So far today there’s been 416,000,000 posts on Twitter…and it’s only 1pm. In the last 60 seconds, there has also been 293,000 statuses updated and 136,000 photos uploaded to Facebook. (Source: The Social Skinny & Internet Live Stats)
That’s a lot of activity. Don’t sweat it though, it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The good news is that it’s crazy active out there, and you can get a lot of attention if you know how to improve your social media presence. Easier said than done, I know, but there are some really useful approaches to get noticed and make an impact.
Here are 5 simple, but powerful social media tips you can use to stand out which can all be implemented right now. If you even do just 1 of these 5 things, you’ll make an impact. The real challenge is for you to live these every day while trying to build your brand online.
1. Be different and stand out.
Every day the web becomes more saturated with the same old stuff. Don’t just copy existing content and repurpose parts of it. You’re unique, find what makes you special and share it.
Tip: Create a consistent style all of your own. Groove has done an excellent job of this by having a consistent style for their post images. It’s always fun to see the images they come up with, but there’s a amazing cohesiveness about it that just seems to draw users in. Josh Pigford is doing something similar on the Baremetrics blog now too and it’s a great approach. It’s a way for readers to connect with a content in more visual way and establish your social media presence. Whenever I see these particular images now, I’m always immediately reminded of these brands. It really works.
If you’re not a designer or don’t have one on board, not to worry, you’ve got a some solid options:
- Find illustrated stock photo sets that can be used for your posts. Creative Market has an incredible selection. Because these graphics are essentially static and pre-made, one way you could use them effectively would be to have a different illustrated character or animal as the graphic for each post. (for example, if your topic is about speed, use a Cheetah.) That’s just a silly idea, but the key is to be consistent with the style so that people will associate it with your brand whenever they see it.
- Hire a graphic designer on Odesk who you can pay by the graphic (or perhaps the hour). You’d be surprised how affordable it can be and how effective the results are. Spend some time choosing wisely and looking at their portfolio. I find it can be helpful to give them a small task before actually hiring them. Or, hire them for a very small job to see how you like working with them and the quality of their work before committing to anything long term. Most importantly, don’t ever pay in full for the work in advance.
- If you’re looking for something a little more premium, jump on Dribbble and find a designer whose style could represent your brand and reach out. Their profile page will often say if they’re looking for work.
2. Be visual with your posts for better social media presence.
I know you’ve heard this one before, but it’s as important as ever. When your eye scans down a page, it tends to spot visuals first. It’s why we built Share As Image! According to Buffer, Tweets with images receive 150% more retweets!
As Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick say in their recent post on Time’s blog:
“In the valley of text, the post with graphics is king. This may add a few minutes of effort, but no single action can make your posts better than adding some eye candy to every post.”
Our stats show the same thing too!
Tip: There’s some super easy ways to do this and you won’t need a Photoshop license or to be a designer. Here are some amazing tools you can use (including ours, yay!) to create images super fast for social media, blog posts, emails and more.
Time Required: Less then 2 minutes
Learning Curve: Basically none
Time Required: 10-15 minutes
Learning Curve: A little time will be required to see how all the options work (they offer a lot) but the end result can be a more enhanced design
If you’re looking for royalty-free stock photos to use in your visuals, there’s a ton of options out there. Buffer even outlines a whopping 53 sources here, but here’s our favourites:
Using some of these tools will make a huge impact. We’ve wrote a lot about this subject and go into more detail about the power of images in a previous post. Use visuals to your advantage, and you’ll see a difference. Stacy Miller from Vocus recently said (Source: Post Planner Blog):
“When individuals or businesses want to stand out on social media, they should think visually! Images catch our attention, keep our attention, and are digested faster than text.“
3. Be genuinely helpful.
This is a big one, but it seems difficult to grasp for some people. It’s really simple though and I’ve personally seen the power of it. The key here is to seek out people you know on Twitter who need help (who have expressed it) and offer a hand.
Tip: Ok, so Twitter is a big place and you can’t help everyone. But you can certainly help people in your network or people you’re following. If you’re not seeing anyone asking for anything, do a search across all the people you’re following for the word “help” for example. Just make sure to check the “People you follow” filter on Twitter after doing the search.
Note: I’d love to be able to search one of my own Twitter lists for the word “help” or “anyone”, but it appears that’s not currently possible. I had no luck finding a tool that does this, so if anyone you know of one, please let me now on Twitter.
Helping someone can go a really long way. It’s generally a good thing to do and gives you the warm fuzzies, but it may also pay off big in the long run. Some of the best relationships are formed online (and off) when you start by offering a helping hand. Spend a few minutes every day looking to see who’s in need and try to help wherever you can!
Our friend Adam Connell from Blogging Wizard says (Source: Post Planner Blog):
“One thing in particular that has worked best for me has been simply to go out of my way to help someone. For just a moment, forget your business goals or trying to get anything out of the situation for myself. (the gains come later) Just be helpful and don’t ask for anything in return. Use your expertise to help people solve their problems and you’re not just standing out, you’re wowing the people you help and becoming memorable.
In the short term you will earn more followers that are more engaged, and that’s great. But the real magic happens in the long term. The gains come later when the people you have helped need a service your business offers or a product that you sell.”
4. Be selective where you post.
It’s essential to be focussed with your time if you’re going to stand out social media. You might realize after a while that you’re just not managing to make an impact or have a significant social media presence. On the one hand, that could mean your approach is wrong…but on the other hand, it can also mean that your time could simply be better spent elsewhere. Alex Turnbull wrote an amazing post on why the team at Groove decided to delete their Facebook page and he raises some really good points. Of course, I’m not telling you to go and stop using Facebook pages, but this was something that made sense for them. They looked at the data, knew what available time they had and realized it just wasn’t an effective channel for them. Chances are, you’ll be a lot more productive at standing out on a channel that works for your business. At Share As Image, Twitter is a much more effective place than Facebook for us and we tend to put our efforts there instead.
Tip: Determine which social network is best for your business. We wrote a great post about this, featuring a few tools that can help you make the decision.
5. Be relevant. Context is everything.
This last one might seem a bit counter-intuitive at first, but trust me, it makes a lot of sense. Sometimes the key to standing out is first realizing what’s already out there. By making a practice of this, you’ll begin to understand what will appeal to your audience.
Tip: We use BuzzSumo to look up topics and find out what got the most shares. The key here is most definitely not to just copy what works, but to see why someone else’s post successful and why it stood it out. Try to understand how it can relate to your niche and find a way to have a fresh approach or perspective on the topic.
The social space is not getting any quieter. Everyone wants to be noticed and for their message to be heard. By following some of the above tips, you’ll be able to start crafting a more unique voice, more effective ways to be seen and to provide increased value to the community. I’d love to hear about your own experiences, please comment below and share what’s worked for you when it comes to standing out!