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10 Proven Strategies to Stand out on Social Networks

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10 Proven Strategies to Stand out on Social Networks


Social networks are one of the most powerful branding and marketing strategy tools. But for every effort and every action taken on social media to be effective, brands must constantly seek new ways to stand out in an already crowded landscape. Sometimes just listening to your audience or looking at what is happening with other brands in other industries can help you find the right ideas and strategies that will help you stand out.

10 proven strategies to stand out on social networks

1. Show your expertise with educational content

Most consumers do not want to be sold a product or service but prefer to be educated on the same product to make a more thoughtful purchasing decision without feeling like they have been duped.

Actually, most Internet users prefer to discover a product through content rather than traditional advertising. All brands have the expertise for which they can be recognized by their consumers as well as by their competitors.

By sharing your expertise, you will more easily gain the trust of your subscribers, who will no longer see you simply as a brand that promotes its products, but as an altruistic brand that is committed to educating them and sharing its knowledge.

In fact, consumers who watch videos are 1.81 times more likely to buy a product compared to those who don’t. With this in mind, you can enhance your expertise by creating informative explainer videos or tutorials that will inspire your subscribers and precisely meet their expectations.

2. Tell your story

Your brand’s story is what makes it unique because no other brand has the same thing to tell. You can talk about your values and what you are proud of, what you stand for and what you believe in. Talk about what inspires you to do what you do. Talk about the people who make your brand what it is. In short, enhance your brand heritage. It will help your audience identify with your brand by making it more human.

You can bring your brand to life on social media by giving an inside perspective and showing what you’re working on right now. You will give it more soul by showing that your brand is more than just a business and based on real people.

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3. Show your personality

Brands that speak like automatons have little chance of really engaging their audience on social networks. To show off your brand’s personality, start by using social media to talk to your fans instead of talking to your fans.

If you respond to every comment or every solicitation with the same copy-paste message, your subscribers will see you as a simple automaton. To avoid this, show your human side and take care to develop a brand personality. Make your brand speak like a real person speaking.

4. Make your audience laugh

When a brand makes us laugh, we can easily create a connection like we would with a friend. Using humor on social media makes your brand more human by talking about topics that your audience can easily relate to. In addition to creating positive feelings in your community, humor has strong viral potential.

5. Be consistent and consistent

For your fans and targets to recognize your brand regardless of which social network you post to or what type of content you create, it’s essential to maintain visual consistency and consistency in tone.

To be identifiable, you can define graphic guidelines applicable to each post. You can also define your brand’s voice and the language and tone it uses on social media. Start by taking stock of your social media presence. Do all your branding elements form a unified and coherent brand image?

Set a posting schedule for your social networks and stick to it to keep a steady pace. Create appointments with your fans by posting your contests on the first Thursday of each month.

6. Share videos on social networks

In recent years, video content has been increasingly present on social networks. Video changes how brands express themselves and how Internet users discover a brand and its products. Video is popular content with Internet users that easily captures attention and arouses emotions, sometimes more quickly than other formats.

Video is also the most engaging content. Indeed, according to a study by Small Business Trends, video generates 13 times more shares than text and images collected on social networks. With video, you can show a new product or service on Facebook or Instagram. You can go behind the scenes and show all of your business.

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Keep in mind that your videos should be tailored to each social network. Each platform has its own formats, uses and codes. On YouTube, for example, most videos are watched with sound, which is not the case with Facebook, where 85% of videos are watched without sound.

7. Make your fans brand ambassadors

To stand out on social networks, you can promote your subscribers by giving them the floor. You can ask your fans to share their stories or experiences of using your products.

To do this, create hashtags and encourage your fans to use them in their posts. Help them feel close to your brand and show them that they are part of a community, that of your brand. By leveraging the content generated by your subscribers, you can develop more meaningful relationships with them. You show that you trust them.

8. Ask your subscribers for their opinion

Your followers want to feel valued. Do ask them questions and challenge them. Their opinion can give you essential information about the perception of your brand and your products.

Be proactive on social media and don’t stop at just looking for engagement with your fans. Make them feel valued and respected by asking for their opinion or advice. By polling on topics specific to your industry, you can quickly generate conversations between you and your followers and even directly between your followers.

9. Focus on the right platforms

With the proliferation of social networks, it is easy to want to ensure a presence on every one. But you don’t have to. Besides, you shouldn’t force yourself to do it.

Determine which social networks your target audiences use and ensure a presence there only if you have a real strategy. Being on a platform just to be there will get you nowhere and may even harm you.

