How much does your business stand out against your competitors?
There’s a lot of noise on social media at the moment. Every business is fighting to stay visible, make sales and stay afloat through this pandemic. So, standing out is no easy task.
READ ON to find out how to make YOUR business ‘stand out in the crowd’.
If you simply don’t have enough hours in the day or are lacking the expertise, contact Little Biz Marketing for additional support and a free 30-minute consultation.
Have you noticed how your social media feeds on Facebook and Instagram are crammed with advertising and repetitive sponsored posts all trying to sell? As a result, it’s very easy for your own business posts to get lost in the noise. Posting all the time can make your audience switch off because it feels very ‘spammy’ and nobody likes to be constantly sold to.
So, what can you do to compete with this noise and ‘stand out in the crowd?’
What does your current audience see and hear?
Ask yourself - how much do you stand out at the moment alongside your competitors?
DID YOU KNOW: 7 SECONDS is the amount of time you have to grab your target audience’s attention, make a first impression and convince them to take action.
Having a memorable brand is essential to making the most of those 7 seconds.
Your Brand Identity
When I talk about your brand I’m not just talking about your logo. I’m talking about your whole brand identity. It’s a bit like your shop window. What your customer sees (and feels) before they’ve even walked through the front door … that first impression.
Your brand identity includes your:
Logo (including colours and font styles)
Personality and values
Messaging and tone of voice
So, nailing your brand identity is crucial. To guarantee that when you post online, you STAND OUT and are recognised.
A brand kit is the resource that contains all the details of your brand identity in one place. It contains the visual elements of your brand, such as your logo(s), font(s), colour palette, and imagery.
Do you have a brand kit that you and your team use? It’s helpful that anyone who is the face of your business (whether on a reception desk, responsible for social media, answering the phone etc.) is speaking the same language. Do they:
Use the visual elements correctly (logo, colours, fonts, images)?
Understand your values and messages?
Know your business history and story?
Is your current logo still relevant? Does it demonstrate what you do? Or has your business changed?
Does it leave an unforgettable impression?
Does it stand out from your competitors? Does your audience recognise it as soon as they see it?
Is it consistent across all your social media?
Does it look fantastic on your signage and grab your audience’s attention?
Is it scalable so that it’s readable even when on a small mobile phone screen?
Does it look tired and dated?
The importance of consistency
DID YOU KNOW: Your potential customers make decisions with their subconscious brains? They are always looking for a shortcut to making choices. But consistency helps their subconscious brain make a decision.
You can demonstrate consistency through:
Your tag names on social media (eg. @littlebizmarketinguk)
Your visual style
Your messaging style and tone of voice
The time you post online (when your audience are online)
|You are demonstrating you have attention to detail||It comes across as unprofessional|
|You look professional||It confuses your audience|
|You build trust with your customer||It looks erratic and unpredictable|
|You make the customer's journey smoother|
Your messaging on social media:
What you are posting on social media at the moment is important and needs some planning and thought. No-one likes a spammy pammy (just firing out several ‘buy now’ posts during a random spare 10 mins).
Social media has gone a bit crazy this year. Sadly, no-one can wave a magic wand and beat Facebook’s algorithms, achieve consistent record numbers of likes and sales because we simply posted a great picture.
Before you start posting on every social media platform – ask yourself:
Do you understand WHO and WHERE your Customer ‘hangs out’
The average age of those on Facebook is 30-49.
The average age of those on Instagram is 18-29.
Do you know WHAT your ideal client needs?
WHAT information do they need or want to know?
Rather than sell and talk to everyone, try talking directly to your ideal customer.
Show your customer that you understand them. What’s their problem? How can you help them? You want them to read your post and immediately self-identify “Yes that’s me!”
Your audience may not even need your product or services right now, but by having a clear plan and making sure your branding and message STICKS when they see it, will guarantee these potential customers will remember YOU and return as paying customers when they are ready.
You now know WHO your audience is, WHERE your audience hangs out and WHAT your audience needs:
Have a strategy / plan. What’s your goal? What do you want to achieve from your posts?
Try to deliver your message in an engaging and unique way.
Have a selection of great images to choose from.
