do you want to highlight? Be strategic. You can use your summary section from your resume, but be short and sweet. This section should be your online elevator pitch. The summary area is also a great place to post all your SlideShare presentations or other multimedia content that provides the social proof that you are a great asset.

Recently, LinkedIn made it easier to create the best keywords for your profile by allowing you to access your data archive. Viveka von Rosen, host to one of the largest Twitter chats about LinkedIn #LinkedInChat, wrote a blog post about how to use the export tool to improve an organization’s marketing, but I believe you can also use it to improve the marketing of you.

Step Three: Show Diversity in Your Experience

If you are the main character in your personal brand story, how will you support your central theme? For example, if I want to be known as a digital-marketing expert, how will I convey this information?

What do you want people to know? It’s more than listing your accomplishments and responsibilities. Think about how you would describe your coherent roles and how the roles relate to your overall goal or next career move. All your roles should have a purpose. LinkedIn job positions should show progression and that through the years you have deepened your knowledge in a specific area.

Step Four: Sharpen Your Skills

Did you know that LinkedIn allows users to add up to 50 skills to their profiles? Jennifer McClure, president of Unbridled Talent LLC, mentioned in her Mashable interview that listing relevant skills helps candidates differentiate themselves from their competition: “Often LinkedIn profiles aren’t fully completed either because people are intimidated by the idea of writing a professional summary or aren’t skilled at effectively summarizing their experience. LinkedIn profiles should be viewed as a personal marketing brochure, and as such, they need to be concise, informative, and compelling.” Bottom line: Focus on your expertise, strengths, and skills to be more discoverable.

Continue reading the full article on LinkedIn.

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Online Retailers Missed Opportunity: Female Gen Xers with Millennial Tendencies

Recently, I researched the topic of online clothing retailers and their buyers for a grad school project. I find the retail world so fascinating since many retailers have had to adopt their mass-market approach for the online world. Some have succeeded, others continue to struggle to compete. What was interesting in conducting this research was finding a particular small, but influential group of female buyers that most retailers are missing – a subgroup influential because of their buying power and influence.

These women are not quite Gen Xers, but potentially too old to be millennials. They watched Reality Bites, but maybe didn’t feel as jaded. Potentially, they could have gone to a Nirvana concert and still wear their t-shirts.

Gen Xers with Millennial Tendencies

Photo Credit: Salon. Gen Xers are between the ages of 35-44 who grew up during the materialistic 1980s and saw the aftermath of gluttony in the 1990s.

After reading the blog post Social Media Week: Oregon Trail Generation on SMW, I thought I would share my findings about this subgroup. As marketers, we sometimes have to remind ourselves that marketing to a generation is not always about their age, but about their behaviors.

Below is an excerpt from my project. Happy reading.

Female Generation X with Millennial Tendencies

Before millennials were texting their friends using their first iPhones, there was a generation of women who knew of a time before the Internet, Generation X. Gen Xers are between the ages of 35-44 who grew up during the materialistic 1980s and saw the aftermath of gluttony in the 1990s. They are also digital adopters: Gen Xers were the first generation to grow up with computers and technology, although this occurred later in their lives. Today, they remain tech-savvy and habitually research items online prior to purchase (JWT Intelligence, 2010).

They break rules and redefined a slacker generation

Women of this generation are adventurous, daring, quirky, informed, responsible, and skeptical. Nostalgic, Gen X women gravitate towards happier times from their past (Han, 2012). This public can afford higher-end items because they are more established in their careers and have higher spending power. Because Gen Xers write their own rules, she could be a recent mom or a childfree career powerhouse.

They shop too, but often buy less and look for deals. Most female Gen Xers make shopping lists using a variety of tools, half review circulars, and coupons. Fifty-one percent download coupons from retailer sites and 38 percent research products online. About one-third use deal sites, 31 percent use social media to get coupons, and 23 percent look for updates from retailers and manufacturers via texts or e-mails (McClain, 2012).

Why are Gen Xers with Millennial Tendencies Important? Go Back to Why Women Rule the Purse. 

