Building a brand that's relevant, memorable and valuable online requires a lot more than fancy visuals, fast-moving video or knowing how to play the latest Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn algorithms.
Standing out from the digital noise requires more than hopping on the latest social shiny technology object. At core you have to earn attention, then trust and inspire subsequent action.
Social currency on the web today = attention + action. You need both, and to achieve this, you need to learn how to connect with humans in a real way. You have to know how to leverage the technology to be more human, make people laugh, share your story and inspire them to take action.
Here are 20 ways you can bust right through the digital noise to grow your business.
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1. Be authentically you
There is only one you, so be that person, period.
The best way to attract your ideal customer, which will create energy, mutual joy and value, is letting your true colors shine. Don’t pretend you're someone, or some brand that you're not. Find your authentic voice, personality and tone and share that worth the world.
Life and business work so much better when lived in high human definition, with no filters. Share your story, and invite, engage and bring others with you for the journey.
Let them help build you. When you win, they win also.
2. Find where your passions intersect with the opportunity to create and drive business results
When you're ignited by your passions, your energy, excitement and happiness will often exude from your being. Customers will feel this and be attracted to work with you.
3. Create a content calendar and plan
Though it may seem fun to wake up every morning and spontaneously post content to your many social profiles, your results will increase exponentially if you take the time to plan out your content.
The more you can focus on the right audiences, objectives and strategies to attract your ideal audience, the more successful you'll be.
4. Know and love your audience
Think about the brands you love. What is it about them that attracts you to them?
The more you know your audience and ideal customer, the better you can create content, products and services which connect with them in meaningful ways.
Personal experiences make your brand more relevant and memorable. Look to create consistent, meaningful and unique experiences which will separate you from the crowd of status quo.
5. Know your value
You also need to know your greatest strengths and weaknesses, which will highlight your key opportunities to improve.
When you're crystal clear on the value you provide to your ideal audience and customers, your content will pop out to them in a positive way. They’ll be thinking “hey… that brand has just what I need now”.
6. Know the goals your audience has for life or business
We must inspire our audiences to connect with us with a goal of helping them achieve their objectives.
When we do this, we also achieve ours by default, as they are both one and the same.
Inspire – Connect – Achieve.
7. Create content that helps your audience achieve their goals
How can you help them save time, make more money, lose weight, feel better, get more sleep - the list goes on.
You need to know what they want, then create content that will help them achieve their biggest dreams. Then create more content that provides the path, roadmap and actionable steps to help them get to the desired state or level of success they're seeking.
8. Create content that inspires and empowers
Knowledge is power. Inspire your audience to take action with content that empowers them to win.
Inspiration does not equal a link to your blog post or sales page - you need to truly connect with the heart if you want to stomp the status quo.
Create content that's easy to digest, share and remember. Inspirational quotes or short stories that people connect with are both great ways to create meaningful and inspirational content, without spending a ton of time.
9. Get visual… as in really good visuals
Don’t simply post the same ol’ same ol’ stock images and creative for your content, blog posts, videos, Instagram, Linkedin and email newsletters.
By planning out your content in advance, you can ensure that your visuals are new and fresh, and stand out in busy feeds.
10. Double down on one specific industry or niche
Get laser-focused on a niche in which you have experience - and ideally case studies.
You should aim to become the “go to” leader and trusted advisor in your industry. Narrow your focus to streamline and prioritize content creation, influencer marketing and all areas of promotion, advertising and marketing.
11. Double down on one or two social networks
In our training sessions, we teach attendees a three-tiered approach to prioritizing social networks.
It’s always better to start with one or two social networks where you can have a major presence, versus spreading yourself too thin across more than you have time or budget to achieve a measurable return on your investment.
Going deep can help you connect, authentically, with your target audience, and build a more human brand. Less truly is more in this respect.
12. Look for the cracks of opportunity competitors in your industry are missing
For example, we hopped on LinkedIn 14+ years ago when they were still in beta, and we’ve been building our community and network there since.
While others in our industry are just now realizing that LinkedIn is for far more than job searching - and that it’s now one of the best ways to connect with professionals - we already have a solid network, including 365,000 followers, and over 25,000 connections.
These connections have been nurtured for more than 14 years and deliver one of the highest ROIs of any social network our agency leverages.
13. Double down on one or two marketing mediums such as video, visual or audio
Have you thought about digging deeper into video and/or audio?
Choose one and find ways to leverage the content you already have to reach new audiences. Add another layer of context and relevancy to not only pull over your existing connections, and re-engage them with your brand, but also to connect with new people and make new friends.
14. Tap into the personal brand 'YOU' factor
People buy from people they know like and trust. When was the last time you woke up in the morning excited to talk to a logo on social media?
Invest in your personal brand and the payoffs will be significant in regards to building relationships, earning trust and growing your business.
Learn the difference between authenticity and transparency, and know that you don’t have to share everything you do 24/7 in order to build a rock-solid personal brand which generates result.
Prioritize social networks, content and mediums that will help you connect with your ideal audience, customers, influencers and partners you want to work with.
15. Power up with the OPC – 'Other People's Content and Community'
You don't have to embark on your digital and social media journey all by yourself - connect with other leaders in your industry, such as influencers and highly connected thought leaders, both online and offline.
Share their content, build relationships, then partner up for strategic, fun and inspiring co-marketing campaigns that ignite your combined audiences.
16. Leverage smart paid media and retargeting
Imagine capturing the attention of visitors to your website or blog multiple times after their initial or repeat visits?
You can tap into the power of social media paid advertising, as well as retargeting, in order to place paid advertisements in front of them on the other blogs, websites, and social networks they visit.
Retargeting works so well because you can target and connect with your audience by increasing brand impressions. It takes 6-7 brand impressions before someone will remember your brand.
17. Leverage data
While your competition is more worried about looking, sounding and performing like everyone else, dig deep into the data. When the market starts to shift, find out why. When you feel you're losing your edge, don't be afraid to pivot. However, leverage the data, and make the smart decisions that will help you not just survive, but thrive for both the short and long term.
Oftentimes, short-term sacrifices lead to long-term gains. Success in business today is more of a marathon than a sprint. To win the marathon, you have to keep yourself and your team educated and on top of the latest trends and best practices to become the leader in your market and niche.
18. Focus on the big picture and the big wins. Stop sweating the small stuff
The right baby steps that are aligned to the bigger vision will ensure you that you keep winning. Don't get down with small setbacks or short term losses. Imposter syndrome is real and can kill your creativity and confidence if you let it.
You will win and you will lose deals, and even social media followers. However, the world is big, and there will be more where those came from.
Stay focused on your goals, and don't give up.
19. Create once use many
Create pinnacle pieces of content which you can use over and over again. This doesn't mean you post the same piece of content repeatedly - instead, you can create amazing pieces of content that can be sliced, diced and served up in different formats, mediums, lengths and more.
Get creative and work smart. This will help you stay agile, while at the same time, building a solid foundation of evergreen content that can serve your audience for months and years to come.
20. Invest in humans
You can never go wrong by investing in the passionate human beings within your community.
Learn and understand who they are, why they're there, what they need, what they desire, who they hang out with, where they hang out with and more. The more you know about them, the better you can inspire, connect with and serve them.
Inspire – connect - achieve. That's the process you want to stick to, and the one that will ultimately set you up for optimal success.
A version of this post was first published on the Pam Moore's blog.