Do me a favor. Take a look at your latest tweets or Facebook posts. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Now, ask yourself this question: If I were to slap a different logo and brand identity on your Twitter or Facebook profiles, would I even notice a difference?
In other words, based on your content alone (and not your brand identity), is your content so unique, that it could only be associated with you?
This question is more important than 75% of the other marketing challenges facing brands on social media at the moment. Why is that? Far too often, we focus on building a unique “brand” without carrying that uniqueness over to our content.
I’m sure you’ve seen this happen many times before, even if you didn’t have a name for it. Two companies in the same niche, that are offering the same type of content, to the same audience. The only differentiating factor is their name and logo. How unique is that?
My point here is that we need to focus on building a portfolio of content that can stand out from the crowd. Create a voice for your content that is unique to you and your brand. Then, once you’ve found that voice, use it consistently. Every tweet, every status update, every blog post should sound like it was crafted in a style and tone that is unique to you and your brand.
Now, this isn’t a quick fix. It takes time and there’s always room for improvement. We’re in the same boat as you. We’re constantly trying to come up with fresh content and original ideas that will stand out from the crowd. We don’t want to be just another blog about social media marketing. Sometimes we win, sometimes we don’t.
But we’re trying. Each piece of content we create and share is crafted with these concepts in mind. We’re not tweeting just for the sake of tweeting. We’re not blogging just because we know we should. We do these things to provide true value to our audience, in a way that is different from others in our field.
So, look over your social profiles once again and ask yourself if you’re really differentiating yourself from the competition. If not, why would anyone follow you? Folks don’t want to follow the generic store brand. They want to follow the market leader, the brand that stands out from the rest. Be that brand.
Here are a few actionable tips to help you get there:
1. Decide on a voice and stick with it
Depending on your niche, you need to decide if you can and should be humorous, serious, or a mix of the two. Are you going to treat your audience like a close friend, or do you want to have more of a teacher-student approach? Ultimately, your voice is determined by your marketing goals and what you want to accomplish.
2. Be consistent in your interactions
If you become known as a brand that replies to every comment on your blog and responds to every mention on Twitter, keep it up. Don’t be sporadic with your engagement levels. Find a level of interaction that you can maintain and execute consistently.
3. Decide how often you’ll be self-promotional
Every brand is different, but at the end of the day, we all want the same thing. We want our audience to take some kind of action. Whether that action comes in the form of clicking on a link, downloading an eBook, buying a product, visiting a site, or anything else, there is always an end result we’re going after. That’s what marketing is all about.
Now, in getting to that end result, it is important not to push too much. We don’t want to come off as overly self-promotional. For us, we’ve found that if we share one self-promotional piece of content for every five or ten non-promotional items, we’re okay. For you, the numbers might be different.
4. Surprise your audience from time to time
If you’ve been following along, you’ll see a trend starting to appear in this article. It’s all about consistency. Be consistent in your voice, and your interactions and your level of self-promotional content. Consistency is one of the most important characteristics a brand can have if they want to succeed with social media. However, there is a time and place for what we like to call “random acts of social media kindness.”
You see, consistency is great, but if taken to an extreme, you can become stale and boring to your audience. That’s where the randomness comes in. Every now and then, it’s fine to post something totally off topic, as long as it still provides value to your audience. After all, you want your brand to be human, not robotic. Have a little fun with it.
Need ideas? Show what it’s like to work at your company. People love seeing behind the scenes. Post a video every now and then, if all you ever do is post articles. Have a social media contest. Thank a fan or follower at random. Give something away (like a t-shirt). These are just a few suggestions for creating a sense of random excitement within your social campaign.
This has been a difficult article to write, because it is an issue that is not easily corrected. Furthermore, it involves both consistency and randomness, which are commonly thought to be conflicting approaches to marketing. Hopefully you got the main idea that I was going for. Let me know what you thought of this. I’d love to hear from you and how you are using these approaches in your own campaigns.