How to Set Yourself Apart in Today’s Highly Competitive Online Market

Social media has taken on a life of its own. And with that, it has changed the way we engage and communicate through our words to the online world. The way we communicate can help us stand out online even when our given field or niche is saturated.

Today, let me share with you 3 specific ways you can communicate on social media that will help set you apart and help you to be #BeDifferent and #BeWorthFollowing.

Transparency is a must: Businesses can no longer hide the interactions that take place when a disgruntled customer comes along. Customers are putting it all out on social media and the way a business responds speaks volumes to everyone that is watching.  And customers today are expecting to get their questions and needs met online. They expect online customer service from the companies that they do business with.

“In their 2014 State of MultiChannel Customer Service report, researchers at Parature (a Microsoft company) asked 1,000 consumers whether they ever asked a customer service question via social media. Thirty-five percent responded that they had. Of these respondents, 51% reported that the brand’s response gave them a ‘somewhat more’ or ‘much more’ favorable view of the brand” (Social Media Examiner).

Additionally, businesses now have to come to terms (quickly) when they make an embarrassing gaffe online. For instance, when Total Beauty “confused comedian and actress Whoopi Goldberg, 60, with media mogul Oprah Winfrey, 62” during the Oscars this past Sunday. Even though they deleted the tweet, it was too late; thousands had already seen it, captured it and were responding to it.

Key Questions:

  • Do you have a strategy in place and/or a key person that handles the customer service inquiries that your platforms will bring you?
  • When someone posts a bad review about your business, your brand, what is your initial thought? Do you delete it and hope no one sees it or do you choose to respond in a way that sheds light on the values of your business?

Storytelling is a high priority: The sole purpose of social media is not about selling, but rather, engaging and creating a community that eventually comes to trust you and eventually wants to do business with you.

Additionally, gone are the days of posting a graphic with the SAME exact copy you have on your social media post (and yes, there are MANY who are doing this on a daily basis). There has to be more depth, more insight, and more realness.

To communicate effectively on social media, businesses today have to learn the skill of “telling a true story well” (Everybody Writes, Ann Handley).

Author Ann Handley of Everybody Writes goes on to say, “Storytelling as it applies to business isn’t about spinning a yarn or fairy tale. Rather, it’s about how your business (or it’s products and services) exist in the real world: who you are and what you do for the benefit of others, and how you add value to people’s lives, ease their trouble, help shoulder their burdens, and meet their needs.”

Key Questions:

  • Do you use the same copy that is on your graphics, in the copy of the post too? Why?
  • What stories can you begin sharing on your platforms?

Personality sets you apart: Truthfully, most people are put off by corporate jargon and business talk. Again, they are looking for realness. They want to make a connection with a human being, not a brand, not a logo. They are done with the sales pitch. They want real words, real emotions and a real personality.

Personality is one of the key things that can differentiate your business and let me warn you, it takes time. They key to knowing the personality of your business, is by knowing who you are and what it is that makes you unique and different. We have to move away from copying what works for someone else, and instead, focus on the uniqueness that we bring to our businesses and profiles and then sharing that personality through our words.

One of the best ways to get started with this is to take some time to write down 5 adjectives that describe who your business is and then write down 5 adjectives describing who your business is not. This will help move your forward as you look to “find” the personality of your business.

And please, make sure you are not using any of these overused words and/or phrases. Remember, be unique and be different.

Picture1Key Questions:

  • What 5 adjectives describe your business? Why?
  • What 5 adjectives do not describe your business? Why?
  • Are you using any of the overused words/phrases from above?

Is it possible to set yourself apart in our overly saturated social media world? You bet! But, it will take work. The question you have to ask yourself is, “are you willing to do the work that is required?”

Jen Bennett

Dr. Jen Bennett is the Social Media/Communication Specialist and Project Manager at iBloom. Jen’s passion is helping businesses, ministries and individuals, #BeWorthFollowing. Jen enjoys speaking, training, and writing on all things that inspire and help leaders build a digital footprint and personal brand that is different and that helps them stand out and influence people in a crowded and noisy social media world.

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