How to ‘Stand Out’ on Social Media
By Tommy Clark
Don’t get lost in the noise
1 simple trick to make more interesting content that stands out from your competitors
Most marketers make a well-intentioned, but dangerous mistake when mapping out a social media strategy for their brand.
They spend all their time looking at direct competitors, trying to figure out ‘what’s working for them.’
There’s a few flaws to this approach.
First of all, just because your competitor is posting a certain type of content doesn’t mean it’s working.
Second, even if it is working — you copying it just makes you blend in with your competitor. And if your competitor is the incumbent, people already associate that strategy with them. This means your brand fades into the background. Uh oh.
The entire goal of your social media strategy is to get your brand to stand out on the timeline.
You can use humor to do this, like Lotus Cars and their unhinged TikTok account. You can use education to do this, like Notion on Twitter. You can do a combination of both, like Ramit Sethi and his I Will Teach You To Be Rich podcast and product line.
But whatever approach you take, it needs to catch your target customers’ attention. It needs to stand out.
So today I want to propose a different approach. An approach that the best brands on social use all the time. One that’s been around for hundreds of years (Leonardo Da Vinci even used it).
The premise is sampling ideas and concepts from industries other than your own, to work into your content. Done right, it’s a foolproof way to stand out on a crowded timeline.
Let’s dive a bit deeper, and show some examples, so you can see how this works.
I was listening to an episode of The Danny Miranda Podcast yesterday where Danny was interviewing George Heaton, founder of British luxury streetwear brand, Represent.
George is a beast. From scaling one of the sickest brands out there to going hard in the gym every day, he’s an inspiration to many people — like myself.
And on the podcast, Danny asked George about his self development journey over the past 2 years, and the topic of emulating others came up.
Should you copy someone’s traits and lifestyle if you want to be like them?
George recalled how he used to try and copy other brands or brand owners and be just like them. But that didn’t work. He’d hop from trend to trend every 6 months or so.
Everything finally clicked when he realized he shouldn’t be trying to emulate one person — but he should be taking little bits and pieces from many inspirations from different walks of life, and combining them into his unique self.
Taking and ‘copying’ the best attributes from a unique combination of inspirations leads to a new, improved, and unique version of yourself.
And when I study other all-time greats in their respective disciplines, I see the same pattern emerge.
Kobe Bryant is my favorite basketball player of all time. I don’t care what anyone says, he’s the GOAT.
And coming up, he emulated Michael Jordan’s game quite heavily. But he also drew on experiences he had playing soccer growing up in Europe to make him a better basketball player.
When asked about it, he said:
“Most of the time, American basketball is only taught in twos: 1-2, pick and roll, or give and go, or something like that…
In playing soccer growing up, you really see the game in a combination of threes, sometimes fours—and how you play within triangles.”
His experience in soccer gave him a unique perspective that, along with is inhuman work capacity and innate talent, helped him dominate in the NBA.
Here’s yet another example: renowned artist Leonardo Da Vinci didn’t just focus on painting and sculpting.
He obsessed over mathematics and physics, and drew on that expertise to invent new artistic techniques.
He pulled techniques from other artists and mentors in studied under to his own work.
He inspired the term ‘Renaissance Man.’
You can, and should, apply this same ‘Renaissance’ mindset to your content.
Instead of trying to copy or emulate one competitor in your industry, take aspects of 5-10+ brands you admire across unconventional industries to create your unique edge.
I’ll use myself as an example.
I run social media for Triple Whale, a B2B SaaS in the eCommerce industry. I don’t spend a lot of time studying other SaaS companies. Sure, I’m aware of them. But I don’t refer to them for content strategy. I’m just not a fan of copy-pasting blog articles to Twitter and calling it a day.
Instead, I spend time diving down rabbit holes in completely unrelated industries:
→ Esports + gaming
→ College + professional sports
All of these industries have a much stronger track record for creating engaging social content than B2B SaaS. So by pulling tactics and strategies they use, I’m almost guaranteed to do better than other industry competitors. This is where Triple Whale’s meme-heavy social strategy came from.
Your Cheat Sheet
All of this theory sounds great. But how can you walk away from this newsletter and start applying this strategy, today?
Simple. Set aside 3-5hrs per week for ‘research.’ Consume content you find interesting from 5-10+ brands or content creators. Apply 1 new strategy into your brand content the following week.
Repeat that for a few weeks (or months) and you’ll see your brand start to take on a much more unique voice on social media.
The best part?
You get to study brands and techniques that interest you. And that makes the entire process of crafting a social media presence more rewarding — at least more rewarding than copy-pasting another strategy with blind hope that it’ll work, I hope.
That’s all I’ve got for you today.