Five Ways to Be a (Social Media) Clutter-Buster

Here’s my conundrum: I’m writing a blog post about rising above social media clutter . . . and the only way you’ll read this is if it rises above your social media clutter. It’s the 80s version of sending a direct mail piece that explains how to “get noticed” in your customer’s mailbox.

I better be freakin’ interesting here. No pressure.

First, let’s acknowledge this—what we consider to be clutter is not necessarily “clutter.” I mean, people inherently filter information. Always have, always will, whether it be when reading a magazine, watching TV or sorting their snail mail. This practice has merely shifted to the online world. People search for specific terms on search engines and social media. They don’t consume all available content—they gravitate toward what they’re interested in.

So if you’re not engaging on social media because you think “everyone else is doing it, so why bother,” or you just don’t think people are going to notice your content, that’s a cop out. If you have something interesting to say, then SAY IT. You never know when your tweet, post, blog or video will be exactly what someone was hoping to find on any particular day.

Wait. Let’s back this train up.

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Before I go further, let me say first that you really have to buy in to the importance of even showing up. I mean, why talk about breaking through clutter if you don’t believe there’s value in adding your 2 cents to social conversations. You have to know who you want to talk to and where they play. What’s your objective and what’s your message? No need to figure out how to get people’s attention if you don’t know WHY you want their attention.

Once you have that all squared away, then by all means, start breaking through and turning heads. Here’s how.

1) Develop a noticeable social presence. This is the bare minimum, but you’d be surprised how many brands and businesses don’t have completed profiles. So here’s the starting point—make your profiles interesting. Social media is fun, so have fun with your profiles! Post funny pictures. Have a sense of humor. And engage. Don’t talk at—talk with. Social media is a two-way street, not a commercial.

2) Listen to the conversations. You know how when you’re at a party and you walk up to a group of people, you wait a moment before you jump in? You don’t want to be rude, so you listen first to see what they’re talking about. You can learn a lot by listening. Figure out who your customers are talking to in their social circles, and listen. This will help you craft your message to be more targeted. More interesting, if you will. And your message will rise to the top.

3) Be an equal-opportunity player. I almost deleted that because it sounds bad—but it’s interesting, so I’m going with it. What I mean is, it’s impossible to engage with your entire audience and drive your message through if you aren’t playing on several social networks. This may mean your social promotion campaign lives in various forms on several networks in order to be relevant. Not everyone tweets. Not everyone posts. Not everyone pins. But you, my friend, are a marketer, which means you speak the language of the people, wherever they are. You know. When in Rome.

4) Create a conversation, not just a campaign. A campaign is a good place to start—but don’t end there. If you take away nothing else but this today, fine. Just get this: Marketing on social media is NOT about advertising and promotion. If you’re on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest to just sell your stuff and promote the heck out of it, you don’t stand a chance of breaking through the clutter. People will turn a blind eye. Consumers are advertised to all day long, in so many ways. But a brand who actually engages with them? Listens to them? Asks questions and responds back to theirs? Now that is something they’ll notice. Trust me.

5) Go offline. Crazy, right? So crazy this just might work. Start the conversation online, but then try taking it out of the social media sphere. Last I checked most of our cell phones could still make calls. What if you reached out with something more personal than a tweet? Or mailed something to follow up after an online interaction? Social is just a means to building an introduction. But the magic happens when you carry the connection beyond the online world and into the real world.

Key Takeaway: You want to turn heads in social media? Be interesting. Engage with your networks. Create conversation. Respond to your audience. Care about them as much (if not more) than your campaign. These things will get you noticed and help you bust through the clutter.

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