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Exceeding Expectations in the Sea of Social Media Sameness

Ice cream cone, popsicle, huge bowl of ice cream

It’s time to get social. With more than 1.86 billion monthly active users on Facebook, 700 million on Instagram, and 328 million on Twitter, companies quickly are realizing the importance of increasing and optimizing their social media presence. Brands now must out-do their competition in the digital realm to stay relevant and capture audience attention. Standing out in the sea of social media sameness isn’t easy, but with an innovative strategy, a brand can make serious waves.

Why focus on social? Today’s consumers want – and expect –companies not just to meet their needs, but to far exceed them. It’s no longer simply enough to keep up with the Joneses by having a presence on social media – a brand must now provide additional value if they want users to remain engaged. This “value” isn’t just information; it can, and should, be entertaining and spark an emotional connection.

How are brands setting themselves apart? For some, appealing and original content is their differentiator, for others, it’s an above-and-beyond social customer service model or tailored voice. While there’s no perfect formula for standing out on social, begin by evaluating your brand’s assets and appropriately utilizing them to your advantage.

Start by developing a digital persona (no one wants to engage with a dull robot account). Could your brand push the envelope by adopting a sarcastic voice? Maybe you need to grab your audiences’ attention by showcasing some sass. Wendy’s made headlines earlier this year by replying to Twitter trolls with equally cheeky comments. Or maybe your brand would fit better with a “wiz-kid” persona, or maybe a “sophisticated twenty-something” voice. Either way, envision the figure behind your keyboard and develop a unique brand voice that matches its persona. This will resonate with users more than content void of any personality.

What about the more corporate/professional brands? Just because a brand’s culture is more professional doesn’t mean it can’t have a unique digital persona or voice. Sure, a snarky or overtly witty persona may not match your brand’s culture, but that’s no excuse for not having a distinct voice. “Modern and sophisticated” or “mature and experienced” may appeal to your target audience and be the perfect online persona for your company. All brands have a personality; the key is identifying those distinct quirks and translating them to social.

If it makes sense for your brand – try it. Another way to stand out in the overwhelming social media sea is to utilize new channel functionality. Top social channels also are feeling the pressure to outperform their competitors, and as a result constantly are releasing new features and algorithm changes. Benefit from this proverbial social media rat race by using these updates to capture user attention and engagement! Features like Facebook and Instagram live, Boomerangs, Instagram stories, and Facebook profile frames are subtle ways to take advantage of fresh social media capabilities, while setting your brand apart from the rest. No one wants to be a social media laggard, so if a new feature makes sense for your brand, don’t hesitate – try it!

As more and more brands understand the utility in social media, the need to stand out has never been higher. Through tactics like implementing a distinct brand voice and seizing the opportunity to try new channel features, companies organically can increase following and engagement.