The world of business has always been complex, but the changes and added complications that have arisen in recent years cannot be understated. Digitization has brought about many extra hurdles for businesses of all sizes, and with the social media landscape in a constant state of growth and change, it can be hard to keep up. While social media in itself certainly brings benefits to businesses willing and able to leverage it–such as a broader reach, an increased level of engagement, and lower barriers to entry for advertising opportunities–it also faces businesses with a wealth of new challenges to conquer.
At the end of the day, though, it’s worth it.
In the United States alone, social media spending is expected to increase to a whopping $17.34 billion in 2019, according to Hootsuite. And, if projections aren’t enough to convince you, in the recent past, spending doubled from $16 billion in 2014 to $31 billion in 2016, and 2017 saw a record expenditure with 2018 expecting to bring the same.
The fact that little things add up is one way to describe how social media has grown into such a massive asset for businesses over the past few years. In 2018 Social media is tipped to be the most effective digital channel by a new survey from Ascend2. .
All of this makes it a vital part of every growing business out there, but there is one catch…
It’s not easy.
Any business interested in Social media will start at the same step as the next guy: setting up a killer profile. But after that, the path isn’t so clear. While it may have been enough to get going in the past, simply posting and re-posting isn’t enough to raise awareness and engagement for businesses on social media today. After all, social media has surpassed an issue that has faced the world for millions of years, and it comes with a consequence.
That issue is scarcity. Previously, every thing in the universe was governed by supply, and the lack of it, which helped drive usage and demand. Social media, and things on the internet in general, don’t face such an issue. In fact, data is expanding at such an amazing rate that new companies are popping up every year in the new “big data” sector to try to sort through and manage all of it. But, what does that mean for your business?
It means that standing out from the crowd is harder than ever. Since scarcity isn’t an issue with social media, users are constantly looking for something fresh and new. They don’t want to see you re-posting the same old concept or idea, and they don’t want to follow any company that doesn’t stand out and add value. And that brings the second part of why social media is by no means an easy thing to tackle: everybody’s using it.
Ladies and gentlemen this is a BATTLE of attention against all organisations not only those in your industrie…
This is great in one way as it means your business has the potential to reach millions and millions of users. But, so do your competitors.
Social media has no barriers to entry–literally anyone can get online, create a “branded” profile and call themselves a small business. In fact, with the tools available today (and the majority of them for free), anyone can set up an Ecommerce store or website. It’s incredibly simple. And that’s great for the economy, but it’s not so great for your social media and content strategy.
In order to overcome these hurdles, you need to stand out.
How do you Stand Out?
There is no one concrete answer to the question, “How do I make my business stand out?” That’s because every business is (or, at least, should be) unique. With every unique business, there needs to be a unique approach taken to how they post, what they post, when they post, and who they are targeting. Being too broad is one of the biggest and most common mistakes made in business, and it’s one you’ll certainly want to avoid.
So, if you’re wondering how exactly you can make your business stand out, begin by recognizing that it’s not going to be by following a pre-made “proven to work” blueprint like the ones you can buy from internet marketers out there. Anyone who tries to sell you a “winning strategy” or pre-made plan should be blacklisted in your inbox because they have absolutely nothing of value to offer you. Instead, if you’re looking for professional guidance, you should be spending your money on a business consultant or looking for a mentor who will come up with something custom and tailor-made for your business.
Figuring out how to stand out from the crowd will actually work out best if you, the business owner, do it yourself. After all, you are the one with the vision of where you want your business to go inside your head. You know your industry inside and out, and you know what you want to achieve. With that information in mind, you already have a huge advantage over most of the businesses (and so-called businesses) on social media who have no plan of action whatsoever.
- Figure out who your Target Audience is.
