How can you stand out amid the social media din?

If the online cacophony is drowning out the music of your content, it’s time to set your offerings apart from the noise. Here are eight tested techniques for doing just that.

There is a war for attention on social media (and everywhere else your marketing content lives).

The only way to win is to rise above all the noise; for you to do that, customers must hear your music.

How noisy is it exactly? Every minute:

  • 1,400 blog posts are published
  • Facebook users share 2,460,000 pieces of content
  • Twitter users tweet 277,000 times
  • Instagram users post 216,000 new photos
  • Yelp users post 26,380 reviews
  • Pinterest users pin 3,472 images
  • YouTube users upload 72 hours of new video

These numbers are likely to make your eyes glaze over, and by the time you’re done reading this list, another minute has passed, so you might as well start the list from the top again. This process repeats 1,440 times per day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. Such is the unrelenting power of content on social media.

When faced with this staggering and relentless barrage of content, how can you cut through the noise? That’s the question that every social media marketer tries to answer.

In any human, natural or economic system, when there is an overabundance of some commodity and there is a limited capacity to consume that glut, something has to change. What worked in content marketing a few years ago—when content was a novelty—will not work in this era of overwhelming information density.

High engagement is not sustainable on a large scale. The same “content shock” principle applies with every attention-based platform: When the amount of content goes up, so does the competition for attention. As the volume of content skyrockets, and given that our attention span is finite, something has to give.

The only solution then is to build a community of ebullient fans around your brand; to deliver helpful, original, high-quality content; and to focus on lead generation with those who are most likely to buy from you.

It’s time to play your music

In order to win the war for attention on social media, companies must use specific tactics. These will help you win the war for attention on social media.

1. Tell a story.

Incorporate the story of your company in your content strategy. Stories are how we connect emotionally with people and brands. Emotional connections leave a lasting impression, and we align ourselves with the stories that resonate most.

Tell stories of outstanding customer experiences, using real-time examples via video.

Everyone identifies as the protagonist in a story. Managers of brands, including personal brands, who develop their content strategy with this in mind will get more sales.

2. Develop and implement a solid content strategy.

Companies trying to adapt to social media often are at a loss for what to post. Many resort to “sales content,” and that’s exactly the wrong approach.

Telling stories is crucial, but organizations need a specific strategy with which to create their content. Take these essential steps for a solid content strategy:

  • Pinpoint what your brand is (its core values).
  • Determine your organization’s value proposition (the unique value you bring your customers).
  • Identify and describe your target customers (in detail).
  • Set objectives for your content (awareness, engagement, conversions), and design a plan around each objective.

3. Know your audience better than they know themselves.

The more clearly you define your target customers’ attributes, the more effective your marketing will be. This has never been truer than on social media and in social advertising.

Social media and blog content that informs and educates customers earns engagement. When you answer questions that your customers didn’t know they even needed to ask, you earn their loyalty.

In creating ads, Facebook’s Ads Manager offers stellar audience targeting, but you have to know exactly whom you want to reach to realize the best results. You’ll spend less and reach more interested buyers when you’ve spent ample time getting to know your target audience.

4. Engage employees as advocates.

The cornerstone to modern marketing is relevant, comprehensive content.

Collaboration with and contributions from employees produces high-quality content that increases search rank, organic traffic, authority and trustworthiness. Employee engagement boosts the quality of your content.

Tapping into the tactic of employee advocacy has three dimensions:

  • Social media amplification: Employee engagement in the specific marketing campaigns, events or promotions supports your goals.
  • Social proof: Employees are considered “people like me.” When employees advocate for their employer, it brings another layer of comfort for buyers.
  • Social recruiting: The top talent finds its way to you through your employees.

5. Include employees in content creation.

One challenge for organizations and marketers is coming up with enough relevant content that customers need and/or want to engage with. Taking a collaborative approach to these challenges often produces outstanding results, and you’ve got your best “brand experts” at your fingertips.

Employees possess the knowledge and information your customers need, and their seasoned expertise fosters more trust than any ad you’ll ever run.

6. Stop trying to be the most popular.

“Vanity metrics” are passé.

Before 2013, the game on Facebook and Twitter was to collect “likes” and followers—vanity metrics. The more you had, the likelier it was that your content would be seen by an audience predisposed to respond.

With ad targeting capabilities available on these platforms today, you can target the content to the right consumers, not just blast it out to a broad, best-guess group that might include them.

7. Go for quality over quantity.

In this world of cheap knockoffs, hidden agendas and mud-filled transparency, the reality is that not all social media connections are created equal. We’re searching for authenticity in ourselves and our network, which manifests itself in craving meaningful interactions.

Regardless of what commands our attention, value is the driver in everything we do. Now that social media has matured, users and organizations are discovering that a larger number of social network connections may be less valuable than a smaller, more intimate circle.

If you’re looking for a way to rise above the noise, focus on quality over quantity.

8. Practice empathy and gratitude.

Gary Vaynerchuk has a way of taking all the BS that’s out there in the marketing world and distilling it into meaningful information. Gary says he relies most on empathy and gratitude. I agree: I believe these attributes will make you a better marketer and a better human being.

The audience here in the video below is welcome to ask Gary any question they want. This woman asked him two profound, thought-provoking questions:

  • “What is your secret to greatness?” Gary’s answer: Empathy
  • “When Gary hits rock bottom, what brings you back up?” Gary’s answer: Gratitude

Music is life; that’s why our hearts have beats.

Don’t get drowned out by the noise. Do the work to attract, engage and convert your target customers and win the war for attention on social media.

A version of this article first appeared on KruseControl.

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