Though shopping is synonymous with women, there are several reasons why women rule the purse and the economy (Brennan, 2011). First, women are the gateway to household budgets. They not only shop for themselves, but also for others— spouses, kids, friends, family, colleagues, and often their older parents. This multiplies their buying power and influence (Brennan, 2013).

Second, women have a strong connection to community both online and off-line. In their community, people connect with one another to help others realize their potential inside and out, and to make life happier for everyone (Brennan, 2011). Millennial females regard shopping as a group activity, shopping twice as often with their spouses, friends, or family members as non-millennial females (Solomon, 2014). The strong connection to each other is easily seen in their business and personal relationships as well. Women prioritize and cultivate personal and business relationships because creating these networks of family, friends, and colleagues is a primary source of joy and fulfillment (Brennan, 2011).

Finally, women are typically connectors, and that makes them the source of valuable information to the people in their network or community. If women are happy with your business, they are delighted to tell people they know— especially if you provide an incentive for them to do so (Brennan, 2011). From loyalty programs to referral programs, if you are not leveraging your female customers to bring in their contacts, you’re leaving money on the table.

Footnotes:

Is It Time for You To Go Native?

Metscher's Musing Native Advertising

Visual Source: Pardot

Earlier this year, I wrote an article for my friends at Brand Quarterly titled, “To Native or Not to Native, That is the Question.” The impetus for the article is based on my research over the last year on how native content (or branded content, whichever term you like to use) has exploded into media and marketing trades. There has been a lot of conversation around how ethical native is or is not. My goal of my article was not to answer whether native is the right choice for your company, but rather present that facts and let you, the audience, decide.

Stats Highlights:

  • According to a 2014 eMarketer report, spending on native ads on social sites alone is expected to increase from $3.1 billion to $5 billion by 2017.  As a percentage of total social ad spending, it projected that native would rise from 38.8 percent in 2014 to 42.4 percent in 2017.
  • HubShout, a online marketing firm, conducted a surveylast year that found 72.8 percent of internet users who have read sponsored content believe it has equal or greater value as non-sponsored content on the same website. (For those interested in the full report on native advertising full impact from HubShout, you can download now. Note: This is gated information so you will need to share your dets.)

Here is the link to Brand Quarterly titled, “To Native or Not to Native, That is the Question.” 

Happy Reading!

Rachel DiCaro Metscher has worked with many organizations to build their communications and marketing programs, including Fannie Mae, American Psychological Association, and The Princeton Review.  She is currently working in the DC metro area building content marketing programs from the ground up.

Seven Tips to Jump-start Your Content Marketing in 2015

Happy New Year! Most of us are already in high-gear executing campaigns. But, some of you may be challenged with how to best jump-start your content marketing initiative in 2015. Here are seven tips to help you out:

The Devil is in the Details.

The most important aspect ensuring content marketing success is documenting what you want to do in 2015. Sounds simple, but most marketers don’t. Content Marketing Institute reported that 44 percent of B2B marketers have a documented content strategy.

Set Expectations Early

Most executives see content marketing activity as a short term project. Pack your patience friends because this is a long-term game. Producing content is only part of the equation. Be prepared to have some realistic and pragmatic conversations on what to expect early on. The model of “build it and they will come” is over. Set expectations on what is needed to make a content marketing plan work. Come prepared with current metrics if you have them.

Know what Success Looks Like for your Organization

Every group is different. One group may focus on earned media, another may focus on forms completed. Whatever your organization deems successful, document it. It will help you when it comes time to evaluate and measure. You would be surprised how many folks forget the end game soon after the campaign is over.

Expect Timelines to Adjust

Murphy’s law plays a huge role in content marketing. If it can be derailed it will. Plan for hiccups on your timeline. I always build in an extra week just in case.

Know your Content Producers Well

Last fall I attended a Content Marketing Institute workshop where this stat was shared: It takes more than six weeks to finish one content marketing piece. Six weeks people. That’s a very long time. Make sure whoever you involved in your content marketing initiatives is in it to win it. Priorities will always shift.You need people to be on board to complete their tasks on time. If you have issues with content producers, especially internal resources, budget for writers to help. Freelancers are a great resource that can interview your subject matter experts and then write the piece, and they are incentivized to get projects out on time.

