In the online world where everyone has a voice, it can be hard to make your brand stand out from the noise. Companies big and small are looking to develop relationships with current and prospective customers using the latest platforms.
These companies are adapting, moving out of their traditional comfort zones and into the digital sphere – and they’re doing it to follow consumers’ changing online habits.
But, like in any other part of life, developing meaningful relationships with consumers, prospects and customers isn’t easy. It’s not about setting up social media accounts or filling your blog with content and then letting them run their course. It’s about continuous interaction with followers; constantly catching their attention and providing them value until they feel they know your brand and can trust it.
It takes a lot of work and, often, time to establish and maintain these relationships. But it’s worth it. The brands that do this well constantly are trusted and see customers return again and, perhaps, even become brand evangelists.
Once a brand is on someone’s radar, that company needs to stay to the fore of their mind by staying visible and recognizable among the other content they see online. Whether it’s through the content you share on social media or the messages you send to your email lists, you need to make your brand stand out and catch the eyes of your customers.
The key to standing out is understanding how to grab consumers
There are numerous studies claiming attention spans are dropping to as little as eight seconds, with many researchers claiming that we’re finding it harder to focus on just one stimulus at a time. It’s understandable – otherwise, we’d never get out of our Facebook newsfeed alive!
We’ve written about cognitive fluency a couple of times now. This is all about the idea that the simpler it is to understand a marketing message, the more effective it will be. People prefer to consume simplistic content – often unconsciously. We highlighted it’s importance on social media and used it to explain exactly why emojis are so effective in marketing and communications.
But we never quite explained how it influences every element of your marketing strategy and how marketers can use this knowledge to benefit every aspect of their tactics.
Breaking the eight-second barrier
The internet is more crowded than ever and marketers face many challenges. Their fate is often in the hands of the changing algorithms of Facebook and Twitter, which determine who and how many see their posts.
Then once a post has made it into a prospect’s newsfeed, it has to contend with all the other messages surrounding it and catch the eye of the consumer which – as it transpires – has the attention span of a goldfish. Yikes!
The solution? Well, you can start by looking at your audience’s limited attention span as an opportunity, rather than a problem. Understanding cognitive fluency will allow you to grab people’s attention, maintain it by keeping them engaged and make an impression on your audience.
The fact is the best way to get your message across is to keep it as short and simple as possible and this will give you an edge over all the rambling blog posts, tweets (it was better when we only had 180 characters), adverts and web pages.
Keep this in mind throughout the marketing process. Through the strategic formulation of social media posts, blog content and online communications, companies can hold consumers’ focus and then encourage them to do something meaningful with the information they’re presented with, whether it’s to share your brand’s message further or convert to become a customer.
Make your brand stand out on social media with unique URLs
Starting with social media posts, you need to catch the eye of consumers and then make sure your message is communicated and comprehended in just a few seconds. Stay focused on keeping it brief, but also help those who see it make a positive decision about engaging with it.
— MastercardUK (@MastercardUK) November 25, 2016
Pay attention to how you construct posts. Keep it to one or two short sentences, written in simple language. Include relevant visual content, hashtags and emojis – simplicity is key here. Hashtags will let people easily discern the key topic you’re posting about. Emojis will clearly communicate emotion with one tiny visual. And as for images, a picture is worth a thousand words.
But be careful, crowded posts are bad for cognitive fluency and less is definitely more in this situation. If you’re looking for more detail on how to craft an engaging social media post, you can find more details in this piece we wrote for Bulkly here!
While you shouldn’t go as far as sounding like a purveyor of clickbait, do your best to intrigue viewers and hype up anticipation for your content in status updates. This will encourage clicks and positive reactions to your CTA.
Then comes the jewel in the crown 👑 Your link! Using branded links is a great way to keep things simple, while also building brand awareness and recognition. Your links can feature your brand name, a TLD indicating what your company does and a keyword in the slashtag, which gives an indication of what the content you’re sharing is about and where the link will bring them.
But best of all branded links make for a clear and actionable CTA on social media. The human mind has come to expect a call to action. It is part of the logical progression of a landing page, website or social media post and is rooted in psychology. The perceptual set theory means that based on past experiences, consumers are just waiting for you to summon them to action.
This doesn’t mean they’ll convert, it just means they expect a CTA. And that CTA should seem trustworthy.
Branded links are also a great remedy for clickbait-weary users as they know your brand wouldn’t associate its name with any malicious content or spam. In fact, our research shows that using branded links helps increase click-through rates by up to 39% when compared to generic short links or long URLs.
As followers become familiar with your company’s branded short links, they will start catching their attention automatically and make your brand stand out in their newsfeed. You can even use the slashtag to further encapsulate your CTA by encouraging users to ‘shop’, ‘buy now’ or ‘find out more’.
Beyond social media
By carefully constructing social media posts, brand’s can grab attention, engage people and encourage them to carry out an action. Links are the bridge between your audience and the content you want them to read.
Once your prospect has completed the desired action by clicking through to your website from social media, continue with this idea of keeping things simple. People want valuable content, but that doesn’t mean you have to provide them with a thesis. People are often short on time or on-the-move when they engage with brands.
Make your website easy to navigate and as UX-focused as possible. Huge blocks of text are off-putting and will discourage visitors from making it to the end of your web page.
Like on social media, include visuals and simple messaging. You should carefully consider how you use color too.
Include multiple entry points in your content, like short paragraphs, headings and images. This breaks your content up for all the skimmers and scanners that come to your site. This is why newspapers use headings and pull quotes. They will draw readers down the page, where they will eventually come to another CTA.
This next CTA could lead to a conversion, or it might lead to another web page. What’s important is that the visitor is moving through the sales funnel all the time and the best way to help them continue of their journey is to provide relevant content that is digestible and simple – whether it’s in a tweet, a SMS or a page on your website.
- Cognitive fluency: The science of effective social media posts
- How to build brand trust on social media
- Emoji marketing: Add emotion to your marketing messages
- Add emojis to your links and stand out from the crowd
This Article is About:
- Make your brand stand out
- Grabbing attention online
- Actionable attention
- Standing out online
Originally Posted: 30th March 2018
Last Updated: 9th September 2020