Therefore, the first step to standing out is to figure out who you want to stand out to. This means narrowing down your customer base down to the final detail. Doing so will enable you to find the right voice to speak to your ideal audience while also allowing you to do effective paid targeting (if you so choose). To figure out who your ideal customer is, you need to:
- Have a clear concept of who you are as a business, and what problem your product or service is solving for your user.
- Figure out what demographic most often experiences that problem, and what specific qualities your ideal customer will have (location, age, education, etc.) Check out my Buyer Persona article for further Guidance.
- Do your research and find out what this ideal customer does on social media. What sort of content do they respond to? What are your successful competitors doing to get a hold of this customer? Social Bakers can help with insights.
- Figure out how you’re going to present your business.
Now, before you can move on to actually posting anything, you need to finish your preliminary work by figuring out how you’re going to present your business and the information you share. This is all about knowing your vision and being familiar with it. By the end of this step, in case you hadn’t already, you should have a crystal clear idea of what your brand will represent and a killer content strategy.
This step and the first one will go hand-in-hand. As you research your ideal customer, you will start to sort out what voice your brand needs to take on, and vice versa. At the end of the day, your business needs to be human in order to provoke emotion and trust in your client base, but there’s more to it than that. Your business needs to develop a personality, so do your research and figure out what exactly your brand is going to represent.
- Figure out what content you need to create
The idea is to stand out, and it’s simply not possible if you are just mimicking the ideas of your competitors. You need to be ahead of the curve so that your business is the one offering something new and exciting that other businesses are going to want to copy. This takes knowing not only what sort of content works best for your competitors, but also by knowing what your customers want to see.
This step is the key to figuring out how to make your business stand out from the crowd. To do so, you need to always be studying and adapting to the successful work of your competitors while also showing your own creative side by coming up with innovative strategies.
To get this process started, here are some broad category ideas that can lead you down the path to creating specific content and knowing exactly what to create:
- Behind-the-scenes: Increase engagement, provoke emotion, and connect more closely with your followers by offering a sneak-peak into your business. Who’s being the desk chair? Introduce your staff, show pictures of product development, and share stories (with permission) of your favorite clients or projects. People love getting to see the hidden side of things and learning more about your processes and motivation for doing it all.
- Questions: Social media isn’t just a one-way pipeline. One of the most alluring things about social media is that it allows for direct interaction between people and businesses. Ask your followers questions about upcoming product lines, or even make a relevant poll about their opinion on something happening in your industry.
- Information: If you offer real value to your followers–especially if it’s not hidden by fluff/filler or a barrier–you will quickly begin growing as an authority figure within your niche. You don’t have to write a book, just offer a quick tip or piece of advice relevant to your business that users will find helpful.
- Humor: Remember, being human is the key to good branding. And part of coming off as a friendly and approachable brand is by offering a bit of comedic relief every so often. Also keep in mind that, in general, staying away from politics and pressing issues is good advice to follow whether you’re cracking a joke or not.
- Contests: Every once in a while, doing a contest or giveaway can really drive up engagement with your brand and add to the fun. A contest can quickly go viral if you do it right. For instance, a beauty company might giveaway a gift set to the winner of a contest that asks them to take three pictures of their beauty routine using their favorite branded product. This helps spread awareness, increase sales, and up brand loyalty.
Again, these are the starting points for finding a wealth of innovative content approaches within your niche. The idea is to mix them up and rotate between all of these types of content, and more. If you do your research, you will easily be able to come up with fresh content month after month that will grow your channels. Content Calendars are key and really help the process.
So, while you might have joined social media some time ago, chances are you never really took the right approach to getting your social media channels off the ground in a way that will propel your business’ growth forward. If that’s the case, there’s no need to start over. Start from wherever you’re at, whether you have a brand-new social media account or one that’s 1, 3, or even 5+ years old. The most important thing is that you do your research and get to know your audience.
Once you get going and start posting interesting content regularly by taking on your secondary role as a media company, you’ll see your social media channels begin to grow organically. And with that, you’ll see your business start to grow too.