If you’re like me, you follow some pretty cool people on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. There is something about those people that made us want to know more about them, their lives and what they promote. They are interesting, bold and endearing. They are controversial, entertaining and in your face. No matter the type of person you are drawn to on social media, they all have something in common: they set themselves apart from the crowd on social media.
Being heard in a noisy world is challenging but not impossible. But, you can do it like the pros.
5 Ways to Set Yourself Apart on Social Media
Know Who You Are and Just Be
One of the best examples of this sentiment is Peter Shankman, founder of Help A Reporter Out—HARO for those of us in the public relations industry. The company was born because everyone around Shankman came to him for networking opportunities. He used his relationships to leverage news coverage and product placements for others. This turned into a business that was acquired by media powerhouse VOCUS. In addition to being creative, Shankman credits his Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) to be a contributing factor to his success. In other words, look in the mirror and love what’s there, then give others a reason to love you.
What you give dictates what you receive. In the world of social media, thought leaders give of themselves on and off-line. Take Michael Hyatt, the former CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishing, as an example. He built a life around his core beliefs rooted in Christianity. Besides running one of the largest Christian publishing companies in the world, he started a personal blog about publishing and life in general that evolved into a post retirement business for him built around leadership. Now he speaks all around the country about leadership and gets paid for it. As of the writing of this post, Mr. Hyatt has more than 500,000 subscribers to his blog. He got them by writing good content, hosting a podcast and giving away valuable eBooks. Guess what? When he releases products for a fee, not only does he have a list of potential buyers who value his opinion he has an army of evangelist who willingly recommend it to their networks.
Call it Karma. Call it the laws of sowing and reaping. No matter what you call it, be a giver and you will reap the benefits..
Life is a participation sport. So is social media. When you actively engage with the world you become a part of it. When you are a part of something, it embraces you. Social media is the world at your fingertips. Make time to comment on blogs you follow and to share good content that you didn’t write. Send a private note to a fellow blogger or journalist to sing praises about a cleaning tip you found helpful or a well-written social change piece. Being creative is hard, let the people who inspire, encourage or motivate you know that their labor is not in vain. You might even get a new social media follower or newsletter subscriber out of it. Who knows, they might even share your work in return.
When I first started this post, I was going to include Be Your Brand as one of the ways to set yourself apart on social media. It didn’t feel right because it wasn’t authentic. No one is born a brand. We are simply who we are. So much of social media tells us to build a brand. A brand is nothing more than consistency across the board—logo, collateral materials, key messaging, etc.
Of course you want your social media profiles to mirror the look of your blog or current media campaign. However, getting noticed on social media requires more than a pleasing esthetic. Imagery only goes so far. Your content is an extension of who you are. What are you about? What do you have to say? Are those things consistent with who you are online? If not, you won’t come across as being authentic and it will hurt your chances of being heard.
In addition to being consistent with your messaging and visual image, you must post to social media on a regular basis. This means developing an editorial calendar and choosing not only what you will write about but when you will share it with your audience and potential consumers. It doesn’t have to be daily but the people who follow you should know when to expect to hear from you.
Professionalism over Perfection
If everything you share must be perfect then you will share very little. While the goal of any brand, business or person is to always come across well put together many small businesses and soloprenuers miss opportunities in an effort to be perfect. In lieu of striving for perfection, be professional. Share quality content that supports your values as a person and the values and mission of your brand.
If writing is a weakness use The Copyeditor’s Handbook: A Guide for Book Publishing and Corporate Communications to learn how to write effectively and accurately. When Photoshop is too much to understand when you’re creating a graphic for your most recent blog post or inspirational quote, visit Canva to use one of their templates. They even have free and low cost images. Hiring a virtual assistant or social media manager might be a solution if the thought of tweeting makes you break out into hives.
Your presence on social media does not have to be daunting. Setting yourself apart on social media starts with you. Ask yourself, what can I consistently give to my network that will reflect a professional me and allow me to participate with my colleagues, customers and other stakeholders?
NOTE: Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”