Standing out in a crowded space is very similar in social media to in the business world as a whole; you can get there, but it takes blood, sweat and tears to establish. While there may be a great opportunity in sight, reaching out and grabbing means coming into competition with hundreds – maybe thousands – of others all trying to do the same. Plus, on social media, you have 140 characters and about 20 seconds of screen time before your attempt is long lost.
In particular, many brands dream of making their mark on Twitter, getting a hashtag campaign going or even – the crème de la crème – trending. Sadly, though, even the best and most thought-out campaigns can suffer a fate of being completely disregarded, overlooked and disappear into the Twittersphere without so much as a single retweet, favourite or engagement.
If the social space is particularly crowded, perhaps with thousands of hashtagged tweets around a specific event, it is harder still to stand out and get noticed. Although the cherry can be even sweeter, considering the amount of attention focused on the spotlight, the task of achieving it is even more of a challenge it such a saturated space.
Having said that, it is certainly possible. The key is churning out consistently good, shareable content on a regular basis; taking your strategy back to basics by considering what your audience use social media for. Are they looking for advice, tips and tricks? Do they simply log on to have a giggle at some funny cat gifs? Are they looking to have a gossip about what’s on TV or the latest celebrity break-up? Considering the people you are trying to reach and the kind of things they will engage with should be the first and most basic step towards mastering an effective social media plan, and yet it is one which so many companies get wrong; mainly due to getting blinded by a desire to push any message, no matter what it may be, out to audiences.
The problem with so many companies trying to get a slice of the pie is that their eye is so firmly on the prize that they forget that they need to figure out their audience and ensure they are receptive to the message first; by conveying it in such a way that they will be responsive to.
Essentially, it’s important to both wine and dine the audience, and sugar-coat it too in order to make it more palatable. Shoving your brand in front of their faces with an entirely uninteresting tweet, complete with apparently irrelevant hashtag, just so you can try to jump on the gravy train, is certainly a recipe to get your message entirely disregarded.
Those that do very well and clock up hundreds of retweets and interactions also tend to be the ones which have done their homework. In particular, they have identified which accounts to target; which ones are the most influential and, equally importantly the most likely to get on board with your tweet. This is not an instant thing; again, it takes days, weeks or even months to build up relationships with these influencers, but is worth the time and effort. If you can identify them and get their attention by interacting with them and posting things they will be interested in, they will be more likely to engage with you when you need them to.
Big events and hashtag campaigns will provide you with more reach and, providing you have followed the tips above to ensure your content is strong, you will have no problem in converting that reach into new followers and interactions. Equally, you will have a far shorter time span in order to engage, as others jostle for the same limelight. In order to further your cause, it can be a good idea to monitor what kind of content other brands are putting out there, in terms of what is working and what isn’t. Try to be different and capture what your audience are thinking.
In summary, a social crowd is not a negative thing; but it is certainly a challenge. It steps up how hard you need to work, due to a far tighter window and higher levels of competition, but it also enables you to enjoy the perks of a massive audience.
Overall, if you have the resource to invest in social media in terms of time and effort in your team, use it wisely to enjoy maximum benefit.
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