22 Ways to Stand Out Online (and attract the right community members)
1. Join Facebook Groups
Facebook groups are a fabulous way to gain more insight on your business and to grow with other business owners building their online brands. But, it takes more than just liking a post here and there, you must be vocal and present. Carve out some time throughout the week to comment on posts you see throughout the group, lookout for social media or networking threads, share a helpful article or a piece of advice that could help someone. Facebook groups are a wonderful way to gain collaborations, profitable leads and career changing opportunities.
2. Use Relevant Business Hashtags
Use relevant business hashtags to get in front of your online peers to build and network. We are in a sea of amazing (and some not-so-amazing) social media accounts, so we have to stand out by making use of hashtags that will get you in front of not only business owners, but potential clients as well.
3. Use Your Social Platforms as a Resource Hub
Let's think through this idea just a bit. If your blog is where you market your expertise through content, then your social media platforms are resource hubs where you share that content ... ON TOP OF supplemental advice and insights to your online tribes. Think of your social media platforms as mini blogs where you are dropping gems and passing on the wealth of knowledge and support.
4. Create a Free Resource Library
Create a resource library full of free resources and freebies you have created for your blog via blog content, challenges and even newsletter content you've shared. Not only is this a great way to build your emailing list, but it's always great to have an organized method to the freebie madness. Honestly, I cannot tell you how many mailing lists I've created to distribute my freebies, now it's housed on one amazing list! If you are wondering how to create your own resource library, check out Melyssa of The Nectar Collective's post about that, here.
5. Host Challenges
Host a challenge! Challenges are a great way to teach your online community how to improve the way they manage their business, social media platforms or how to streamline their productivity. Challenges are also a fabulous way to build your emailing list and increase your online exposure. When creating your education challenge, think of how this challenge could attribute to building your online authority.
6. Create a Newsletter Not a Catalog of Past Content
Let's get real, folks do not like to read. With that being said, if you are ONLY sending them updates about your blog content, you will begin to lose folks or you may see your open rate decrease overtime. When building an online community, you must commit to informing, educating or inspiring them in some way. So, instead of giving them a complete rundown of last week's blog content, think of some free advice that you can give them to help improve their brand or their everyday life. This my friend is how you build and invest in your online community.
7. Start A Podcast, Video Training
Video and audio content will be extremely important for the growth of brands in 2016. Written content is fabulous for your online communities to reference, but audio and video content allows your audience to hear and see who you really are, and thus feel more connected to you. While on this journey to stand out online, I want to encourage you to expand the reach of your brand by extending the platforms you are on. Your brand won't work if you don't.
8. Treat Your 'About Me' Section Like Your Content
You take time to create helpful content on your blog, right? So, take the same amount of time to create an about me page that allows readers to not only get to know who you are, but why you are qualified for the job. Think of your 'about me' section as an online resume, with a touch of stylish and personal flair. If you are wondering how it's done, check out my about me.
9. Your Tabs Should Reflect Your Content/Services
Gone are the days of using random hashtags to lead to other websites, or cutesy pages of your animal. Now, your tabs should reflect who you are and the services/products or content you create. For instance, being that I am an online social media infopreneur, I create tons of freebies and I need one place where my online community members can find them. With that being said, my tabs are a point of direction for my readers. I want to encourage you to have your most important tab sections toward the front and the fun sections towards the back.
10. Create a Slack Community
Slack is a like a free online message service for bloggers and entrepreneurs. Think of it as a super-mini version of a private Facebook community, where you can answer questions, give out free advice and moderate content/advice that your community members share with one another. One common theme I am weaving here is that in order for you to stand out online, you must learn the importance of fostering positive and genuine connections with others in your industry.
If you are closely connected to other girlbosses, then I know for sure that you have seen this word in multiple tweets, Instagram posts and Facebook comments. You may be tired of hearing and seeing it, but it is uber important for the growth of your online brand. If you are wondering how you can begin collaborating with other bloggers + entrepreneurs, think about these items:
- Collaborate on a Challenge
- Host Joint Webinars
- Create a Joint Product/Service
- Support One Another When the Other Creates New Content
These are a few of the many ways you can begin extending your brand and meet amazing folks who are on similar growth and expansion journeys.
