by Tony Vidler
In order to be different, and stand out in a positive way in a crowded and noisy marketplace, it pays to do things a little differently to your key competitors. But just “A little differently” doesn’t mean you have to be radical.
The first step in working out how and where to do things a little differently is to look at what everyone else does, and then identify where there is opportunity to differentiate. The ideal place to experiment is when using social media for marketing purposes because that is even noisier, more crowded and far more time-sensitive than traditional media. Your content literally has potentially a far shorter life span when distributed through social media channels – it can be forgotten and the market has moved on in no time at all. So if you don’t quite get your differentiation tactics quite right you can adjust quickly with little harm done (unless you do something really outrageous and silly).
However, one of the major advantages of using social media is the introduction of the viral element – good content has the potential to travel a long way very rapidly. If you DO get a nice point of difference going in this sphere then there is every chance of you being noticed by far more prospects that any traditional advertising or marketing medium. It has extraordinary potential reach.
So where are the opportunities in social media to be different? Well, it doesn’t take long to realise that professional services use of digital marketing techniques has a definite “sameness” to it. Lots of technical content….announcements of changes in interest rates….or worse; announcements of no changes in interest rates whatsoever….hardly riveting or engaging stuff a lot of the time and it is clearly out of step with what many consumers are looking for when using social media.
Think about what your prospects search for, and the type of content they engage with and share, and you will quickly spot the opportunities to stand out. The stuff they like and share is:
Clearly many consumers are using social media as their news source too….so look for news that is authenticated and a little bit edgy.
While this all suggests that there is the obvious opportunity for providing good and thoughtful opinion in your area of expertise, there is a further opportunity for differentiation simply by engaging with your target audience, in your own unique tone & style. Being personal. Being personable. Humanising the brand if you prefer. Just being part a real person who fits their “community” is itself a point of difference and opportunity for acceptance.
So use social media as a way of being social which is enough to be just a little different to most professionals when it comes to digital engagement, and that may well be enough in itself to help you stand out.
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