- 7 Strategies to Position Yourself as an Industry Influencer
- How Industry Influencers Use Social Media to Navigate the Generation Gap
Happy New Year!
7 Ways to Stand Out from Your Competitors in 2017
There’s no denying that the competition is fierce in the world of marketing. This is particularly true when you are marketing online. There are millions of websites and advertisers vying for the attention of your buyer. I am sure at times, it can feel impossible to not only get, but keep their attention. How do you make yourself heard when you’re just one voice in a crowd of offers? What are your options when others provide the same or similar services?
Fortunately, there are some things you can do to differentiate yourself from the competition. You can make sure that your voice is the one that heard, and your offer is the one that stands out from everyone else. Your brand can be an Industry Influencer.1
Find Your Voice
One of the reasons that content can fade into the background is that it sounds the same as everything else. If your content mimics other influencers in your industry, then it makes it nearly impossible for your followers to distinguish you from your competitors.
Instead of trying to fit in, try being different. Think about being exclusive, special, unique and above the rest. What kind of tone can you use that will engage your followers? What’s your brand’s voice to resonate with buyers in your target market? Ultimately, you want to discover advantages to set you apart from the other people in your niche? For example, if your customers are mostly Millennials, consider adopting a casual tone that uses slang and conversational language.
Even if you’re in a conservative industry, you can find ways to illustrate your difference. Think about who your customers are and what message, tone and voice they are more likely to respond to, and then use it consistently in all of your communication and advertising.2
It can be difficult and a bit frightening to risk saying something that people may not agree with. However, it can also be an opportunity to generate brand awareness. Think about it for a moment, the goal is to draw attention, create intrigue and communicate a message that resonates with your prospect – either by entertaining or informing her.
Is there a big trend in your industry that you disagree with? Is there an area to challenge conventional wisdom? Look for some things that are relevant to your audience and then try to shake their perceptions by offering an opposing or surprising view on it. Where appropriate, consider playing devil’s advocate to get attention.
If all you ever do is follow along with the crowd, the chances are good that you’ll fade into it. On the other hand, the person who dares to be different is likely to be the one who gets noticed.
Note: Be mindful about implementing controversial marketing tactics that do not lend to positioning you as an Industry Influencer. Depending on your target market and your offers, try to stay away from hot-button topics (i.e. religion and politics) that may negatively impact your reputation or tarnish your brand. In the end, the goal is to:
- Attract your ideal buyer
- Entertain or inform
- Build a connection
- Nurture the relationship
- Illuminate why you are the best option
- Make an offer
- Stay relevant
- Exemplify excellence
- Maintain relationship
- Rinse and repeat 1-9.
In short, as an Industry Influencer, your marketing strategies should bring brand awareness, increase sales and encourage brand ambassadors – loyal, repeat buyers who will share your brand with everyone they meet!3
Do What Your Competitors Don’t Do
Are you following your competitors on social media, visiting their websites and checking out their offers on a regular basis? If you’re not, it would be advantageous to start doing so, today.
It doesn’t matter how many competitors you have. The chances are excellent that they are all missing something – something that you can provide to your customers as a way of differentiating yourself. The only way to know what they’re missing is to examine what they’re doing and how they’re doing it. Then identify the holes in what they’re offering and step in to fill them.
Note: If you are in a crowded marketplace, follow the market-leaders. I don’t recommend wasting time and energy on competitors who are not out-front. Your attention may be better served getting to know the successful influencers in your niche.
For clarity, it is not necessary to reinvent the wheel. You don’t have to offer a product that nobody else offers. What it does mean, is that you have to understand your customers and what they need. You must be sure that what you offer is done with excellence.
It may be possible that your delivery is different from the rest. For example, if the majority of your competitors offer content with a formal tone, you may want to consider offering your followers a friendlier alternative.4
Have a Social Mission
When it comes to engaging Millennials, for example, implementing a social mission can really help set you apart from your competitors. Young people want the brands they follow to care about the world and make a difference.
