Social media has become a significant factor in a company or industry’s marketing strategy. As the amount of individual social media users continues to increase, so does the amount of businesses in and out of your industry. It has never been more important to understand social media and to find ways to stand out in the ever-growing social media crowd. First you must understand your audience and goals, then you must try to find a way to set yourself apart.
In the article Getting Global with Social Media, Colette Mason and Ian Gibbins give some advice on how to stand out through social media and create a global presence for your brand. Social media provides a great way to reach out to audiences that have been difficult to reach out to in the past.
To make your social media presence work, you need to build a loyal and responsive following for your brand. You should focus on building and maintaining your relationships with three groups: existing customers, new prospects, and competitors/related businesses. Once you figure out what each group needs, you can plan your social media strategy and goals accordingly. It is important to set goals in order to measure the success of your outreach efforts in addition to making sure you have a plan on creating and maintaining your best social media presence possible.
After you set your goals and strategy, you need to find a following. Start looking to reach out to people with common interests to your target market and begin interacting with them. Look into what else your target audience is following, and begin to follow them too. As you set forth to find a greater following, make sure you are constantly questioning yourself. Ask questions such as, what are you looking to get out of this connection? Will this help with sales? Brand awareness? Loyalty? Why should these people or companies connect with you? What are they looking for from you? Asking questions will help keep you goal-oriented and on the right path.
And most importantly, always maintain 2-way interaction. Use social media as a means to engage and maintain your relationships. If you share helpful and relevant information and news, listen to your audience, and engage in storytelling, you’ll be more likely to engage and attract new fans/followers/consumers/customers. Social media is successful for promoting brands because relationships are developed and nurtured over time. It is important to continue nurturing these relationships, but it takes time and effort. In the end, properly maintained and practiced social media efforts can be quite positive for your brand while bringing forth new fans, followers and business opportunities.
Mike Lewis makes the point in his article Standing Out on the Social Web it is important to remember that you are not only fighting against your competitors for attention, you’re also fighting against every other industry and individual user. This makes one of the biggest challenges in using social media finding a way to differentiate yourself from everyone else.
Imitating those that have found successful social media strategies does nothing for your brand. Your brand will blend in among other imitators instead of standing you apart. It can be difficult to stand out however since the world of social media is full of mimicry. To stand out in social media is a daunting task. Begin by looking past practicing traditional marketing techniques. Instead you need to look for new techniques by shifting your vantage point from social marketing to revenue generation. By looking at your brand through the eyes of your audience and competitors, You need to shift your vantage point to first understand your audience and competition, and then look for a way in which you can stand out to them.
–posted by Megan Learn