Building Great Connections by Being Unique

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You’ve probably heard people talking about the importance of being unique and yourself on social media. We absolutely agree—every social channel is so crowded with people doing so many different things that to stand out from the crowd and make a difference, you have to be unique. But what exactly does that mean when you’re looking to build relationships and establish a strong social presence? Well, we invited social media coach, Nika Stewart to talk about building great connections. Here’s a summary of our chat.

Guest: Nika Stewart
Topic: Building great connections by being unique
Format: Eight questions directed at the guest. Everyone’s welcome to share.

Q1: What does it mean to be unique on Twitter?

To be unique on Twitter is to be yourself. Each of us stands out in our own way without even trying.

However, unfortunately, most people today instinctively emulate someone else so much so that it takes conscious effort to be yourself.

We often think that being unique is about what you do, but it’s not so exactly. As our guest pointed out, there’ll always be others who do exactly what you do—they’ll do business in the same industry, buy from the same supplier as you, and even have a shop on the same street as you.

Being unique doesn’t mean you have to do something entirely different from everyone else. It means that you have to infuse your personality into your work. It’s not about what you do, but how you do it.

A good way to find your unique strength is to identify what you’re good at and use that to your advantage. For example, if you have a great voice, you might consider creating a theme song for your business. Or if you have an exceptionally confident camera presence, you can spread your message and business by doing more videos. If you’re a musician, collaborate with others to promote your brand.

Whatever you do, make sure you’re playing to your strengths, as Madalyn said.

Q2: How can you identify your unique characteristics?

A good way to decode what makes you you, is to ask yourself some scary questions. Consider, what about yourself would you never share with others, because it’s too confronting, embarrassing, or challenging? That’s your unique characteristic, and it’ll help you connect with your broader audience.

Our guest shared a few questions you can ask yourself to identify your Authentic Branded Connector—or ABC.

  1. What are some things you struggle with?
  2. What have you learned not to share?
  3. If you plan to create a video or go live, what do you prepare to hide?
  4. What are you afraid to talk about?

Once you know your “thing,” you can leverage that to your benefit. However, just because these questions are slightly scary, it doesn’t mean that your answers should be scary too.

For example, if you live with a specific disability, you might’ve conditioned yourself not to talk about it because some people were patronizing towards you in the past. However, it might be exactly what your audience needs to hear from you. You’d bring a unique perspective and become an advocate for a cause—just speaking your truth.

Q3: Why is uniqueness important when connecting with people?

Acknowledging our imperfections and being vulnerable is authenticity.

There are hundreds of ways to be unique, but you also need to be authentic to connect with people strongly. You can have a unique story that’s fake, but it won’t be as powerful as an authentic story that’s personal and deeply tied to who you are as a person.

When you showcase that unique and authentic side, aside from connecting with your audience, you’ll also inspire them. We all yearn for inspiration in life, and you will become that person.

As Christine added, when you’re unique, you create a halo of stories around you that all tie into your personality. People will remember you by your story. It helps people recollect you as a person rather than just another brand. Uniqueness puts faces to narratives—faces that we all love to remember and re-engage with.

Q4: Is being unique the same as being authentic?

Not really. Unique stories can be fake, too. Literature is strewn with fantasy and fiction that’s so unique, but still imaginary. On the other hand, we love biographies because they’re authentic. They tell the stories of people like you and me who had great successes but also equally disappointing times in their lives.

Manisha shared another great real-life example. Humour can be a unique way to deal with tough conditions, but being humorous doesn’t necessarily mean authenticity. If you joke on Twitter about losing your job but mope about it at home, then you’re not being relatable. You’re being phony.

To find out what makes you unique, answer the ABC questions our guest shared in Q2. That’ll help you uncover authentic qualities you might be ignoring.

Q5: Should you share much about your personal life when building social relationships?

If you’ve read this far, you’re likely wondering why we’re suggesting that you share about your life, when it’s only common sense not to do so.

