5 ways businesses can stand out on social media
Last month, we kicked off Edinburgh Gossip Girls' Breakfast Club—a series of events geared towards helping women in business. Our 90-minute session covered how to brand yourself and your business, online and in-person. We received an abundance of emails post-event in relation to the former. "How can my business stand out on social media?" was the most popular question. As the social media platforms become more and more saturated, we've decided to outline five ways you can make your business cut through the noise and stand out.
Social media is the key conduit between businesses and consumers. Businesses are engaged in what seems like an ever-escalating fight to stand out in the feeds of their fans and followers. Competition ranges from rivals to influencers and celebrities—not to mention users' family and friends.
The social media platforms change the rules daily. Algorithms are frequently manipulated in order to determine what surfaces in users' feeds. At the beginning of 2018, Facebook began promoting "meaningful interactions"—a phrase that many are still trying to decode.
DON'T DUPLICATE CONTENT
It's time to stop duplicating one piece of content across all of your social media platforms. Forgo a broad social strategy for tailored campaigns that target a single platform. Produce visually-rich images for your Instagram feed, while documenting spontaneous moments via Instagram Stories. Have a quick-witted Twitter team to handle all customer service enquiries and complaints. People read more on Facebook so post news related to your business and links to blog posts there. You need to spread (and tailor) your brand's messaging across all social media platforms. This will enable you to build a strong following across the board.
ENGAGE WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
Remember, when it comes to social media, active engagement trumps passive consumption. Your primary aim should always be to get your audience to talk back. Consider it an opportunity for you to build deeper relationships with your audience. We consider our social media a place to promote our work, as well as the work of others. Although we regularly share content, most of the action happens in comments and through direct messages.
BUILD RELATIONSHIPS WITH INFLUENCERS
According to Launchmetrics, 78% of businesses implemented influencer marketing campaigns in 2017. That's up 65% on the previous year. But the question that kept coming up again and again at our event last month was not whether to work with influencers, but how. The goal is to maintain a relationship with social media power users—big and small—to steer the conversation about your business. What's crucial is finding influencers who are right for your business and audience. Make sure that it's clearly communicated what results you need from the relationship, and what metrics you'll use to measure its success.
ENTICE YOUR CUSTOMERS TO DO THE WORK
Encourage your fans and followers to create content. With some users following hundreds, or even thousands of accounts, they'll miss the vast majority of posts. If groups of people are sharing content about a business, it's less likely to get lost in the noise. Make sure to repost this content—it'll encourage others to produce their own.
TAKE A STAND
With the humanisation of brands comes a responsibility to take a stance on things. Engage with the wider cultural zeitgeist. Support a charity. Comment on topical issues. Political activism is a natural outgrowth of businesses attempting to connect with their customers on a more personal level. Taking a stand on a particular issue might not directly affect sales, but it can help build loyalty, especially with younger consumers. Be mindful, though. Authenticity is something that consumers can spot in an instant. If something isn't authentic, it's going to be called out.
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