How to Stand Out Online as a Retailer

Making your business stand out from the noisy world of social media. A tough job, we understand. Some helpful tips to make you stand out? Read them here!

Finding your own voice and style in this busy and ever-evolving e-commerce world is difficult. Your retail competitors might have a better way of saying things than you and their voice might be more distinguishable from the noisy world that’s called the internet. Your voice, style, and way of thinking doesn’t really leave a mark on your customers. And, at the moment, your brand doesn’t propose an unforgettable experience. In short, making your business stand out in the broad world of social media and online shopping is a tough challenge. Breaking through the noise of distracting notifications, emails, apps, videos, advertisements… A tough job, we understand.

So, you might ask, what’s the next step than? Do I just go all in on social media and Facebook ads? No, please no! Don’t dive head first in this complex world. Immensely important first step?

Investigate your target audience

So, first step of this investigation is to understand your audience. Who are they? Are you primarily selling to young mothers or is your target group men between 25 and 55? That’s still immensely broad.

You, as a retailer, need to understand who your target audience is and that doesn’t stop with their age, gender and place of residence. You need to figure out what your audience likes, what they need and what they dream of. And, figuring that out is difficult if you don’t have a specific person in mind.

So, before you can investigate your target audience, create a specific person for your strategies. Examine who they are, what they like, which books they read and which specific products of yours they buy. Then, you’ll need to find out which social media they use. Are they a fervent Instagram user or do they prefer LinkedIn or Facebook? Sproutsocial investigated the size of the biggest social media and found out which age groups for instance use Facebook, as demonstrated in the example below.

(Source: Sproutsocial)

Sproutsocial made an extremely useful list. It’s also possible you have several personalities you try to reach with your brand. Most brands have multiple personas they try to reach. Most important? Don’t mix them together in one persona!

Use their language

Your customers might not even know that they need your products to solve their problems. So, it’s essential you communicate with them in a language they understand. Don’t use language that demonstrates that your customers already know what their problem is. Use words and simple language to explain your customers’ problems. In short? Start from their point of view, not from your company’s angle.

In addition, if your target audience is for instance young people, there’s no need to start using difficult and incomprehensible words or phrases. It’s key you use the same jargon and language as your customers so they can understand you better. A connection with your audience is immensely valuable. That’s why there are many brands out there that use the same language and expressions as their audience. Take for instance the next example, brought to you by Taco Bell.


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Shine bright like a taco. ✨

Een bericht gedeeld door Taco Bell (@tacobell) op

As you can see, Taco Bell aims to use phrases that young people mainly use. By doing so, their target audience feels more engaged with the brand and feels more valued by them. A solid base for a lasting relationship if we may say so. Another company that does a great job targeting its audience is H&M. The Swedish retailer uses particular phrases, specifically used by its target audience, as demonstrated in the following example.


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If we could, we would swipe right on these flawless stripes! 💘 #HM Satin blouse: 0698796 Trousers: 0695545

Een bericht gedeeld door H&M (@hm) op

However, you should not only cater to your target audience’s needs only. It’s essential you develop your own voice: filled with your unique words, phrases and way of saying things. Whatever you say, whether it is online or offline, you should stand out from the crowd. Your voice should be recognizable and should reflect your company culture. What do you stand for, what are your values and dreams and what makes you different from your competition? That should all be reflected in your company voice.

And, important for your voice is its authenticity. Trying to fit in by just using what’s popular at the moment can seriously backfire. People value honesty, especially on your social media. Demonstrated in Taco Bell’s example, you must choose language that your audience uses too. And, its audience appreciates the brand’s posts because of its authentic and truthful language. Genuineness is key.

Adapt to the channel

Now, you should not only develop your own unique company message. You may think that copying your message from for instance Facebook will suffice for your LinkedIn profile. Our advice? Definitely a no-go. Each channel requires different methods and has different needs. To stand out on social media does not translate to identical messages on all social media. To stand out has to do with flexibility and authenticity, as we mentioned before. We’ll demonstrate how you can do this.

For example, TrackMaven found out Facebook posts receive much more likes and interaction if they include a picture. As it seems, people like it if a brand tries to engage with them through images. On the other hand, engage with your audience by asking questions: your audience will feel their opinion is valued by their favorite brands. And, last but not least, when you post on Facebook, you should try to lengthen your word count. Your audience on Facebook likes to read! WeWork does this very well in their Facebook post. They use more words in their post via which they engage more people. In this specific post, they share a blogpost with their audience, trying to further enlighten them on certain topics. And, a picture is also included. Interaction guaranteed!

But, if you try to engage with your audience on Twitter for instance, you should adapt your strategy. The context on the social medium is much more informal than on LinkedIn. And, you have limited space to convey your message. So, most naturally, you must adapt your message to the character length. Instagram, on the other hand, is all about visuals. No ordinary pictures, no. Your feed on the social medium should be cohesive and lure customers in with its aesthetic. WeWork also shows that it perfectly comprehends the different needs of the different social media in the next example.


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💜💜💜 #wework #dowhatyoulove 📷 @cindyyyyyyy7

Een bericht gedeeld door WeWork (@wework) op

In this Instagram post, WeWork perfectly goes along with the trends of today’s motivating social media posts. And, the image used in the post has the perfect Instagram aesthetic. Perfect to lure your new audience in! So, in short, what works on Facebook probably won’t work on Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn. The message? Adapt to the medium’s needs.

Stand out by being you

It might sound cheesy to say you can just be you on social media, but it is the case. Your customers love you for you so why and try to be different? There’s no need to alter your company voice or to start using hip words your younger audiences are using. Just find your own, unique voice and try to make a real connection with your target audience. Use simple words to win them over.

Other tips we can give you is to adapt your message to the channel. Facebook doesn’t serve the same purpose as Twitter or Instagram and their formats aren’t interchangeable. Each to its own, you could say. Yes, you can use the same idea for a post on all your social media, but you can’t just copy and paste. Adapt to the channel and you’ll see, you’ll get much more interaction with your audience.

And voilà! These were our tips and tricks to help you stand out on social media. Did you discover any other life-changing tips to survive the wide world of the internet? Share them with us and be sure to spread the message to your retail colleagues!