We all need to differentiate ourselves in order to avoid becoming commoditized.
But that can seem impossible in an over-crowded marketplace. Such as social media, for example. So, I asked entrepreneur Ian Cleary to describe how he achieves both influence and financial success with Razor Social, a community-focused business that helps marketers and business owners scale their social and content marketing.
After each audio clip* (blue hotlink, like the example below), I’ve listed some of his key insights. Please also use Click to Tweet to share.
How Ian went from zero to top 10 social media influencer in 6 months:
- Ian began by analyzing the competition. What were they doing? What existing gap could he plug?
- Note the long-standing theme of empowering others through an understanding of “tech and tools.”
- And his emphasis on making his content really practical.
(*Quick note, if you want the full recording, with my questions as well, you can find the link at the end of this post.)
What the market wants
What convinced you that the market wanted what you had to offer? Sometimes existing experts don’t cover a topic or area, having already discovered few people want it.
How Ian found the evidence that the market was hungry for “tech and tools”:
- Ian made building relationships a key part of his early strategy.
- He used observation techniques to find the evidence needed to move forward confidently.
- And gave his target audience something they couldn’t find elsewhere:
Who is your market? Why are you attractive to them?
Although catering to 2 different market categories, Ian makes his background pay off:
- Everyone is looking for those who can make the complex simple.
- Ian leverages his technical background with marketers who may not have the grounding he has.
A sense of community
I won Ian’s first-ever blogging challenge with this series of expert round-up posts.
How Ian has differentiated the community he set up, Razor Social:
- How Ian’s business benefits from the one-to-one connections he has with his members.
- Why listening to your community generates even greater value for the business.
- What becoming a really effective community manager, mentor and coach does for the commitment of members.
Where do you get your ideas from, Ian?
- How Ian uses his own passion for learning to generate new ideas for the Razor Social community.
- Note how he wants to ensure he engages people in fun and interactive ways:
- For more on “authenticity,” watch this:
- Ideas evolve. They lead from one to the other. Don’t judge them too quickly.
Leading to impact
Let’s talk impact. Tell us about some tangible business results.
How an influential profile + superior content = higher-paying business opportunities:
Consider all the things Ian attracts through being an acknowledged expert and influencer:
- International consulting and coaching
- Invitations to speak internationally
- Affiliate revenue
- In addition to the monthly member subscriptions.
Given everything you’ve said up to this point, Ian, what top tip would you give to someone wanting to similarly distinguish themselves–especially in a crowded market?
- You can’t possibly distinguish yourself if you’re not familiar with what your competitors are saying and doing.
- Initial competitive analysis is key to success in a crowded space – but it’s also true for anyone (as I always tell the aspiring authors that work with me).
Finally, Ian, I’m wondering how this differentiation attracts other social media influencers wanting to collaborate with you, rather than seeing you as a competitor.
- Other social media influencers want to collaborate with Ian because of his complimentary approach.
- Note the importance of not being seen as an exact competitor for that reason.
As mentioned above, here’s the link to the full interview, including my questions:
If this post has been helpful to you, please share it with your social network. And if you’re getting less-than-astounding results with social and content marketing, I highly recommend you become a member of Razor Social.
As you will discover in Ian’s blog post here, we’ve experienced a huge number of shares and much greater social impact, as a result of following Ian’s advice. Tell him Liz sent you 🙂