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Social media is a critical tool for a small business’s marketing efforts. With the number of social media users projected to grow to 4.4 billion by 2025, there are numerous opportunities to get your small business in front of your potential customers. However, it’s important to know how to stand out from the competition.

To help, 13 members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) each offered their best advice on the following topic:

“What’s one way small businesses can differentiate their social media from that of their competitors? How will this help them stand out?”

Here are a few of their best tips.

1. Be More Personable

“Be more personable and interactive with your audience. What I mean by that is whoever is the manager, owner or staff who is handling the small business social media should go post about themselves personally along with the business. People love to see who’s running the business behind the scenes. Once they know, like and trust you, most likely they will support your small business.” ~ Fritz ColcolSimply Thalia

2. Promote Your Company Culture

“One way small businesses can differentiate their social media from their competitors is to promote company culture instead of only products. This will help them grow quicker because more people will be interested in working for the company and it will create a community that will attract the attention of potential clients and investors.” ~ Alfredo AtanacioUassist.ME

3. Highlight Your Specialty

“Small businesses can highlight their specialties better. Big brands need to appeal to as many people as possible. Small businesses can take a niche and then target buyers for that audience. They are able to be more specialized than a major brand. People who are into that specific area will be more attracted to the small business because of the specialization over the big brands.” ~ Mary HarcourtCosmoGlo

4. Showcase What Makes You Unique

“Most small service businesses have lots of different content potential than their competitors, so they should use it. If you’re a restaurant, showcase your unique menu items. If you’re a fitness gym, showcase some of your trainers or clients. If you’re an agency, showcase some of the work you’re doing for clients. The list goes on.” ~ Andy

5. Use Humor

“Humor! Compare marketing from radio ads or early television ads to current ones and you’ll see that people don’t really care about product, service specifications and benefits or even costs really. They care about brands that they connect with. Humor allows for connection. We don’t laugh with our enemies. We hire brands that make us laugh!” ~ Jonathan SparksSparks Law

6. Adopt a ‘People-First’ Attitude

“Create your social media marketing strategy with a people-first attitude. Don’t just use it as a promotional tool. Be available for your customers 24/7, even if it might mean hiring across time zones. Be quick at responding to your users to clear their doubts, confusions or even to say thank you for their comments. This increases your visibility, builds trust, attracts engagement and helps you stand out.” ~ Josh KohlbachWholesale Suite

7. Stay Consistent

“Staying consistent across your social media design, voice and brand messaging will help your small business stand out from the competition. Consistency will help make your brand identifiable to potential customers.” ~ Kristin Kimberly MarquetMarquet Media, LLC

8. Be Proactive

“Be proactive with your audience and social media followers. Go beyond engaging them by making them feel valued. How? Give them an opportunity to share their opinions and thoughts on a particular topic. This generates a dialogue among your followers and gives you the chance to obtain meaningful feedback about your services and work on them as you go.” ~ Candice GeorgiadisDigital Day

9. Be Authentic

“The average consumer is savvy — especially digital natives. Be authentic. If you’re trying to be someone else or copy someone else, you will not build trust with your audience. Also, don’t be afraid to let your audience get to know you. Be personal and approachable. People want to do business with those they know, like and trust. Use social media to get to know your audience.” ~ Jared WeitzUnited Capital Source Inc.

10. Speak About Benefits

“Small businesses can stand out on social media by straying away from talking about the features of a product or service, and instead speaking to the benefits. What pain point is your company solving for the end user or customer? How can your social media focus on sharing narratives that showcase your ability to deliver high-impact solutions?” ~ Matthew Manos, verynice

11. Create a Strong Brand Identity

“The key for any campaign is strong brand identity. Create a distinct logo. Showcase the office dog. Pick an image filter or unique hashtag. With an easily identified brand, your posts will be eye-catching and memorable in feeds — even if the viewer is not giving the post their full attention.” ~ Peter BoydPaperStreet Web Design

12. Humanize Your Brand

“One way to make your social media strategy stand out is by giving your marketing efforts a human touch. Instead of using it as a medium for promotions only, use it to humanize your brand. You can do that by conducting live sessions to interact with your audience, introduce your team to your audience, etc. Such things attract attention and help you get more engagement as well.” ~  Thomas GriffinOptinMonster

13. Use Polls, Votes and Giveaways Creatively

“Think creatively. Use polls, votes and giveaways. These are tried-and-true strategies but really aren’t used that much overall. Also in the name of creativity, be more personable in your posting strategy. Include anecdotes when necessary and write like a person and not a bot.” ~ Andrew SchrageMoney Crashers Personal Finance

Image: Depositphotos

Read the original article on Small Business Trends

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