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4 Really Under-Used Ways to Build Your Brand Via Social Media Companies must look for unique ways to get noticed and capture target audience's attention.

By Angela Ruth

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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You may already know that social media has the power to connect and engage both you and your brand with your target audience and existing customer base. But if you are still in doubt, numerous statistics point to the wide use of social media by consumers and businesses looking for the information and solutions they need for their lives and companies. This includes increasing number of people using social media beyond just Facebook and Twitter; in fact, the numbers of those using YouTube, Pinterest, Snapchat and Instagram are growing at an incredible rate while new social media channels like Periscope are gaining ground.

Related: 6 New Social Media Marketing Tools the Experts Use. You Should, Too.

While this news is not breaking, the real story here is that you may not be leveraging the true power within your social media channels. With so much of your competition now on the same social media networks, companies have to dig deeper and look for other unique ways to get noticed and capture target audience's attention. Here are four ways you might not have thought of to build your brand on social media:

1. Have an open "house" online.

Many Realtors host "open houses" online to sell actual real estate. In these videos or slide show presentations, they showcase the best features of each residence. These online open houses work well because most of us are relatively lazy, opting for the glimpse at a house (or any other object) we are interested in, before actually taking the time to go see it. You can essentially take this concept and make it your own for your business. Your visual experience can capture your brand and add the human dimension to those attributes through the images you choose to show off your company. These images can include what your company looks like in terms of space, people, and daily life. All of these images represent the culture, belief system, values and attributes that define what it is like to work with you. This will appeal to your followers on social media, including those considering doing business with you and those looking for a job.

2. Create staff and follower interactions.

Usually competitions or contests are just for the audience, but this still mostly feels one-sided rather than offer the two-way dialogue or interaction social media is known to offer. The idea takes the competition theme to the next level by creating teams of followers and staff together competing against other followers and staff. This gets staff to interact directly with your audience and makes your followers feel like they are part of something bigger, like they're part of the company, and part of the team. The result is a better understanding of each other while doing something fun and entertaining online. This could be a trivia contest related to pop culture, sports, geography, or it might be some type of adaptation of a popular game like a word search, Pictionary or Hangman. You could easily pop in a few questions or answers relating to your company to get both customers and employees thinking about your brand. Whatever you choose as a contest or competition make sure there is plenty of interaction with team members and some type of reward at the end (the reward doesn't have to be big). The result is that your audience will feel more emotionally connected to your brand and will likely keep you at the top of their mind because they did something fun and engaging with you.

Related: Why Smart Social-Media Marketing Is Brilliant SEO Strategy

3. Develop an online talk show.

Podcasts have become very popular as have videos that show product demonstrations. Again, these are speaking to the audience rather than creating an environment of two-way communication. Those podcasts that feature guests and different segments that step outside the monologue can offer the most interest, and help you establish a platform for your brand, but in a subtler way. At the same time, your talk show format includes content from others like yourself to expand the diversity of the information. This illustrates that your brand is about helping and solving, not necessarily selling.

4. Host an online trade show online.

Similar to the idea of the talk show, an online trade show with industry partners, offering panel discussions and product showcases brings the trade show to the audience that may not otherwise be able to attend one of these events or conferences. The trade show would essentially be various features that were created in advance through video clips and then offered live with a host and relevant guests who could introduce the segments and field questions from the social media followers watching the panels, keynotes, and product showcases. In creating a strategic partnership with others in your industry, you could illustrate the collaboration and interest in solving today's biggest problems that consumers and businesses face. At the same time, your brand is showcased in a format that positions it as one of the solutions providers for a particular problem or issue.

Related: 7 Social Media Marketing Secrets No Marketer Wants to Admit

Develop, plan and assess before implementation.

For these four unique ways to use social media as a brand-building platform, you will want to do the following before putting these tactics into practice:

  • Develop your messaging and align it with existing information you market about your brand and its attributes.
  • Carefully plan all aspects of the chosen tactic, including timing, content, those responsible and any follow-up actions you want to elicit from the audience.
  • Assess any risks that could arise from using this type of unique tactic and have a contingency plan in place. For example, think about how you would address technical glitches, power outages, or negative feedback that might arise.
  • If possible, test it beforehand. By testing out the tactic in an environment outside of public access, you may be able to identify any potential problems or determine if any of your backup systems will then solve those issues.

Taking the leap with something truly unique on social media is bound to pay off by helping your company get noticed. Chances are that offering unique ways for customers to connect with your brand will highlight not only your ability to think outside the box, but it will also demonstrate an influencer knack for building brands in ways that most companies haven't even thought of.

Angela Ruth

Entrepreneur and Consultant

Angela Ruth is a freelance writer, journalist and consultant in Silicon Valley. She is a member of the YEC and a startup aficionado. You can follow her online on Twitter and Facebook.

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