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How to Stand Out in a Flooded Market
5 Tips to Be Original and Put Yourself in the Spotlight
‘Get online’ they said, ‘build a website’ they told me, but now what?
Marketing in today’s flooded marketing landscape is more complicated than ever. These days, everyone is online; literally. Your kids, your favorite television shows, your parents. By now, just about everyone you can think of, has a Facebook page; even dear old, sweet Aunt Edna who insists on signing her posts with ‘Love, Aunt Edna’.
Social media has evolved into quite a clever marketing tool. Quite frankly, your marketing plan is nothing without it but proceed with caution, you’ll need to do more than simply set up a Facebook page, to be found. You’re going to have to stand out in a sea of look-alikes when marketing online. There are millions of brands out there vying for customers attention, make sure that your voice can be heard and your messages (read: awesome posts) can be seen.
Like everything else in this world, the landscape of social media is ever-changing. It’s a world inundated with brands and personas. Now, more than ever, it’s imperative that you stand out among the crowd and distinguish yourself as the expert that you are. In order to stand out, and be seen, you’ll need a few tricks up your sleeve. It takes a virtual village; things like an SEO expert, a social media wrangler, and a great message are helpful. But, if you don’t have all of those, these five tips can help.
1) Be uniquely, you. What do you offer that no one else can? Be sure to define yourself and define your brand. Once you find your voice, let it be heard, seen, and shared. The ultimate goal of any social media campaign is a shared post, preferably a viral one. That is the beauty of social media, you create, or even curate, the valuable content, and others will do the work for you. Your loyal followers will share that good stuff everywhere. But, first, you have to make sure that content can be found. Utilizing tools like hashtags and search tools can help to get the job done. These tools will put your posts out there and in the mix. Some well-timed SEO, shareable posts, and a consistent posting schedule will get you noticed.
2) Getting Social So, you’re online. You’ve got a website and a social media presence, so now what? For starters, make sure you are social. Be conscious of communicating with people who have taken the time to engage on your social channels. Make sure that you are striking up conversations with key influencers, gaining the right kind of followers, reciprocating social love by re-tweeting, commenting, and sharing their content. You are who you surround yourself with; it’s true in marketing as well as life. Make sure your online friends and followers are people who are interested in hearing what you have to say, they’re likely the ones who will continue to spread your message. A little ego fluffing never hurt either.
When it comes to social media, it’s important to be everywhere. It’s also a good idea to be where your competition is not. That’s advice worth taking, from Writer, Carol Tice: “Analyze what marketing methods your competitors are using, and look for the holes. Be somewhere they’re not — maybe on Pinterest, or YouTube, or bus boards.”1 Displaying your message boldly and remotely, in a place where your competitors are not, will likely make you shine. It’s also good to establish your niche, and decide, where exactly, you fit.
3) Nice niche. Do you have a niche? Do you have a specific category in which you identify would file yourself, your business, and your goals? If you don’t have a niche, find one. Finding your niche, or a place you identify with your brand, will set you apart and tell your customers everything they need to know. It’s also a great place to display your expertise. As a small business, you decide where you want to be, where you want customers to find you. It’s really up to you. Finding your niche and targeting your message will help to streamline your efforts and maximize your marketing budget. Neil Patel, an entrepreneur, shares the secret to low-budget marketing for businesses:
“Spending less money is the name of the advertising game for small businesses, so no wonder that guerrilla marketing can provide huge promotional benefits without taking a big bite out of your pocket book. In addition to that, guerrilla marketing is perfectly suited for small businesses that usually thrive on a local customer base. The other nice thing about guerrilla marketing is that it usually fits with your offline promotions. This means an idea that goes viral online or offline will transition to the other one without much effort. For example, this is what happens when you have couponing on Foursquare or QR readers. Sometimes magazine ads will encourage readers to text to watch a short documentary.”2
4) Be consistent. Now that you’ve found your voice, and your niche, don’t change it for anyone. Give your audience (read: your customers) exactly what they’ve come to expect, every time. Keep your message and your tone consistent. When you do this, you’ll be sure not to disappoint your customers.
So, how will you tell your story? Testimonials are nice, and customer reviews are great. Telling your wonderful story is effective, but allowing your satisfied clients to tell it for you, is even better. “You can always find an interesting way to tell your story” suggests entrepreneur, Josh Linkner, “If you really think about who your clients are and what makes your product special, there’s a unique twist you can employ to move the needle. Turn your thought process upside down and get down to its core. Then, rally your team around a creative solution to market your service to the world – the world is waiting to see what you come up with!”3
Encourage your customers and social media followers, to comment and share, often. Let your best customers be your voice, let their positive comments and conversation flood your page. Consider, experimenting with a hashtag for positive reviews, and be sure to have a plan in place, to avoid having negative or inappropriate comments from taking over.
5) Content is still king. The content that you share is important. If you’re looking for unique content and want to wow your followers and loyal customers, consider real stories. Shine the light on your business from another angle, maybe a glimpse behind the scenes. When you connect with your customers, on a personal level, you give them a reason to care. It’s the reason they follow you on Instagram, or Pinterest. Be sure, that in between the branding and marketing posts, you throw in a picture of your morning cup of coffee, or a sunset from your recent vacation, now and again. “Take advantage of the increased real estate you have with the Instagram web page to tell a story with the images. Have a healthy balance of fun images and business pictures,”4 suggests journalist/blogger, Rachel Sprung.
It’s true, making your customers privy to your pursuit of an awesome personal life can reflect who you are as an entrepreneur. Just ask entrepreneur, Thomas Edwards, who suggests, “Pursue an awesome personal life. People are attracted to your lifestyle just as much, if not more than your work ethic and ambition. Entrepreneurship is a grinding journey, but never let that prevent you from enjoying the experience. Doing activities beyond building your business can humanize you and your product.”5 With social media, you can show and tell as much, or as little, of your personal life as you choose.
What are you sharing, is it worthy? Is it relatable? Is it shareable? Gear your content; whether original or curated, to the audience you have built. Give them what they’ve come to expect from you, as a brand. When it comes to content, consider the possibilities of the world of digital magazines and eBooks. That’s what Writer, Amy Lawson suggests: “Lots of business owners are still not conversant with the potential of digital magazines and what their business stands to gain from them. Publishing a digital magazine is a creative marketing idea that can enhance the prospect of any business and allow it to attain greater height within the shortest possible time.”6
It’s also a great way to distinguish yourself as an expert and a published one, at that. Your digital magazine is a viable, shareable content magnet that can also result in additional income.
Whatever you do, in your pursuit to get noticed and stay relevant, be sure to shine a spotlight on everything worth sharing with your past and potential customers. Let your name become synonymous with that of a reachable and valuable business. When other people see those positive interactions, they’ll want to be a part of what’s happening.