Be clear on what you want your reader to do next. What’s your CTA (call to action)? For example, ask a question that needs a response, make your reader react – buy here, follow this link for more information.
If you are currently unable to open / trade, do your best to stay visible and have an engaging online presence. Put a plan in place for when you reopen, so that you can hit the ground running.
Facebook & Instagram:
DID YOU KNOW: Customers only retain 20% of what they READ but recall 80% of what they SEE.
When creating content to post online, try to:
Use strong photography and images so that your audience will remember YOU.
Choose images that showcase your brand personality.
Include your logo on images. It protects your images and showcases your business.
Make it personal by showing people’s faces. They receive higher engagement.
How do you score?
Everything you do on Facebook and Instagram is being scored. The more features you use, the more they will favour you as a valued user and share your content. The rules and goalposts are constantly moving! Amongst other things you are scored on:
The quality of your posts and the value they bring.
How you engage with others (commenting and liking their posts too).
Your use of stories.
Your use of videos.
What to post
Refer to my previous blog ‘Marketing Tips During Corona-virus Lockdown’ for post ideas on Facebook and Instagram.
I would suggest balancing any promotion with a non-sales post. Behind the scenes, introduce the staff, interesting industry fact, offer or competition, share reviews etc.
Consider running some paid advertising. You don’t have to spend a lot. Dip your toe in and experiment. Do your research beforehand by looking at your insights to see which previous posts have worked well. Use strong images to encourage this potential new audience to stop scrolling when your advert appears.
Use the Instagram stories feature (you can also share these to your Facebook business page). Stories stay visible for 24 hours. Use lots of different stickers available on these stories for more Instagram points (tag your location, include a hashtag, add stickers).
Schedule your Facebook and Instagram posts to be published at a time when your audience is online (you can work that out from looking at previous post insights). You can now schedule your posts on both Facebook AND Instagram using Facebook’s new ‘Business Suite’.
Give your website a social media audit:
Is your content up to date? Does it explain exactly what it is you do and what you offer?
Is your branding consistent?
Does it include relevant keywords and phrases throughout to support SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and Google rankings?
Does it include testimonials, case studies, award wins and evidence of great results?
Look at your analytics (your web host can send you a report).
Think of ways that you could enhance your website:
Include a Gift Shop webpage (gift vouchers, experiences, branded merchandise).
Include a News and Blog webpage. It’s a great way to (1) position yourself as a credible business (2) gain more visibility (3) gain exposure with a new audience and (4) boost your Google ranking. You can write the content yourself or involve employees to contribute. Be sure to concentrate on high quality content. Purely promotional text will drive readers away, while entertaining and educational content will attract them.
Other ways to ‘stand out in the crowd'
Build Relationships with Local Press
It is possible to acquire free features in Magazines and Newspapers when you pay for advertising space. Alternatively, send a press release to relevant journalists. If it’s newsworthy they might contact you for free inclusion. Investigate affordable online paid features with magazines which will have a longer shelf life (a printed magazine may end up in the recycling after a week or so).
DID YOU KNOW: Journalists hang out on Twitter. Familiarise yourself with them and the articles that they produce. Start relationship building. If you have a newsworthy feature suggestion, contact them in advance. Invite them to events. Search #JournoRequest to keep up to date with potential stories they are looking for. But make sure you only respond if relevant.
Build Relationships with Bloggers
There is a valuable network of relevant local digital bloggers for every topic. Engage with them and invite them to visit / send them a sample in return for a feature. Don’t know where they are? Check out who’s been blogging for your competitors.
Investigate if there may be local radio opportunities. Advertising may be worth considering (and not as expensive as you may think) or you may have something relevant or newsworthy for one of their shows.
Videos rank highly throughout social media. Consider virtual tours, video diaries, interviews with staff members, a look behind the scenes and demonstrations are some suggestions.
Face to Face
When you are able, consider invites to attend conferences or networking events.
- You are unique – there is no ‘one size fit all.’
- Any marketing strategy can take 3-6 months to start seeing results.
- STAY VISIBLE, STAY IN PEOPLE’S MINDS, BE YOU.
Little Biz Marketing
t: 0770 949 3042