Showing Results Wins Budgets

No seriously, showing results wins budgets. I wrote about how I used paid promotion to help promote past content marketing campaigns. This small campaign delivered big and helped me secure more funding for the next year. Speaking of promotion…

Have a Plan for Distribution and Promotion

In content marketing, the campaign doesn’t finish when the content is created, but when it’s ready to be distributed and promoted. I wrote extensively on the importance of distribution and paid promotion in my previous post on the Seven Ugly Truths about Content Marketing. Promotion is key now more than ever. The Internet has made your customers more savvy. On average consumers are reading 10.4 pieces of content before making a purchase.

Here are some additional thoughts I presented at Gilbane Conference in Boston, Massachusetts in December.

Rachel DiCaro Metscher, a champion of clear and concise communications, has worked with many organizations to build their communications and marketing programs, including Fannie Mae, American Psychological Association, The Princeton Review, and B2B software companies She is a conference speaker and writer on social media and content marketing, and has written for American Marketing Association Marketing News, Social Media Today, and MarketingProfs.

She currently works in the DC metro area building content marketing programs from the ground up.

Native Advertising: Beech-Nut Shows its Funnier Side to Moms

If you have wondered if native advertising fits within your promotional content mix, here is a great case study on Beech-Nut baby food products.

Beech-Nut Nutrition Company is a leading food manufacturer in the U.S. known for its innovative approach to baby food. Baby food brands have seen sales decline since 2005 because of lower birth rates; however, there is another trend troubling brands. More millennial moms are taking an active role in preparing homemade baby food for their little one. Moms spend on average three hours out of their week or an hour out of their day to make their own baby food. In April, Beech-Nut changed its approach on how it made baby food that is winning over millennial moms, but it needed a new way to reach its target audience.

Beech-Nut Using Humor to Highlight the ‘Joys of Motherhood’

Beech-Nut worked with Someecards to create co-branded cards that discussed the tough realities of being a new mom. Someecards parodies the sentiments found in the Hallmark greeting card by using humor that is sometimes considered sarcastic or borderline offensive. The co-branded e-cards highlight the joys of motherhood with cards that read, “The only chance I got to sit down today was on the toilet,” or “I want my baby’s food to be as natural as I tell everyone my childbirth was.”  The campaign comprised of five e-cards that are hosted on Someecards’ site earlier this month. So far, the e-cards have more than 15,000 shares on the site and amplified through its social channels.

native-advertising-marketing- metscher

Photo Credit from Marketing Tech Blog via StumbleUpon

Target Audience: Millennial Moms

There are 90 million millennials in the U.S. and a quarter of those are parents with spending power of $200 billion. Katie Sobel, senior director of marketing at Plum Organics summarized millennial moms’ purchasing power, “Millennial moms are more connected, more influential, and have more access to research and information than any generation prior. They also expect complete transparency and connectivity from the brands they do select. Moms have the luxury of being discerning.”

Why Native Advertising?

Beech-Nut relies on its small, but mighty mom ambassadors to share its content across social media channels. While Beech-Nut has a strong community on its Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram channels, it needed to amplify its message and reach new moms looking for ‘real’ baby food. Native advertising sees higher engagement than banner ads, 52 percent of people who click on native ads have purchase intent compared to 34 percent for banner ads. Most competitors in this space have relied on traditional media to reach moms. In order to cut through the noise, Beech-Nut decided to take a different approach to reach moms with humorous native advertising.

Sharing the Joys of Motherhood

Someecards goes for humor and raw honesty, which help build its audience of roughly 10 million unique visitors a month, according to comScore. While it may seem peculiar for a baby food provider to partner with Someecards, reviewing past social posts shows the brand uses humor often to connect with its moms. For Beech-Nut, sharing a bit of humor helps create community with its audience that will share its content with other friends. In addition to this campaign, Beech-Nut also works actively to cultivate community through its mommy blogger outreach program and free samples. Beech-Nut has used Someecards as the primary platform for this campaign distribution with its Facebook page as a secondary channel. The brand’s current Facebook page is relatively active with social shares, daily posts, and has more than 380,000 likes.

Does Humor Sell?

