Marketing Strategies That Give Entrepreneurs the Competitive Edge to Stand Out Amidst the Social Media Noise

One of the hardest things about having a social media strategy when it comes to being a startup, is how to successfully stand out and separate yourself from the competition. For this month’s INFORM event, we had Dr. Jennifer Bennett, the Communication and Program Director for the Center for Entrepreneurship at Wake Forest University, come in to share her expertise on creating social media marketing strategies to do just that!

Dr. Bennett brought amazing energy, knowledge and takeaways to the table. She showed us how easy it can be to tweak your social media presence to target your audience and create a brand voice that speaks to your audience how YOU want to come across. In her book, #BeWorthFollowing, there are practical steps on how to use social media to make a difference in your marketing strategy as an entrepreneur. We highly recommend getting a copy of her book if you’re looking to standout from the crowd yourself! Here is a quick breakdown of what she spoke about to our lovely audience and ask yourself these questions:

#1 Who is your target audience?

If there is anything we learned from this talk, it’s to figure out who you are trying to target and changing the content you are putting out on social media to fit that crowd to connect on a more personal level with those you are trying to reach!

Typical topics you might think of when you are trying to specify you audience, such as:

  • Consumers’ income level
  • Education level
  • Marital status or if they have children
  • What products they purchase

But have you ever thought about trying to connect with your audience further? Dr. Bennett explained the importance of figuring out what makes your target audience feel something is the root to understanding what is going on in their heads and what they need or want to hear from you!

Think about what social media platforms you are trying to reach them on, what blogs they read, what they might struggle with, what keeps them up at night when they are trying to sleep but can’t get out of their head, or even what do they enjoy doing in their free time?

#2 What is your brand voice?

When you truly know your target audience, and playing into their wants and needs, you are much more likely to create a successful brand voice that will strengthen the connection between you and your customers.

Don’t forget to differentiate between “voice” and “tone” when communicating with your audience on social media. Remember that your brand voice describes your company’s personality consistently and unchanging, whereas your Brand’sTone is the emotional inflection approved to your voice and adjusts to what is suitable given the situation.

Think about what “voice” you want your company to have. Some examples include:

  • Friendly
  • Professional
  • Casual
  • Witty and clever
  • Sarcastic
  • Cheesy

#3 What is your company’s message or tagline?

Dr. Bennett had the crowd write down some “keywords” that resonate with their company, that they would want people to associate with their brand.

Ready for a pro tip? A lot of startups try to be cute or clever with their one-liners, but it actually causes confusion for your customer and leaves them feeling less connected! In the words of Dr. Bennett, “clarity rules over confusion”.

#4 When is the last time you gave yourself a social media audit?

It’s tempting to keep moving forward without ever looking back, but sometimes seeing where you’ve been can help guide you on your journey. Social media is no different! Giving yourself an audit to make sure your time and hardwork is actually putting you on the path to success is important!

  • Check in with yourself on the following: Are your posts too much about you and not enough about the people you are providing your service or product for?
  • Are you selling or asking for something?
  • Who is the hero of the stories? You or your customer?
  • Are your posts real and authentic?

A great question to keep in mind is how much “Heart Marketing” are you including? Heart Marketing is connecting with your audience to move people, but you communicate with emotion. The customer is the “hero” of the story, not you, so cater to their needs and interests to build a closer relationship!

# 5 Brainstorm: Am I thinking outside the box?!

With every piece of content that your startup creates, think about:

What stories can you share online?

  • How can you make your customers the hero of your stories?
  • How can you be creative and keep your audience interested in the content you are posting on your social media accounts? (Hint: Behind-The-Scenes videos or pictures/testimonials from previous customers?)
  • What are companies in your niche doing to engage? Look at other competitors to spark your creativity! Don’t steal their ideas, but know what you are up against, what you can work with, or the direction you might want to head towards.

Lastly, A big thank you again to Dr. Bennett for coming in to speak at Winston Starts, we can’t wait to put these steps into action and see out startups standout on social media!