It is increasingly difficult to stand out on social media. Every day, as you cruise your favorite hashtags you stumble on some new, rising star in your niche. You worry that what you have to say isn’t as original as you thought. You fear that your unique voice blends with the thousands of others… so you are white noise.
It can feel like this online space is caving in on us. What can we do? Is it still possible to rise above the noise?
The answer is YES.
Think about your favorite niche or industry. It can be the one you work in, or a personal interest you like to follow. I’ll bet you can think of someone “new” to the scene that has an impressive following and loyal fans that wasn’t on the scene when you started.
It would be great if things were easier, and maybe you’ve found an uncrowded niche, but for most of us that won’t be the case. That’s ok. To stand out, you can’t do what everyone else is doing. I will share some ways to be different.
7 Ways to Stand Out on Social Media
1. Be Consistent
I have lost track of the many, many social media influencers that have come and gone since I started. Many of them had incredible content and were serving a deep need, but they gave up too soon.
If you watch closely, you see that most people aren’t that consistent with social media. If it was easy, everyone would do it. I don’t mean just consistently posting to social media, but also being someone that people can count on.
Do you show up with new long form content? Do you engage with people and answer comments and questions? Do you publish when you say you will? We are all looking for experts we can count on.
2. Create a Strong Visual Identity
You want people to recognize your work when they see it. In many niches, there are a lot of lookalikes. Be aware of what others in your niche are doing and do something different.
Your visual identity is made up of the colors, fonts, photography style, filters, logos and other design elements. Visual brand identity isn’t my area of expertise so I’ll wrap up here, but there are plenty of talented branding experts to guide you!
3. Do What Other’s Don’t/Won’t
Trends come and go! Consider what everyone else in your niche is doing. Is everyone blogging? Start a podcast or a weekly vlog. Are Facebook Groups overdone? Do a monthly live stream on your Facebook page.
Think of one small way you can delight your current audience and be known for that. One social media manager I know used to send out a monthly social media content calendar to her email subscribers for free.
4. Use Facebook and Instagram Ads
Hear me out. If you want to stand out on social media, what easier way to do that than picking EXACTLY who you get in front of?
With the advanced targeting options of Facebook and Instagram Ads you can get your content in front of your perfect audience.
No waiting for them to stumble on you, Google you, or see you in their Pinterest feed. You get to go to them.
[If you need help getting started with ads check out the beginner’s guide to Instagram ads.]
5. Niche Down
Then niche down again. Be the one that is known for “that” thing. Think about how crowded the fitness niche is. Be the one that helps women. Not just women – new moms. Not just new moms – new twin moms.
Niche down as far as you can. You don’t have to stay this niche forever, but it REALLY helps create momentum in your business in the beginning.
6. Serve Well
Too many people treat social media as a one-way funnel. “I will post this to bring traffic to my site/sell my product/get new followers.”
If you want to stand out, treat it like a two-way street. Social media is a way to share your message, but it also pays to listen and help. Think “how can I help today?”
Don’t make this part just lip service. Look for ways to help your audience in a meaningful way–they will not forget how you changed their life or business, even if it was in just a small way!
[Learn more about my recipe for creating GREAT social media content in this article.]
7. Know Your Audience
Know your audience. Know your audience. The easiest way to cut through the clutter is to be the one that understands your customer the best.
In fact, I teach my clients that social media should be one constant feedback loop. You are always pushing content out while also pulling in new information.
A beginner way to do this is to ask questions on your social media posts. Yes, this helps with engagement, which helps with algorithms and all that stuff… but the most IMPORTANT reason to ask questions is to create a dialogue with your audience.
Who are you without them, anyway? Your audience is your most important asset. Show them you care, learn about them, and use the information they give you.
More advanced ways to create this feedback loop are to ask strategic questions in your email auto-responder, segment your email subscribers, and conduct surveys.
I send the same survey out to my email list every year. It helps me get a good pulse on where my audience is in their business, how long they have been at this online business thing, and where they are struggling.
What Not to Do
When people are struggling to grow an audience, many will resort to sensationalism. “Maybe if I sound really, really excited, others will get excited too!” Enthusiasm is awesome, but one too many “stay tuned for my BIIIIIGGGGG news tomorrow” posts undercuts your credibility.
2. Copy Someone Else
So many pitfalls here. First, it’s probably obvious to the people you are trying to attract. Given the choice, people will stick with the trusted “original” with the bazillion followers because that they already have major social proof.
Second, it doesn’t feel authentic to you. Because your actions aren’t what you would normally do, it ends up not being sustainable. You pay more attention to your competitors than you do to your audience, which means you are missing out on many, many micro moments of influence.
3. Take People for Granted
We all have goals. We all have that dream of having 10k or 100k followers. But you know what they say: having 100 loyal, enthusiastic fans is better than having 1,000 that don’t care that much.
Quality over quantity always wins. When you have people reach out to you, share your work, and send you nice notes about how you helped them, etc. LEAN IN to that. Thank them and continue to serve them well.
What other ways can you think of to stand out on social media?
Molly Marshall teaches small business owners and online entrepreneurs how to systematically and simply grow a profitable online presence through social media. Get your FREE Instagram Strategy Guide now!