Three ways to outperform your competitors on social media

29 June 2016

For businesses, social media provides powerful and influential marketing and advertising opportunities. While the digital offspring of Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey present vast options for direct connection with consumers, all this power can mean diddly squat if these digital channels aren’t leveraged suitably.

So in the current climate, how do you outperform your competitors by utilising the wealth that social media affords? At my work, in order for us to ensure the best ROI for our clients and to effectively market their brand and products, we search to identify and subsequently integrate trends and insights into our social media marketing approach. Here’s a few important progressions we’ve come to learn when planning social media strategies that will put you ahead of your rivals.

1. Pay Facebook to do the grunt work

A large obstacle for small-to-medium businesses is the lack of marketing budget. Fortunately, the hassles and costs of traditional marketing and advertising can be avoided. Given most people are now connected and frequently using Facebook, you can execute brand content using Facebook’s paid advertising service that targets your ideal audience.

It filters location, demographics, interests, behaviours and even has custom audience features that allow you to engage with users at specific times. In terms of cost, the paid platform guarantees audience-specific reach, which is more likely to generate leads.

By employing Facebook to filter targeted audiences, it also provides valuable insights and metrics. You also have access to valuable data that can help your next strategy or help you examine where your approach needs to be refined.

Please note: gone are the days of organic posting. You need to pay to play. Fuelling capital into creating content in the hope it organically propels in the feed, promoting your brand in the process, is a farce. But you can set a low budget and see if it works for you, then decide to spend more.

2. Use the element of surprise

At a recent conference, Facebook’s Phil Bonanno pointed out that paid advertising was most effective when people least suspected it – a social media term dubbed “snacking”.

For example, if you take a coffee break at work and head down to your local cafe, order, then wait for the barista to work his or her magic, more often than not you will pull out your phone and open Facebook with the slight hope you’ll see what your friends are up to (or if there’s something your crush has posted you can strategically like).

It’s these times – when users are switched off – paid, audience-specific media can have a wonderful effect. Advertising is disruptive. No one likes it. Simple. Great and powerful advertising is where content and brands slip through the cracks of people’s instinctive anti-ad armour. This is the foundation of creative marketing, and utilising Facebook’s powerful analytical tools equips your business with the appropriate weaponry to pierce it.

3. Create content that makes your ideal audience happy

If you’re a business that doesn’t offer engaging, captivating content, get off my timeline. As far as users are concerned you’re wasting precious scrolling time.

Before posting business content, it’s important to know that in the realm of engaging content, there’s a measure of calculated risqueness that needs to be incorporated to help you stand out from your competitors. Adhering to this notion can heavily benefit and propel the perception of your business digitally and overall.

Here are some simple content ideas to consider.

Offer value

Include tips, behind-the-scenes production footage and photos, also look to source third-party content in the form of industry blogs and forums. This helps establish the credibility of your business.

Strategically publish photos

Avoid posting singular, stand-alone photos of your business and its products. Show them in their finest form by brand champions or, better, satisfied customers. Allow these to be interactive and let people tag each other in them.

Avoid lengthy posts

You might be passionate about your business but not everyone shares the sentiment. Be economic in how much content you decide to publish. Keep it short, compelling and snappy.

Engagement is key

How can you creatively stimulate users to interact and engage with your business? What are the key, unique elements of your business that would appeal to your targeted audience? Find these out. Research. Identify trends in competitors and in the marketplace as a whole. Get your audience engaged.

Connect as a friend, not as a business

People don’t like sales-driven social media accounts as much as they don’t like salespeople in real life. Have a personality and character that your respective audience can relate to – like a friend.

Have a schedule and publish constantly

Don’t spam people’s feed. But if you have a piece of quality content in the barriers ready to jump, make sure it’s backed up by another.

Liam Burke

Content and creative at Matter Solutions

Studying a Masters in Creative Advertising at the Queensland University of Technology, Liam has always possessed a keen interest in creative solutions and strategies for businesses in the digital marketing arena. Although Liam works primarily as a content and copy writer, he has a strong passion for all things digital and is always looking for innovative and effective ways to market businesses online.

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