What does it take to become one of the top respected brands on the web, in any niche?
It takes a LOT of hard work and grit – that’s for sure. But it also takes a lot more than that. It takes strategy, cunning and actually a big helping of luck!
If you want to be one of the major players in your chosen niche, then you need to know exactly how to build an audience, gain their loyalty and keep them coming back to your site time and time again. But there’s not just ‘one secret’ to this. In fact, there are countless little things that the very best do differently. These are the things that set apart those incredible brands and make them the huge household names they are today.
Things like Bodybuilding.com, The Verge, Mashable, Tim Ferriss, Smart Passive Income, Engadget, Wired…
While these companies also have the advantage of having built up their name over countless years and huge amounts of investment to pour into their marketing and sales, it’s still really the strategy that is the big difference.
And this article is going to share that strategy and some of the most powerful tips that set the very best apart from the less special. You will learn…
How to make the most of your online brand
How to leverage the power of social media to gain shares, likes and followers
How to integrate your social media with your website for better synergy
The most important platforms you need to be on
How to make your brand professional
How to grab attention with great headlines
How to deliver true value
How to avoid losing followers
How to become part of a community
How to work with influencers
Here is the single most important thing you must know about thriving on social media: it is absolutely imperative that you always provide value. What does this mean? It means that you’re going to be offering something concrete and tangible to your audience and giving them something that they can benefit from. Think of your social media much like a product or a service in its own right and NOT just a means to get as many people to your blog as possible.
This simple paradigm shift is the absolute difference between a successful social media channel and an unsuccessful one. You need to give people a reason to follow you, a reason to share your content and a reason to keep checking back to your page. Don’t just expect people to follow you on Twitter because they ‘like your brand’!
So how does one go about providing value? In the case of social media, this can mean offering:
- Discounts and offers
A good example of this is any of the thousands of successful channels on Instagram that post pictures of healthy lifestyles. There are a lot of great Instagram accounts run by fitness experts and enthusiasts and that include images of people working hard in the gym, looking great topless on the beach or downing protein shakes.
People find this inspiring in helping them move toward their goals and so if the images are well-composed and they are well designed, then they are providing value in that way. People know that by following that account, they’ll get updated regularly with new inspiring pictures to help drive them further in their own training.
Another example might be to share links to informative posts on a Facebook account. If you have a blog about online business, then you can post links to news stories regarding SEO, to tips and ideas for creating content etc. Don’t only post your own content – find and share the kind of exciting content that your audience can benefit from! (Note that this is all much easier if you genuinely are passionate about the subject matter – as that way you can simply share the things you’re reading anyway!
But perhaps the best example of ‘social media as product’ would be one of the many Pinterest boards on Pinterest. These tend to act as collections of ideas for interior design, for weddings, for personal style etc. Thus, many people will head to these pages whenever they need ideas and some brands that have come up with related boards have been able to garner huge followings that way.
How do you know if you’re doing this right? Ask yourself this simple question: if your social media channel were to shut down today would your followers be disappointed? We’re not asking if they would notice – we’re asking if they would genuinely feel that something they enjoyed had gone.
If the answer is yes, then congratulations! You are officially providing value.
Don’t Just Promote
That’s what you need to do then but just as important is what you need to avoid doing. What is the polar opposite of providing value? The answer is simply promoting your business. And this is what too many misguided small businesses actually use their social media to do. These tend to be the kinds of companies that feel a little stuffy and out of touch to the user.
Local service businesses like plumbers and removal men, or more corporate operations like EPOS providers and time clock solutions/accountants. These are the companies that will use their social media to post things like ‘Visit our site and see why we’re the best at what we do!’. Or, ‘Our software solutions are second to none!’.
This is literally just advertising and it completely misses the point of social media.
Don’t do it!
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