Remember when you were nervous on the first day of school, and your mom would send you off with a kiss, a hug, a plastic Power Ranger lunchbox, and the age-old platitude, “be yourself”?
Now that you’re older, wiser and inevitably cooler than ever, being yourself is even more valuable as you post to your blog, update your LinkedIn, and shrink your thoughts down to 140 characters.
Being yourself and standing out on social media will help you make new connections, build an audience, promote your business, or even find a new job.
Playing it safe by avoiding risks and imitating your favorite industry leaders will keep you from making mistakes, but it will also keep you out of the conversation. If you’re getting stuck because you want to appeal to as many people as possible, you could be diluting the very you-ness that makes your online voice unique, valuable and shareable.
1. Define yourself. Maybe you love, love, love to cook and want to start a food blog. You could get decent traffic and build an audience just by trying different recipes and posting tips and pictures. But you’ll get lost in a sea of other food bloggers, and besides, you’ll never be able to compete with huge recipe sites.
Add your own spin by focusing on make-ahead recipes for workaholics, or desserts suitable for lactose intolerance, the right audience will subscribe as though they’ve been waiting for you their whole lives. With a specific niche, you can attract a distinct audience.
2. Share what you love. If you love a blog post, whether it’s from a huge blogger who has 10x the audience, or someone smaller than you, share it. Be vocal about what you liked most. Not every post has to be your own unique content, but you can still start a whole new conversation.
3. Ask questions. It’s hard to ignore a question. End your blog posts, comments and emails with a question. When you ask questions, not only do you benefit by learning more, but you invite others to engage with you. People love to talk about themselves, and giving them the opportunity to share an opinion is an excellent way to make them feel special. As a result, you will be remembered.
4. Be positive. There’s a reason those dumb inspirational quotes spread like venereal diseases on almost every social network. People love to feel good! You don’t need to tell your readers to “follow your dreams <333.” Your own personal brand of motivation and positivity will go a long way.
Negativity does have a place of its own in social media, especially if it’s done in a humorous way and readers can relate and commiserate.
5. Keep learning. It’s not just about reading everything the leading industry experts have to say. It’s important to know what everyone is talking about, but you can stand out if you start the conversation. Learning about anything, even if it’s totally unrelated to your niche, helps you think in new ways and leads to the development of your very own unique voice. The more you discover about the world around you, the more interesting of a conversationalist you can be online.
It’s true what your teachers said. You are special, and it’s about time your readers know it.
What makes your online presence unique?