The Beech-Nut native advertising campaign was consistent with the brand’s honest and transparent brand values. While humor is not actively used in Beech-Nut’s advertising, it is often used on its social media channels. As one marketing expert wrote, “Make people laugh and they will not only share an ad with their friends and family, but with humor the second best emotion at driving brand recall, they will most likely remember the brand for years to come.” Overall, the campaign was funny and consistently used the company’s visual identity so moms who saw it would remember Beech-Nut.

Coupling humorous native ads with social media amplification was a large investment for Beech-Nut; however, the success of the campaign will continue to grow. Weber Shandwick reported last year that millennial moms spend 17 hours each week on social networks and are better sharers of information and recommendations for areas such as food, baby products, and retail. Working with Someecards provided Beech-Nut with a wider distribution network that is much larger than its current owned channels and the opportunity to reach new moms in the market for baby food. Overall, The co-branded cards were well received within its community. Beech-Nut has not only innovated its baby food products, but also found a new way to connect with millennial moms that cuts through the noise and provides a laugh.

Rachel DiCaro Metscher has worked with many organizations to build their communications and marketing programs, including Fannie Mae, American Psychological Association, and The Princeton Review.  She is currently working in the DC metro area building content marketing programs from the ground up.

 

What Three Lessons You Can Learn from Harvey Nichols’ Christmas 2013 Campaign

How to Win Big in Your Next Campaign

One of the greatest things about grad school is I get the opportunity to review many successful integrated marketing campaigns. In researching Harvey Nichols’ holiday campaign, I thought there was some valuable nuggets for marketers to take note.

When you think about Harvey Nichols (HN), words that may come to mind are high fashion, luxury, and prestige. While the brand is well established, Harvey Nichols’ advertising in recent years has become more cheeky and free-spirited. The brand’s holiday 2013 campaign provided a funny, attention-grabbing film that created a stir among consumers and marketers alike. Holiday shopping is fierce for retailers such as Harvey Nichols and its competitors Selfridges, House of Fraser, and John Lewis all competing for the same consumer’s share of wallet.

Why Christmas Advertising is Important?

Christmas retail shopping is the most important part of the year for retailers. Sales in November and December can account for as much as 30 percent of a retailer’s annual sales. Most retail sales in January are terrible, then rise through summer to a peak in September, then after a further lull, sales jump by an average of 60 percent to an annual peak in December. With significant revenue opportunity to come during the holiday season, retailers fight for consumers’ pockets as well as their attention.

Lesson One: Cut through the Noise

There is not only a lot of opportunity to capture shoppers’ attention and money, but also high competition. Thinkbox, a U.K. based media consultancy, reported last year that U.K. viewers watch 48 ads a day during their four plus hours of television watching. Breaking through the noise was important for the retailer to be successful in holiday advertising.

Harvey Nichols and agency adam&eve DDB knew that in order to be memorable, they needed to be different. According to adam&eve’s Creative Director, Daniel Fisher, “The [creative] brief was to get Harvey Nichols talked about — but with only a fraction of the budget major U.K. retail chains have to spend for Christmas we knew we needed to go further than just another 30-second ad.”

Most holiday commercial ads follow a formula: family, home, and most importantly giving gifts that make people happy. Harvey Nichols took a different approach for last year’s Christmas advertising that was brave according to some industry pundits. Its Christmas advertising campaign, “Sorry, I Spent it on Myself” centered around shoppers buying gifts for themselves rather than spend the money on loved ones.

Different? Yes. Bold? You bet.

Pete Favat, chief creative officer at Deutsch LA and Cannes Film Festival jury member, summarized the different approach to Harvey Nichols’ Christmas 2013 campaign, “For a retailer to take their highest-selling season and do something like this is remarkably bold. To take greed and make people laugh and smile about it is extremely difficult.”

Lesson Two: Want to get noticed? Go against the grain.

Harvey Nichols’ Christmas 2013 Campaign: How to Win Big in Your Next Campaign

Image from Christmas adverts.

When other competitors ran 30 second ads on TV, Harvey Nichols created a short film that was distributed on its website and YouTube channel. Competitor John Lewis spent an estimated £7 million on its ‘Hare and Bear’ holiday ad campaign. Conversely, Harvey Nichols spent a fraction of that cost and used its own channels and social media platforms to distribute the film. Woven into its Christmas campaign was the hashtag, #SpentItOnMyself and a microsite where shoppers could buy ‘a little something’ for their loved ones.

