In an online world of "more of the same," differentiation is a must.But standing out can be tough.Digging deep and finding the magic that makes you shine, and then sharing it in a consistent voice, is critical.So how can you use social media to your benefit?Quickly overcome your competition and position your business or brand as the go-to leader within your industry or niche.Just follow these 12 steps to get started!
How to Outshine Your Competition Online
1. Define Your Shine
Defining and consistently sharing your unique message creates differentiation. It is an identifier, relaying the special skills, talents and magic that is the brand called you.Whether you are a writer, a marketer or a small business owner, controlling that perception is vital. Begin to develop your personal brand by asking a few questions:
- What is my greatest strength/weakness?
- What unique ability do I bring to the table?
- What differentiates me from my competition?
- Am I innovative or traditional in thinking?
- How do I prefer to communicate?
- What are the needs of my consumer that I can solve?
2. Find Your Voice
There is a lot of talk in the online world about "finding your voice." If that term leaves you scratching your head, let me clarify.Finding your voice simply means taking your special qualities, those things that make you magically and wonderfully you and then expressing them in a tone that is true to who you are.In essence, it is translating what makes you awesome, translate that across your social networks in a real and authentic way.Remember, social media moves at a rapid pace. If you are not a direct reflection online of who you are offline, your message will get blurred and sharing that message unfailingly becomes very difficult.
3. Share Your Story
In our often chaotic and hectic online world, slowing down and taking the time to take people on your journey is critical. A great way to give potential customers a more intimate look into your business is to use video.Share who you are, what you are all about it, and who you can help. Offer tips, advice, updates and relevant content in a short, easy to consume format.Not only does Google love video making it great for SEO purposes, but embedding YouTube videos into you website increases views and personalizes the user experience.
4. Establish Your Brand Look and Feel
Your look and feel is the visual definition of your online brand. From your website to your social networks, your online presence should express a consistent theme.This includes your logo, website, blog, and any images shared on social media. In fact, images are an enormous opportunity to connect fans to your brand.Whether it is a picture promoting your latest blog post or a custom image around your most recent product, stay true to the look and feel that best represents your company.
5. Be Descriptive
In the online world, what you say is almost as important as what you don't say. To stand out, you need to stand up and make people take notice.But choose your words wisely!Be descriptive when sharing details about you and your business in a positive, upbeat and expressive way. People love hearing about your many successes, awards and wins within your business.Descriptive words and phrases stimulate interest by appealing to the five senses.Expressing how something makes you feel or how you see something acts as a conversation starter. Not only can it work to bond readers and potential clients to you and your business, but it offers unique insight into what makes you tick.
Remember: the traits that define you also distinguish you from the competition.
6. Embrace Your Unique Abilities
Social Media platforms are an excellent way to share your message, your talents and special skills on a daily basis. Love to help local businesses with their offline marketing? Don't just promote it, but share how you can help their specific needs.I know it can be hard to toot your own horn, but sometimes it's a must. When you're using social media for business purposes, you must be clear in what you bring to the table. Always the answer the why behind potential client questions.
- Why would they want to work with you?
- Why choose you over the competition?
- Why is your business the best fit to fulfill their needs?
7. Create a Memorable Experience
Take a moment and think about the last experience you had with a business or brand. What stands out in your mind and how did it make you feel?Creating a memorable experience allows customers to emotionally connect with your business. It's a personal connection that taps into the five senses we discussed above.Why is this important? Because...While there is always a lot of talk about exceeding client expectations, creating a memorable experience is so much more than that.It requires that you have a deep understanding of who your clients are, how you can best serve them, and how you will provide what they need, when they need it.
8. Captivate, Engage and Inspire
You only have a few moments to capture someone's attention, so what you say better be captivating and engaging.Take a look at the homepage of your website, your "About" page, and each social media bio. Does it feel stiff, unfriendly and ooze of marketing speak? Give it a refresh and work to infuse your personality into every word you write.People connect with people. Make sure you are giving enough information away about you and your business that they want to connect with you from one online property to the next.
9. Stay Current and Relevant
Times change, industries change, people and their needs change.Make sure you consistently review your online properties; including your website, blog and social media sites.Update any out-of-date information, and dust off your about page and bios. Keep your verbiage fresh and relevant to your target market.
10. Variety is the Spice of Life
Just because you found your voice and defined your brand look and feel, does not mean you can't change up your presentation from time to time.Social media is fluid. Therefore, your marketing methods must be agile and willing to adjust to change.Displaying different sizes and colors of the same product is known to attract clients who will come back for more and therefore differentiating your brand from others.
11. Be Available and Accessible
When was the last time you did a website review? How easy is it for potential clients to connect with you, ask questions, or follow you on social media?Allow anyone landing on your website to know exactly how you prefer to connect online and what the best form of communication is when it comes to contact.There's nothing worse than sending consumers on a hunt-and-peck mission to track you down. More than likely, they'll leave your website frustrated and eager to move on to your competition.
12. Study Your Competitors
Learn from the best!Whether on a local or national level, there are so many businesses and brands who are making a huge impact on social media. Learn who your competition is and spend time identifying what sets them apart.Study the good and bad. How are they leveraging social media, and where is your opportunity to outshine your competition online?
About Rebekah Radice
Rebekah Radice, co-founder of BRIL.LA, has traded narcissism for purpose. When not driving growth, you'll find her tricking family into thinking she's Emeril Lagasse - likely covered in marinara. The spotlight was fun, but impact is better. These days she's using 20+ years of brand brilliance for good.