:::speaking in a cheesy infomercial voice:::
Are you frustrated because you feel like you're doing everything right, but STILL no one seems to notice you online? Are you befuddled because you feel like no one is really seeing you? Are you slightly embarrassed by the fact that you seem to get no interaction from your followers? Are you wondering HOW THE HECK can I stand out online?!?!
If so, this post is for YOU!!!
Ehem. Okay I'll stop talking in the cheesy infomercial voice now, even though it's really amusing!
Standing out in a day and age where EVERYONE seems to be starting a blog and/or online business might seem impossible. I totally get it! But trust me, it IS possible. Not to toot my own brassy horn but, I frequently hear clients and perspective clients tell me something along the lines of, "I feel like I've looked through a million websites, and yours really stood out!" and "I love how personal and fun everything feels compared to so many other boring sites ..."
Standing out is SO important, but I too have been in the place where I felt like no one noticed me. :::queue sad violin music:::
BUT. There are several things I've done this year that have made a HUGE difference! I learned several of these points in an article that Erika over at Olyvia.co wrote and explained so well right here. And today I'm gonna expand on some of those ideas as well as share some others! Basically, they all revolve around infusing your personality into everything! Not only will doing this help you to stand out in a sea of blogs and businesses that all feel the same, but it will give you originality and allow you to connect with your followers on a deeper level! Behold, here's 27 powerful ways to stand out online:
1. Be yourself.
I feel like so many people out there are really afraid to do the one thing that will always make them stand out; being themselves! Do I need to remind you that YOU are the only YOU out there? (Unless of course you've been cloned, in which case could you please send me a video of you and your clone together because that would be really interesting to see?!) Embrace who you are. Show it. Your style, your personality, your quirks, your voice, your interests, your design preferences ... everything! The whole shabang. (Psssst, you can enroll in my Strong Brand mini course for free which includes my 'Be Your Brand' workbook if you wanna learn how to infuse your unique personality into your brand while making sure that your brand is strong, consistent and stands out!)
2. Talk TO your people, not AT them.
Don't treat social media as some sterile, business-only soap box. Sure, a business-related post where you share your latest sale, daily special, or ---insert stale business topic here--- is TOTALLY FINE (and necessary) every now and then! But don't let those things be the ONLY types of things you post about. Would YOU get sick of feeling like you're getting pitched at every two seconds? Would you get tired of reading nothing but business promotion posts all the time?
(hint: I bet you would.)
So if these are the only types of things that you're sharing, you need to break free from that! Think about what you can share/post about to relate to your followers on a PERSONAL level, not just a business-y level.
3. Don't succumb to trends (unless you really DO love them!)
Hey remember this past spring where donuts became super trendy? Donuts got slapped on everything. Donut totes, donut tees, donut phrases, ("I donut care what you think), donut blog posts, donut DIY ... DONUTS DONUTS DONUTS!!!! Now, I honestly love donuts because I find them both extremely tasty and super cute looking, so I succumbed to this trend lightly. But my point here is, don't follow a trend simply because all the cool kids are doing it! If you want to stand out, this means you don't necessarily WANT to be doing what everyone else is doing ... right? Riiiiiight? Only succumb to trends that you truly, honestly LOVE.
4. Don't give up.
There are TONS of new blogs and businesses that are being born every day, but do you know how many of these will fizzle out and give up pretty darn quickly? LOTS of them. Just because you're passionate about doing something doesn't mean that it will be easy! The people who really stand out are the people who push through the obstacles, evolve and grow.
5. Share pretty graphics of your favorite quotes.
Find pretty graphics of your favorite quotes on places like Pinterest and share them with your followers! You can share them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram ... just make sure they aline with the overall vibe of your brand!
Behold, I do this regularly on my Facebook page:
6. Show behind-the-scenes photos of your latest projects!
Everyone loves a good behind-the-scenes photo. It just makes a business feel more personal, ya know? It's like you are letting your followers into your secret world and it just feels relatable and kind of fascinating at the same time!
7. Have strong opinions.
Having a lukewarm opinion about something never stands out as much as some one who shares their thoughts and opinions with conviction. Whatever your stance is, stand by it baby!!!! Be strong, be passionate, be a doll and send me some cookies.