Going against the grain did provide some rewards. After the site launched, the unusual presents featured in its ad sold out in less than three days. Additionally, after the launch of the ad, both #SpentItOnMyself and Harvey Nichols trended on Twitter. From the perspective of the brief, success was achieved by getting consumers to talk about Harvey Nichols.

Lesson Three: Use Humor as a Catalyst.

Since 2009, Harvey Nichols has expanded beyond their traditional target market of women from the ages 25-45 to younger, millennial consumers. This focus has not only impacted Harvey Nichols physical space (redesigned the fourth floor to target younger consumers), but also its marketing approach. Harvey Nichols’ Christmas campaign used an integrated approach of advertising, social media (via the #SpentItOnMyself hashtag) and in-store promotions to create a campaign that reached both traditional and millennials shoppers. A key insight for HN that helped fuel the social media fervor is that millennials not only want to share content that is relevant, but also want to be in the ‘know.’ Among U.K. millennials who shared content on social media, younger millennials (25-29) used social media more expressively to earn respect. The HN campaign is smart because it uses humor as a catalyst to get millennials to share its video and get its message out that the brand is a great place to get the latest gifts for themselves and others.

Marketing Magazine summarized why using humor is a big win, “Make people laugh and they will not only share an ad with their friends and family, but with humor the second best emotion at driving brand recall, they will most likely remember the brand for years to come. Recall is key in retail to get consumers to remember the brand when the need occurs. HN made a bold move to use humor during the holiday season that paid-off.

Humor might not work best for your market, but I think was great about this campaign they knew humor would work well with its audience.

Harvey Nichols Wins Again with Smart, Provocative Advertising

Harvey Nichols is known for forward-thinking fashion and provocative advertising. Its recent Christmas integrated campaign, “Sorry I Spent it on Myself,” is effective with consistent messaging about how the retailer is cheeky, fun, and playful. The campaign epitomizes effective creative execution: execution must hold the attention in order for the message to be processed.

To stand out from the crowded marketplace, Harvey Nichols went bold and tapped into shoppers’ guilty pleasure of shopping for themselves. The premier luxury retailer extended the reach of their campaign to millennials by leveraging YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and a microsite to tell shoppers its okay to spend a little on their love ones, but more on themselves. Because millennials are hyper-connected the amplification effect was very powerful; this message resonated high and they embraced and shared it often. The short film on YouTube has more than 660,000 views and trended on social media after its release.

Neuro-Insight, a U.K. neuromarketing research agency, measured how females and males responded to the Christmas advertisements. Results were not surprising. This ad was highly effective with women where the expensive Harvey Nichols gifts are strongly encoded to memory, which in turn, linked strongly to the Harvey Nichols brand. Females respond positively to the tongue-in-cheek humor and the specific Harvey Nichols items featured were very well encoded in long-term memory.

In order for brand recall to occur, first there must be a need and then the brand can be recalled from memory. Creative mediums must establish a link in memory between the need and the brand such as when need arises the brand name will come to mind as satisfying the need. This Christmas campaign achieves memory linking by mentioning the name often throughout the video and again when mentioning the tagline. Finally, the ‘Sorry, I spent in on myself’ tag line is very well encoded as is the key verbal message ‘A little something for them, a bigger something for you’.

Ultimately this campaign stays true to Harvey Nichols brand and uses humor to poke a little fun at gift-giving by tapping into our natural tendencies of selfishness. Being bold has paid off handsomely for Harvey Nichols. It remains a competitive force in the luxury retailer space because of innovative thinking in fashion, but also smart brand choices reflected in its advertising. Keeping true to its vivacious and fun personality, Harvey Nichols uses humor to relate to its consumers. Consumers may have spent their money on themselves; however, I think it is safe to say that they will make it up on their love ones’ birthday, Mother’s day, and other special occasions with Harvey Nichols help.