10. Partner with influencers

Working with influencers can be a great way to promote your products or services. Influencers are not just a promotional tool but are also a way of convincing people of the value of your products. In fact, according to a study conducted by Twitter, nearly 40% of users have made a purchase following a tweet from an influencer.

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Suppose the influencers you target have an engaged and qualified audience. In that case, no matter how small, you will have a good chance of setting yourself apart from your competitors on social media, who will sometimes be content to promote their brand only on their own social media.

To conclude

If you follow at least one of these strategies, you will be well on your way to greatly improving your social media strategy. The main thing in a social media strategy is not to completely break with your brand’s personality and its values. Your brand must respect its tone and identity to be recognized by its community. In a word, create happy moments and a pleasant experience for your subscribers, do not make more noise on social networks than there already is.



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MARKETING

8 major email marketing mistakes and how to avoid them

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8 major email marketing mistakes and how to avoid them

As email marketers, we know we need to personalize the messages we send to subscribers and customers. I can’t think of a single statistic, case study or survey claiming an email program of one-to-everyone campaigns outperforms personalization.

Instead, you’ll find statistics like these:

  • 72% of customers will engage only with personalized messages (Wunderkind Audiences, formerly SmarterHQ)
  • 70% of consumers say that how well a company understands their individual needs affects their loyalty (Salesforce)
  • 71% of customers are frustrated by impersonal shopping experiences (Segment)

But what marketers often don’t understand, especially if they’re new to personalization, is that personalization is not an end in itself. Your objective is not to personalize your email campaigns and lifecycle messages. 

Rather, your objective is to enhance your customer’s experience with your brand. Personalization is one method that can do that, but it’s more than just another tactic. 

It is both an art and a science. The science is having the data and automations to create personalized, one-to-one messages at scale. The art is knowing when and how to use it.

We run into trouble when we think of personalization as the goal instead of the means to achieve a goal. In my work consulting with marketers for both business and consumer brands, I find this misunderstanding leads to eight major marketing mistakes – any of which can prevent you from realizing the immense benefits of personalization.

Mistake #1. Operating without an overall personalization strategy

I see this all too often: marketers find themselves overwhelmed by all the choices they face: 

  • Which personalization technologies to use
  • What to do with all the data they have
  • How to use their data and technology effectively
  • Whether their personalization efforts are paying off

This stems from jumping headfirst into personalization without thinking about how to use it to meet customers’ needs or help them solve problems. 

To avoid being overwhelmed with the mechanics of personalization, follow this three-step process:

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  • Start small. If you aren’t using personalization now, don’t try to set up a full-fledged program right away. Instead, look for quick wins – small areas where you can use basic personalized data to begin creating one-to-one messages. That will get you into the swing of things quickly, without significant investment in time and money. Adding personal data to the body of an email is about as basic as you’ll get, but it can be a start.
  • Test each tactic. See whether that new tactic helps or hurts your work toward your goal. Does adding personal data to each message correlate with higher clicks to your landing page, more conversion or whatever success metric you have chosen?
  • Optimize and move on. Use your testing results to improve each tactic. Then, take what you learned to select and add another personalization tactic, such as adding a module of dynamic content to a broadcast (one to everyone) campaign. 

Mistake #2. Not using both overt and covert personalization

Up to now, you might have thought of in specific terms: personalized subject lines, data reflecting specific actions in the email copy, triggered messages that launch when a customer’s behavior matches your automation settings and other “overt” (or visible) personalization tactics.

“Covert” personalization also employs customer preference or behavior data but doesn’t draw attention to it. Instead of sending an abandoned-browse message that says “We noticed you were viewing this item on our website,” you could add a content module in your next campaign that features those browsed items as recommended purchases, without calling attention to their behavior. It’s a great tactic to use to avoid being seen as creepy.

Think back to my opening statement that personalization is both an art and a science. Here, the art of personalization is knowing when to use overt personalization – purchase and shipping confirmations come to mind – and when you want to take a more covert route. 

Mistake #3. Not maximizing lifecycle automations

Lifecycle automations such as onboarding/first-purchase programs, win-back and reactivation campaigns and other programs tied to the customer lifecycle are innately personalized. 

The copy will be highly personal and the timing spot-on because they are based on customer actions (opting in, purchases, downloads) or inactions (not opening emails, not buying for the first time or showing signs of lapsing after purchasing). 

Better yet, these emails launch automatically – you don’t have to create, schedule or send any of these emails because your marketing automation platform does that for you after you set it up. 

