No matter what you are wanting to market, you are most likely to use social media marketing somewhere in the mix. This channel does not replace other more traditional choices, but it does have considerable inroad and impact on viewership. Like any other advertising, what you say and how you say it is as important as where you say it.

Because of the fleeting, transient, almost ephemeral passage of social media on the eye, you have to be extra swift and canny in getting your message across. Social media moves like a long tape, presenting news, views and information at a rapid rate. So why all the pressure to present your marketing online? The simple answer is because that is where most eyes are these days.

But mistakes many marketers make on this medium is that they assume they have a captive audience…and they don’t. They have an audience whose attention can wander like a drunken fly across a crinkled page. The bottom line is that the medium requires insight and innovation like no other. Getting into creativity online means really getting into the way your viewer is thinking. Traditional, motionless pictures of your product or message are not really as arresting on social media. They might look good on stationary media like magazines or newspapers – but online you really have to compete with a thousand-plus voices all clamouring for attention at the same time.

Here are some ideas on how to bring your marketing out of the general run and into stronger focus:

Influencer marketing: This sits top of the tree in many people’s opinions. But be careful of grasping at this technique simply because it is the flavour and fashion at the moment. It has to fit with your product, your strategy, and the feel of your brand. Also, if there’s too much of the same tactic out there, then you will lose authenticity. Think of getting your influencer to say something unexpected, give them a script in word or in action that will bring a sparkle of surprise to the eye.

Use emotion: This means understanding your particular target market one hundred percent whether you are selling shoes, kitchen accessories or even promoting a career job with a top company. Talk directly to the way you know your market will interpret your message. Their perspective, experience and feelings are paramount. For instance, shoes: are you targeting the young and giddy or the more conservative, comfort-orientated consumer? If you’re advertising a job, are you talking directly to the career-minded in that industry? To strike any cord, and quickly, the message must create emotional connection.

Thinking out-of-the-box: This is a cliché, but in fact still very valuable. If you have the ability to approach a message in a different way, you could grab your audience’s attention. Play by their rules, their interests, but construct your communication your way, and from a different perspective. If your product is notepaper, talk about trees. If your product is shoes, talk about bones in the foot. If your product is recruitment advertising, talk about the benefits the company has brought to society. Don’t repeat what others have done.

Create a message that’s worth sharing: If you are unique and innovative, and you send a message that connects with your audience authentically, emotionally and with innovative impact, you are going to harness the real power of social media. Never let go of that picture; it’s not about the message itself, it’s about how effective the message is in getting your audience to become your partners in spreading the news. Use the deep need of platform users to impress their friends and followers – if the post is mind-blowing, they will share – simply because making their page look great is as important to them as the message you are wanting to get across. Successfully integrate your marketing with their communications, and you have effective organic growth!

Be personalised, be relevant, and be innovative: This is not an easy combination, but it is the measure of the challenge. Customers need to know who you are as a company, your brand values and vision; once they do, eliciting response becomes so much easier. Sometimes your product doesn’t have to be key in the scope of the advertisement, but the information you put across has to resonate with your viewers.

The canny cross of message and values: Let’s take this further: your product is notepaper, but you talk about trees – why? Because your audience is environmentally aware, your brand is socially conscious, and your message is ‘quality’. Quality of life, quality of your paper product, quality of sustainability in sourcing. You’ve told your story to a thinking audience, you’ve made an impression – and their response gives you even greater inroads to communication.

Content for the sake of content is bad news: Be relevant, be engaging, provide information and tell a story. Integrate storytelling wherever you can. Good content should target your goals, make your message clear and real. More to the point, it should motivate people to action, even if that just begins with content that will be shareable.

Don’t over obsess the competition: It doesn’t matter what the latest ‘fashion’ is on the Internet. Develop your own style and image. Don’t copy. Imitation kills innovation – and innovation is the key to finding your tribe and keeping them loyal. Be different, be unexpected, and engage in a way that encourages feedback. Done well, you will be able to benefit off the back of user-generated content. When you share customer content you are building valuable interaction that can contribute positively to your business strategy.

Use everything you have available: Humour is universal and can often surprise – and is one of the most shareable creative messaging on social media. Use visuals in as many ways as you can: video, graphics, photos. Use conversation to inform and create personal connections. And don’t underestimate your viewers’ knowledge; they are often well-advised, so talk with them not at them.

Social media provides the widest opportunity for creativity. Don’t waste it or miss out. To market with perception, empathy, shrewdness and innovation will be key to your career as a digital marketing strategist. Never follow. Innovate, enervate, activate!