Rachel DiCaro Metscher has worked with many organizations to build their communications and marketing programs, including Fannie Mae, American Psychological Association, and The Princeton Review. She is currently working in the DC metro area building content marketing programs from the ground up.

Case Study: How to Create a Thriving Brand Community

Reviewing research to write a future post for Metschers’ Musing, I stumbled upon a case study I wrote about successful online community management. After reading it again, I thought others would appreciate the tactics needed to build successful communities focused on the clients’ real needs. I wrote this about a year ago, but some of the tactics still hold true today.

Why the need for Online Communities?

With the rules of traditional communications and marketing changing, more companies are looking to digital communications tactics to help drive customer acquisition and loyalty.  And it is for good reason. According to CEB, 57 percent of prospects are conducting research prior to the sales conversation. 

Forrester in 2008 summarized the importance of online communities as one of the most powerful tools a marketer can deploy for customer retention, word-of-mouth, and customer insight. Some companies have embraced real-time input from the market and customers by building communities where customers can come together, exchange ideas, communicate frustrations, and truly foster two-way communication. However, many companies are challenged with how best to manage the community where it has no control over the conversation and cultivate a space where customers come to engage.

Social Media Online Community Case Study

Image Credit: info.socious.com

Topliners Road to Success

Eloqua built an open peer-to-peer forum for marketers and customers called Topliners in 2010. For those unfamiliar with Oracle|Eloqua, Topliners focused on marketing, sales, and improving topline revenue where members find peer support and ideas to meet common challenges.

The company chronicled its experience to build and grow its’ community on the company’s blog and shared some of the best practices on creating a thriving community. According to Eloqua’s lead on the project, “Growing a vibrant online community isn’t easy. As the community manager, my mandate was to grow the community from scratch, keep members engaged, and make sure that the content was up-to-date.”

Beyond what she shared, one can observe Eloqua took strategic steps when building Topliners:

  • Know their customers. Eloquans, what Eloqua customers are called by themselves and the company, are hyper-engaged and tech savvy. Most marketers buying Eloqua buy into this concept of ‘modern marketing’, which means that traditional marketing methods will no longer work in customer acquisition. The community is very active and uses a gamification platform to support engagement.
  • Listen to what customers wanted. Everything in the community is about the customer. Information is abundant. Best practices from other marketers fill posts upon posts. But more importantly, Eloqua has built a community where marketers come together and ask questions of fellow colleagues in a ‘judgment-free zone.’
  • Planned for engagement. Building an online community that is a trusted resource takes more than technology; you need to plan for building content and engagement. Eloqua did not have a “build it and they will come mentality.” The company planned out the content for the site (see blog post), leveraged brand advocates to seed content, and talked with customers on the type of content they wanted to see in the community.
  • Truly customer-centric. Since revenue performance management and marketing automation is in the nascent stages, most customers not only need help with implementation, but also how to change their overall marketing approach. The company’s strategy has always been how to answer the question, “how do we make our customers successful?” Eloqua has become a trusted resource and curator of quality content that is used and shared by many clients, prospects, and industry influencers.

Why Topliners works?

Advocates drive the content on Topliners with blog posts on using the solution, uploading helpful documents, starting discussions, and posting polls. The site also uses gamification technics such as badges and level designation to improve user experience. Members can earn certain badges for posting content and other activities such as Overachiever, Share Your Flair, and fifty other types.

The point of members’ badges and levels? Incentives your strongest advocates to share their knowledge and best practices and reward them with virtual recognition. So was it successful? In a follow-up post, Eloqua  shared that the community experienced a 55 percent lift in average active users in the first month after the launch.  Since implementation, Topliners continues to grow in activity and engagement.

But is Topliners Retuning on the Eloqua’s Investment?

According to its submission to Forrester’s Groundswell Awards 2013, its customers who use Topliners renew at a dramatically higher rate than those who do not — 87 percent. They also submit less support cases and issues. Topliners contributes to reserving customer support references, drives sales, and builds engagement amongst users.

Many companies are looking for better ways to engage with customers online as customers are researching more information online prior to purchase. Eloqua has created a community and social embassies that energize its base to evangelize the brand. Without too much corporate speak, Eloqua has created a word of mouth marketing platform built on conversations and strong relationships with its current customers.