There are a few ways you can incorporate this suggestion into your marketing. Here are a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing:
- Pair up with a local charity to host an event, then create an event page on Facebook to share the experience with your followers.
- Create a product that ties into a particular charity or cause, such as the breast cancer awareness pink ribbons on your product that both remind your followers about the importance of breast health and your dedication to the cause.
- Donate a percentage of your profits to a cause that resonates with your customers. For example, if you sell clothing you might decide to donate money (or clothing for that matter) to a local homeless shelter.
This type of outreach can cement customers’ view of you as a company that cares about something beyond profit – and that can help you turn people into brand ambassadors.
Checkout this article on Huffington Post, “Social Entrepreneurship: 8 Companies that Impress Activists and Investors Alike.”5
As social media algorithms systematically destroy organic reach, companies are looking for ways to make sure that their content gets seen by their target audience. One effective way to do that is to connect with micro-influencers and get them to share your content.
A micro-influencer is someone who has authority, or reach with your customers. They don’t have to be in your industry to be an effective influencer. For example, if you are a B2B then it would seem logical to get to know leaders in the business community, like the local Chamber of Commerce.
Let me better illustrate that point. My company promotes holistic branding, so we offer professional soft-skills and leadership training to help small business provide a well-trained frontline staff to represent their customer touch-points. For us, getting to know the leaders in the Chamber of Commerce was a no-brainer. We offer special pricing for Chamber members as well as a complimentary monthly marketing training for their C-Suite team, that includes our Industry Influencer monthly marketing magazine. BAM! Instant credibility, immediate leverage and an going list of new and returning prospects.
Attracting big-time celebrity influencers can be costly and perhaps unnecessary, rather focus on people who have a local following. If you are a brick-and-mortar local business, local celebrities like the popular radio or TV host can be a valuable asset. I have found local news reporters are always good at helping you get out front of the pack. Think about it, if your social mission or what you offer is relevant to their fans, then, they’re probably a good match to leverage their popularity for your brand awareness.6
Use Humor to Connect with Your Followers
We all love to have a good laugh, and your customers are just as likely to be influenced by humor as anybody else. A common mistake many marketers make is treating their content with kid gloves, assuming that it has to be serious to have an impact. It is not necessary to be formal or appear contrived. Loosen up, have some fun and be memorable with some giggles.
Try it, loosen up a bit, surprise your followers and get them to think about you with a new light-hearted pleasure. You may even be a little irreverent if it fits your brand. One good example of the use of humor in marketing comes from the company Hello Flo. They sell female hygiene products, and they made a huge splash a couple of years ago with two humorous videos highlighting their products: Camp Gyno and First Moon Party. The latter got over 38 million views on YouTube because it made people laugh. After the giggles, the audience thinks about how great Hello Flo would be for all the little girls they know!7
Embrace New Technology
In some industries, marketers can be slow to use new technology as it is released. Companies who were quick to embrace mobile marketing, for example, have a leg up on companies who are just catching up now. If your website is not mobile optimized, your ideal buyer is moving on to your competitor where they can access their info with pinching and scrolling to see the content. Trust me, this is true. If a site is not mobile-ready, I refuse to do the work.
It can however, be tricky to catch trends before they become popular, but don’t be afraid to experiment. If you’re not using things like live video or geofencing, now is the time to try something new – particularly if your competitors aren’t quite on board yet. For example, if appropriate incorporate Facebook Live, and make a BIG deal of it if your competitors are not using yet!
You don’t have to jump on every new marketing tool that comes out, but it’s a good idea to add new things to your marketing mix and find ways to shake things up. If something doesn’t work, you can ditch it and move on to the next thing – but at least you have given your brand an opportunity to thrive. If it’s a hit, you’ll be one step ahead of your competitors.
The key with all of these techniques is to remember that you have things to offer that your competitors don’t. Use these methods to make sure that your target audience sees how special you are. When you have made a deep and meaningful connection with your ideal buyers, brand awareness – and increased revenue will follow.
I hope you have found this post helpful, I would love to hear from you. Get in the conversation, share your thoughts below.
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