You squander these opportunities if you don’t do everything you can to understand your customer lifecycle and then create automated messaging that reaches out to your customers at these crucial points. This can cost you the customers you worked so hard to acquire, along with their revenue potential.

Mistake #4. Not testing effectively or for long-term gain

Testing helps you discover whether your personalization efforts are bearing fruit. But all too often, marketers test only individual elements of a specific campaign – subject lines, calls to action, images versus no images, personalization versus no personalization  – without looking at whether personalization enhances the customer experience in the long term.

How you measure success is a key part of this equation. The metrics you choose must line up with your objectives. That’s one reason I’ve warned marketers for years against relying on the open rate to measure campaign success. A 50% open rate might be fantastic, but if you didn’t make your goal for sales, revenue, downloads or other conversions, you can’t consider your campaign a success.

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As the objective of personalizing is to enhance the customer journey, it makes sense then that customer lifetime value is a valid metric to measure success on.  To measure how effective your personalization use is, use customer lifetime value over a long time period – months, even years – and compare the results with those from a control group, which receives no personalization. Don’t ignore campaign-level results, but log them and view them over time.

(For more detailed information on testing mistakes and how to avoid them, see my MarTech column 7 Common Problems that Derail A/B/N Email Testing Success.)

Mistake #5. Over-segmenting your customer base

Segmentation is a valuable form of personalization, but it’s easy to go too far with it. If you send only highly segmented campaigns, you could be exclude – and end up losing because of failure to contact – many customers who don’t fit your segmentation criteria. That costs you customers, their potential revenue and the data they would have generated to help you better understand your customer base.

You can avoid this problem with a data-guided segmentation plan that you review and test frequently, a set of automated triggers to enhance the customer’s lifecycle and a well-thought-out program of default or catch-all campaigns for subscribers who don’t meet your other criteria. 

Mistake #6. Not including dynamic content in general email campaigns

We usually think of personalized email as messages in which all the content lines up with customer behavior or preference data, whether overt, as in an abandoned-cart message, or covert, where the content is subtly relevant.

That’s one highly sophisticated approach. It incorporates real-time messaging driven by artificial intelligence and complex integrations with your ecommerce or CRM platforms. But a simple dynamic content module can help you achieve a similar result. I call that “serendipity.”  

When you weave this dynamic content into your general message, it can be a pleasant surprise for your customers and make your relevant content stand out even more. 

Let’s say your company is a cruise line. Customer A opens your emails from time to time but hasn’t booked a cruise yet or browsed different tours on your website. Your next email campaign to this customer – and to everyone else on whom you have little or no data – promotes discounted trips to Hawaii, Fiji and the Mediterranean.

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Customer B hasn’t booked a cruise either, but your data tells you she has browsed your Iceland-Denmark-Greenland cruise recently. With a dynamic content module, her email could show her your Hawaii and Mediterranean cruise offers – and a great price on a trip to Iceland, Denmark and Greenland. Fancy that! 

An email like this conveys the impression that your brand offers exactly what your customers are looking for (covert personalization) without the overt approach of an abandoned-browse email.

Mistake #7. Not using a personal tone in your copy

You can personalize your email copy without a single data point, simply by writing as if you were speaking to your customer face to face. Use a warm, human tone of voice, which ideally should reflect your brand voice. Write copy that sounds like a one-to-one conversation instead of a sales pitch. 

This is where my concept of “helpful marketing” comes into play. How does your brand help your customers achieve their own goals, solve their problems or make them understand you know them as people, not just data points?  

Mistake #8. Not personalizing the entire journey

Once again, this is a scenario in which you take a short-sighted view of personalization – “How do I add personalization to this email campaign?” – instead of looking at the long-term gain: “How can I use personalization to enhance my customer’s experience?”

Personalization doesn’t stop when your customer clicks on your email. It should continue on to your landing page and even be reflected in the website content your customer views. Remember, it’s all about enhancing your customer’s experience.

What happens when your customers click on a personalized offer? Does your landing page greet your customers by name? Show the items they clicked? Present copy that reflects their interests, their loyalty program standing or any other data that’s unique to them?  

Personalization is worth the effort

Yes, personalization takes both art and science into account. You need to handle it carefully so your messages come off as helpful and relevant without veering into creepy territory through data overreaches. But this strategic effort pays off when you can use the power of personalized email to reach out, connect with and retain customers – achieving your goal of enhancing the customer experience.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.


About The Author

Kath Pay is CEO at Holistic Email Marketing and the author of the award-winning Amazon #1 best-seller “Holistic Email Marketing: A practical philosophy to revolutionise your business and delight your customers.”

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