(Sorry that last bit just kind of came out because I'm really hungry right now.)
8. Share your story.
No one else has lived your life and has the exact same experiences that you have! How can you share your story to relate to your followers? You can share it in your about page, your bio, your blog posts ... get creative! Here's an example of how I shared my story on my about page.
9. Show some casual, fun photos of yourself and your business.
Along those same lines, share some fun photos of the face of your blog or business: YOU! (Just don't overdo this because an abundance of too many selfies gets old really quick.) Also feel free to share photos of your business mates (if you have any!) These can be photos of you working, of you out and about doing random things ... get creative! (Great for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!)
Behold, me drinking coffee:
(Okay let's be honest ... do I or do I NOT look kind of like a turtle in this pic?)
10. Focus on one little thing and do it REALLY well.
People who stand out don't spread themselves thin by trying to do it all. I'm sure you've heard the phrase that goes something like, "try to please everybody and you'll end up pleasing nobody" before! But you know what? It's true!!! The more that you can FOCUS on a particular thing and get really specific, the better. A really great example of this is Dana of The Minimalist Baker. (Who I had the pleasure of interviewing last year!) She focuses on creating vegan friendly recipes that require 10 ingredients or less, 1 bowl to prepare and that take 30 minutes or less to make. SUPER specific right? Her blog's popularity exploded VERY quickly, and I believe it's in part because she's so focused on one particular mission and she does it super well.
11. Find out what everyone else is doing and do it differently.
There's a book I really enjoyed reading called 'The Blue Ocean Strategy' which provides countless examples of successful businesses that have gained popularity and success by looking at everything their competitors were doing and then finding a way to do it differently. (I totally recommend this book for your reading pleasure, by the way!) Take a moment to really study what your "competition" is doing and find a way to go in the opposite direction or to make it better!
12. Truly care about your people.
I can't tell you how many times I have felt let down by businesses or brands that I really admired because I ended up feeling like they didn't actually care about me in the end. Crappy customer services, a bad overall experience, ignored e-mails, ignored calls, stale responses ... :::sniffle::: all of those things make me sad. Go above and beyond when it comes to your followers and clients- find ways to show them that you care! Give them a great experience, provide them with free (and super awesome) content, engage with them, surprise them in unexpected and kind ways, make them feel understood. Showing true caring really does stand out SO much in a sea of automated, impersonal brands. I love engaging with and helping the creative ladies in my Facebook group, feel free to join us if you'd like!
13. Give people a sneak peek at you "after hours."
What's something fun/funny/entertaining that you could share with your followers of you off the clock? Binging your guilty pleasure on Netflix with a pint of Ben and Jerrys in your lap? You with mega bed head in the morning? Again ... get creative! (Perfect for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!)
Behold, me playing pinball at my favorite pinball joint (I call my pinball breaks "lunch breaks," hehehe):
(You get bonus points if you know what movie the floating Elton John head refers to!)
14. Ask your followers engaging questions.
What's an interesting question related to your industry that you could ask your followers? What's a total off-topic but still great question that you could ask your followers? If you want people to engage with you, give them a reason to! Get my drift? (You might enjoy the post I wrote on 10 ways to engage your blog's readers!)
15. Share quality, original content that's super useful!
When people find something truly useful and super awesome they will want to share it. Like ... there's a particular dessert here in KC that I'm obsessed with. I babble to people about it constantly and tell them that you have to go try it right now!!! (The restaurant is McCoys and the dessert is the bread pudding, incase you were wondering.) You want the quality, original content that you share to be easy to read and easy to share! (For more info on writing kick butt content, check out this post on how to never run out of ideas for awesome content!)
16. Under promise and over deliver.
This is a motto that I learned and implemented into my photography business very early on! Always try and give people more than they would expect from you. For example, I always tell my wedding photography clients that they will have their gallery of images ready in 4 - 6 weeks after their wedding when in reality I always try and deliver them in HALF the time! This not only makes my clients SUPER excited, but it also makes it so that I have exceeded their expectations. Think of what a let down it would be if I promised the images in 2 weeks but ended up running behind and getting them the images in 4 weeks! (Because life and business happen.) See what I'm say'in? Always look for ways that you can over deliver, add extra value and go the extra mile!
