Don’t Get Lost in the Crowd

The emergence of social media has been fantastic for personal branding. Thanks to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and the like, everybody has the ability to create a platform to project their personal brand to an unlimited audience. This accessibility is a double-edged sword, however, because now seemingly everybody is doing it. Over the last several years, literally millions of people have begun establishing their personal brand through Facebook, Twitter, and other sites. So how can you avoid being lost in the crowd? Keep reading for tips on how to stand out in the crowded world of social media:

1) Focus on relationships. Twitter and Facebook are full of individuals and companies that are trying to establish their brand and sell their products by ramming them down their audience’s throat. It’s free marketing, the theory goes, so why not aggressively self-promote and sell? The problem with that line of thought is that most people don’t log on to Facebook or Twitter looking to be sold something. People use Facebook and Twitter to build relationships, both personal and professional. The key to establishing your brand on these sites is to build relationships. Spend more time replying to status updates and tweets than you do creating your own. When you see a friend or a connection asking a question, answer it. If you’re not connecting with your followers and your friends, you’re going to be lost in the crowd.

2) Don’t be boring. Most smart social media users are very, very careful about what they post. After all, a thoughtless post or tweet could have disastrous results. While this is certainly true, the unfortunate result is that many Twitter and Facebook profiles are completely devoid of originality, personality and substance. If you’re going to stand out, you need to be interesting and thought provoking. Post jokes, or commentary on pop culture, or predictions for upcoming NFL games. Tweet using only haiku form for a couple of days. Be creative. Find a way to express yourself and your personality—and before you know it, you’ll realize that followers and friends are looking forward to your next tweet or status update.

3) Break down the news. Twitter and Facebook are great sources of breaking news. As soon as anything of even minor importance happens, you can bet there will be thousands of posts announcing it and linking to news stories. Posting a link to a breaking news story will not help you stand out—but insightful analysis will. Let’s say you’re a stock broker and a new law was passed impacting the capital gains tax. Rather than simply providing a link to the story, add some instant analysis. Your tweet will stand out from the thousands of others, because you won’t simply be stating what happened, you’ll be telling your audience what it means to them.

Social media has exploded in popularity. The challenge for individuals and companies looking to build their brand is finding away to stand out from the millions of other users. Be creative, don’t hesitate to think outside the box, and keep these three strategies in mind as you build your social media presence.