12. Do a Webinar
Remember that piece about extending your brand on to other platforms to broaden your reach? Yes my friend, in order to stand out online (all while attracting your ideal community) you must be willing to put in the work, so why not host a webinar and share something you are passionate about or something you love teaching others how to do. This is your chance to become vocal on who you are, what you do and who you do it for.
13. SEO Is Your Friend ... Treat Her Right
9 times out of 10, we forget about the power of SEO or search engine optimization. Honestly, SEO is a fancy acronym that relates to how well you are titling your blog content, images and the content within your blog post. So homie, it's easier than it sounds. Go to Google, yes right now, and type in, How to Use SEO. After you've done that, scroll all the way down and check out the most used phrases related to your Google search about SEO. Here is the golden lining between you and SEO, here is where you can begin to up your search game by including phrases that are MOST FREQUENTLY searched for on Google. Oh yes, you can also do the same on Pinterest too!
14. Audit Your Website
Is your site user/mobile friendly? These are a few of things you should be checking on when auditing your site. Take the time to check a few of the items below:
- Make sure your social media links and about me sections are up to date
- Update old blog content
- Update old links (make sure the correct urls are present)
- Edit photos that fall outside of your visual brands guidelines
- Create a brand guidelines for your website
- Create content upgrades for old blog post content
- Create a resource library to house of your freebies
- Check for typos
- Update blog imagery
15. Capture Emails for EVERYTHING YOU DO!
When creating an online community, you want to make sure you are reaching them in their inboxes as well. Being that folks do not readily read blogs as often as they did back in the old days, we have to REMIND them that we exist. Without effective newsletters, links to past content, webinars and exclusive promos in their inbox ... you could risk your blog from not getting the exposure it deserves.
16. Create + Stick To Your Brand Guidelines
Hey, we just talked about this! And usually when you see something come up again, it usually means it super-duper-uber-important! Standing out online does not only include the content you create, but it's also about how you present this content as well. Take some time to create a mini-brand guideline that outlines your color theme, fonts, brand imagery themes and even appropriate visual sizing.
17. Say Thank-You!
It's as easy as a cute handwritten note, an email or even a social media shout out. Of course, the more personable the better, but saying thank you will go further than you think.
18. Invest in a Bookkepping System
Organization speaks volumes! Just think about finding the perfect bookkeeping system that helps you create invoices, all while helping you keep track of expenses and profits your brand has made ... wouldn't that be the life? Well, my friend, you are in luck! The lovely ladies of Think Creative Collective have compiled a list of helpful accounting resources for the non-accountant like myself!
19. Be Responsive on Social Media
Nothing burns my biscuits more than folks who refuse to respond to comments. Point, blank, period ... that is one of a few reasons why I may unfollow someone. Not only does it show that you are invested and engaged with your community, but it's common decency to respond to comments within 24 hours of receiving them. Yes, life happens and we totally get it ... just make sure you are consistent and willing to engage with your community.
20. Plan + Schedule Social Media
Consistency is what you should be implementing into your online brand. Instead of sitting on Twitter and Instagram all day, plan and schedule a portion of your content ahead of time. This will ensure that you are consistently engaging, building and connecting with your audiences while you are working in the office, creating content or spending time with your family. But you should make sure you are also setting aside time to live tweet, answer mentions and network with fellow tweeters.
21. Use CLICK TO TWEET
Yes! Click to Tweet is an awesome tool to use to encourage folks to engage with you on Twitter. I love using Click to Tweet quotes in blog posts and newsletters. Whether you want to encourage folks to share a quote from you or you would like them to answer a questions, Click to Tweet would definitely be your go-to tool.
22. Closed Mouths Don't Get Fed
If you are not vocal on who you are, what you do and who you do it for, how do you expect others to know? Social media is not the end gain, but it is a starting point for you to begin to create a brand that attracts your ideal target audience. Each of the tips we've gone through in this post will most certainly help you stand out online.