How to differentiate your company on social media
Anne Kiely is a Content Operations Intern and writer at Ready for Social.
Posting online can feel like shouting in a packed stadium. The immense range of articles, posts and videos available on the internet makes it difficult to be heard. However, not all content is substantial and original, and high-quality work is still in demand. If you can differentiate yourself and your company from similar voices online, building an audience will be easier than you may expect.
The strategies below can help you find your voice and create fresh, compelling content.
Acknowledge the crowded landscape
To be original, you need to know what you’re differentiating yourself from. When developing content, start by researching pages with a focus similar to yours. Competitors’ social media accounts, industry blogs, Google searches and news sites can help you understand the current discourse in your field. It’s important to know what your viewers already see in order to create something distinctive.
Since the content landscape is crowded, don’t be afraid to repeat your business’s purpose and central messages often. It’s great if you have returning readers, but the majority of your audience is likely to encounter only a few of your posts rather than seeking out every update. You need to make sure people who are casually browsing can still make sense of your content, so it’s fine to repeat the basics of your business and the essence of what makes you different.
Find what makes you unique
Of course, you need to establish what your differentiating factors are. Even if your company’s services are fairly similar to your competitors’, vivid examples of your advantages will help you stand out. For example, the menu at Wendy’s is not too different from other fast-food chains. However, their famous Twitter account often emphasizes that they never use frozen hamburger meat. This concrete policy helps them support superior taste and quality claims, which can often be difficult to prove.
In Ready For Social’s case, we are one of many companies that curate content for social media, but curating by hand instead of through algorithms is a feature that sets us apart. If your business has a similar edge or specialty, such as superior material sourcing, personal connections to the small businesses you serve or decades of experience in a market with many newcomers, be sure to highlight it when you post online.
One advantage of finding a niche is that narrowing the focus of your content doesn’t necessarily narrow your audience. While some readers may be seeking knowledge they can use directly in their jobs, others simply want to find interesting news that’s relevant to their industry as a whole. For example, some companies serve a particular segment of their market, such as HR and personnel needs related to top-level executives. Even though they share content with a limited focus, these companies can still reach a broad audience, such as people interested in human resources. In fact, their unique angle on the field often makes the content they share more appealing since they provide a new take on common narratives about the industry.
Tackle interesting questions
Many companies’ posts and articles tell the same stories of innovation, triumph and excellence. While you should portray your business in a positive light, it’s also all right to discuss real challenges and issues you face. For instance, a telecommunications company might notice that many of its competitors emphasize the cutting-edge, futuristic qualities of 5G connectivity. To present a fresh perspective, they could acknowledge that broadband access is unequal throughout the country while highlighting their efforts to support underserved communities. Posting about essential topics that aren’t frequently discussed can help make your content worth reading.
In a sales landscape where many claims are vague, it’s beneficial to take a definitive stance. For example, at Ready For Social, we realize that prospective clients have a limited budget for taking on new services. Instead of sticking to a standard statement about the importance of online selling, we acknowledge that companies are considering other solutions, such as simply hiring more salespeople. In one of our blog articles, we directly addressed companies’ tendency to increase the size of their sales team in response to low revenue. We argued that it could often be more effective to instead give each existing salesperson the tools they need to succeed—which is exactly our role. To convert prospects, make specific, meaningful claims, and think critically about how readers may respond to them.
You can also add variety by thinking creatively about how your field relates to other industries, current news and historical events. If your company manufactures pharmaceuticals, you could create a post about a recent patent that touches on the role of intellectual property protection across different fields. If you work for a software firm, you could consider writing about how a given coding language broadens the possibilities for programming. Drawing connections between your area of expertise and other subjects will show that you love learning and sharing ideas, making you an exciting person to follow and hear from.
Use varied types of media
Written posts and articles are a solid foundation for any social selling program, but varying the media you produce can help attract new attention. Photos and graphs can bring your articles to life. Different article formats, such as expert interviews, guest-written blogs and survey results, are also eye-catching. Videos and podcasts are engaging for viewers and listeners, as well as fun for you and your team to create. “Talking head” videos, in which a person speaks to the camera, are an excellent investment because you can produce them easily. At the same time, their conversational style helps viewers get to know you.
Additionally, you can differentiate your business on social media by exploring new features. Use the “stories” feature on Instagram and Facebook to post spontaneous updates or conduct informal polls on platforms that allow you to share the results. These options can show a more personal side of your business and attract returning traffic to your page. When combined with more substantive content, brief and frequent posts can help keep your business in customers’ minds.
It’s time to get creative
The competitive digital marketplace makes it necessary to differentiate yourself by finding a niche and contributing real insights. Even if you need to work harder than ever to distribute your message, genuine creativity remains valuable and worthwhile. By offering useful information in an interesting way, you’ll build credibility for your business and create opportunities for connection with potential customers.
How have you differentiated your business when posting content online? Let us know below in the comments section.
Photos by Eric Prouzet on Unsplash; Noah Näf on Unsplash; Randy Fath on Unsplash; and Dan Meyers on Unsplash