As our guest clarified, even though sharing about your personal life on social media helps connect with your audience, it should be a conscious decision.

Don’t ever feel pressured to talk about things that are best kept private. Use your diligence to identify what you should and shouldn’t talk about. Recognize the difference between personal and private, and honor it for your own safety and well-being.

Jim told us how he’d decide what to share and what not to. If he’s comfortable sharing about something in his life, he will. While he keeps his religious and political beliefs to himself, he’s shared moments of his army life and family on social media.

What and how much we share is different for each of us, and it’s vital to establish that early on.

Q6: What are some easy strategies to increase engagement on Twitter?

Social media is about being social. Don’t expect to get engagement without engaging in the first place. This means actively participating in other people’s conversations, contributing helpful information, and being a community member.

That said, make sure that every retweet and reply is meaningful. Sometimes we just want to say, “That’s great” or “Thanks for sharing,” which is fine, but those responses don’t advance the conversation or add value. The next time you want to say, “This is awesome!” Take a moment to consider why you think it’s awesome and why others should check it out. That way, you’re sharing your interpretation of the content while also adding a unique perspective to the discussion. That’s real value.

Of course, value isn’t only business education. People use Twitter for a whole variety of reasons. Enhancing their experience in any way is adding value—that could be entertainment, links to further resources, motivation, or sometimes even a simple heartfelt acknowledgment.

Kevin’s tip is to ask questions. It’s a great way to fuel your curiosity, to learn from an expert in the field, and most importantly, share that knowledge with the rest of the community. Knowledge begets knowledge!

Q7: What are some common mistakes people make when trying to increase engagement?

Mistake 1:

The biggest mistake, according to our guest, is broadcasting instead of listening. So many of us spend too much time on social media talking about ourselves at others rather than engaging in a mutually beneficial conversation.

Mistake 2:

Spamming people. This includes adding unhelpful comments on their content, sending them direct messages without a clear and genuine purpose, and being overly salesy.

Mistake 3: 

Using empty calls to action like “click here” or “read my blog” without enough context explaining why they should take action and what’s in it for them.

Cindy rightly pointed out that most of us make these mistakes not because we don’t want to be social, but because we’re still learning about how to boost engagement organically. Ironically, being social on social media takes a bit of learning and a lot of practice. Participating in Twitter chats is a great way to learn new tricks, both by observing others and by sharing advice.

Q8: What are some best practices when trying to build relationships, connect with people, and boost visibility?

Our guest shared her top four best practices to build genuine and lasting relationships on social media.

Be human.
Even if you use tools to schedule and manage your social media activities, engage and respond as a real, breathing human being.

Acknowledge all comments across your posts.
Revisit older posts periodically to make sure you haven’t missed any comments or replies.

Be genuinely caring.
Initiate conversations without an agenda. That’s what makes us human—just like you would check in on your family every day/week/month, check in on your social media connections as well. A simple “how’s things?” goes a long way.

Share personal experiences that people can connect with.
Whether it’s clearing an exam, closing an important deal, or just catching up with a friend after years, share your wins with your community. It gives them a compelling reason to engage with you.

Our friends from WP Business Reviews spoke about the value of consistency. Be there for your audience, listen, and actively engage in conversations.

Of course, if you enjoyed working with a particular brand, also consider leaving a positive review. Don’t do it expecting something in return, though. Do it as a token of your appreciation.

Well, folks, that’s all from me today. Thanks for reading through, and I hope this summary is helpful. If you’d like to read through some more great insights from our chat with Nika, check out this Twitter Moment that Joana put together. If you enjoyed reading this summary, you’d love the live chat. Join us for the next #TwitterSmarter chat on Thursday at 1pm ET. See you then!

About me, Narmadhaa:

I write all the things—technical and marketing copy to fill the pocket; haiku and short stories to fill the soul. A social media enthusiast, I’m a member of the #TwitterSmarter chat crew, and always happy to take on writing gigs.

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