17. Share a snapshot of your snazzy workspace.
I'm kind of obsessed with seeing people's workspaces. (In fact I've got an entire board on Pinterest that's dedicated to people's creative workspaces!) Share with your followers a picture of where the magic happens, baby! (Excellent for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!)
Speaking of workspaces ... I shared this adorable workspace a few weeks back:
18. Get involved with online communities.
Time to get out there and network! Think of it as simply making online blog and business friends if that makes it easier. THE most important thing is building meaningful, genuine relationships! Look for groups on Facebook related to your niche and industry and get involved. Actually post stuff, ask questions and share things! (I already mentioned it once but who cares- I've got a Facebook group for creative ladypreneurs and we have tons of fun! :::whispers in creepy demon child voice::: Join usssss!)
19. Share amazing testimonials.
This one is a GREAT way to stand out online! Especially if you are trying to sell a product or service. (In fact I'd say some raving testimonials are a MUST if you're trying to sell anything!) Testimonials provide credibility and help people to trust you when they likely have never met you before. Even though my Strong Brand mini course is free I still have lots of testimonials on the course page!
20. Keep your website up to date.
Do you tweet on Twitter like 10 times a day and update your Facebook on the regular but neglect to consistently update your website? SHAME ON YOU!!!! (That really wasn't as mean is it sounded.) But for real, don't forget to keep your website up to date! Post consistently, check to make sure everything works, audit your posts and bring in new goodies and content!
21. Comment on other people's blog posts.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, (sounding like a broken record- oh yeah!) if you want other people to comment on your blog, reach out and comment on some one else's blog. The more love you give, the more you will receive! PLUS other commenters will see you and some of them will probably click on you to check out your site! (This happens to me all the time.)
22. Interact with people on your social media accounts.
Make sure to engage with people on your social media accounts! On places like Facebook, Instagram, etc. take the time to respond to comments and to also comment on the content of others. You don't have to spend all day doing this- in fact it would be best NOT to get sucked into the black hole that is social media browsing! But set a time limit of 5 - 15 minutes each day for this very thing. (Speaking of social media black holes, you might enjoy this post on 10 tips to avoid social media burnout!)
Behold, here I am actually responding to comments on Instagram (also I can't stop saying "behold"):
23. Truly engage with people in your online forum, if you have one.
You know what really ticks me off? People who start online forums (such as groups on Facebook), and then don't actually interact with the people who join! (Or they very rarely make a peep.) Having an online forum is a great idea, but make sure that you are actually interacting with your people. They are joining YOUR group after all, make them feel cared for!
24. Be positive.
Be a sparkly, colorful unicorn that poops rainbows in a world filled with negativity and bad things! Do you ever get depressed like I do when you scroll through Facebook and see nothing but sad articles, hate-filled comments and whiny status updates? Blegh!!! Yuck. It sounds cheesy but find ways to brighten some one's day and make them smile! Send a reader a care package. Give someone a genuine compliment. Send a client a hand-written note just because. E-mail your followers a hilarious e-card (omg these ones are hilarious!)
25. Share the awesome content of other people that you admire.
Sharing is caring, yo. Too many people get sucked up into the "if I share other people's content, no one will notice ME!!!" belief. Nope, it's not true. Plus you never know, the person whose content you're sharing might take notice and thank you for it! OR they might share something of yours in return.
26. Talk in YOUR voice, not some stale business voice.
I wrote an entire post about using your voice to make your blog/business stand out right here! So read it. Read it NOW!!! (Or at least, once you finished reading this blog post.)
27. Create a stellar, personality-filled brand presence.
Having a strong, clear and SUPER AWESOME BRAND will make you stand out like nobody's business. (Literally, ha!) I wrote an entire post on how to create a kick-ass brand in 10 steps right here! Aaaaand lastly, you should totes (yes I just said "totes"), enroll in my Strong Brand mini course. The only thing it will cost you is your time. :)
And that's it! And now, have you tried anything on this list? Is there anything I could ADD to this list to make it extra helpful?
What are you having for dinner? (Totally off-topic but hey I'm SUPER hungry right now and have a one track mind!!!)