Social Media–for a lot of people this is the most panic inducing place to show up. There is so much pressure to be “viral”, to post the “right thing”, to be someone you’re not. The anxiety, trepidation and full blown panic attacks are just not worth it. And I am not here for that shit. After talking with entrepreneurs from all walks of life–there seems to be two big reasons for all this anxiety. Either they don’t know WHAT they “have” to do in order to be successful on social OR they believe they have to put on a mask and be something inauthentic to be successful. So here’s the solution to your social media content (heck–showing up) block: be yourself and do whatever you want that feels good.
I know that sounds cliche and romantic and like unicorns and rainbows are gonna shoot out my ass. But when you distill all the things going on with social media, your business, your life, everything it all comes down to YOU being true to yourself and sharing that with the world. Here let me walk you through our process when we work with clients to help define their strategy and I think it will help.
Understand the life and struggles of the ideal client.
If you’re new to my blog–this may not make sense as the first step, but after many years of fine-tuning our process we alway start with the ideal client. This is for two reasons, most of the time–clients have never thought about their ideal client more than the surface level. We want to dig into who they are at their core: what they like, what motivates them, what shuts them down, who they aspire to be, etc.
The second reason may sound flippant but it’s true–majority of the time, the ideal client is off. Sometimes it’s the completely wrong person for what the client wants to do OR it’s just off enough to be frustrating. BUT by completing this exercise I am able to piece together the puzzle pieces of what the business owner loves and dislikes about their ideal clients. Which brings me to the next step–the what.
Finding your overarching What
There are a lot of what’s in running a business. But there are very particular what’s that have a place on social media (well–marketing in general) and that is your overarching what. It’s not really a single item, but the core of what your business is all about. There tend to be no more than five, and some biz guru’s may call them your core values, or pillars. Many people have an idea of what the overarching what “should” be or what they think it should be, but almost always cannot pinpoint what they are. But just like many things in life, if you set out to do one specific thing without any regard for the items that influence that thing–you end up SOL.
- What are you selling?
What are you saying?
What do you want?
What is most important to you?
- Why did you start in the first place?
- What do you love about this biz?
- What do you hate about your biz? (Admit it–there’s always something!)
There are always more questions, because one answer opens the door to another question. And no two entrepreneurs really ever answer the same questions. Eventually, once you feel like you’re questioned out and like you’ve gone down every question rabbit hole that pops up it’s time to review the answers. There are always patterns, but you can’t see the patterns until you have the sea of information in front of you. A lot of times, this process makes you realize MORE about yourself–contrary to popular belief you are pretty damn interesting!
As you continue to boil things down, you should land on a good 3-5 core items that will become your overarching what. And that helps you build out WHAT to post about on social. Within our social media marketing strategies we actually use these as our generalized prompts to prevent us from ranting about the same things over and over again.
Keep focused on the objective
Okay–this one may take a bit to absorb, because it’s probably NOT what you want to hear. Although social media sometimes results in a direct sale–that’s not really the main objective. Social media is just that–social! It’s where you are building brand awareness and collecting followers to be part of your brand community. SOOOO…keeping that in mind, we need to identify objectives for what we want people to DO as a result of our posts. We need to make sure our expectations of what people WILL do is set to an appropriate level. AND just like everything else this changes business to business, entrepreneur to entrepreneur.
Some people have huge followings, and motivated purchasers waiting to purchase affordable products–which means posts that are hard selling could work. BUT that’s not the majority of people on instagram–I know it doesn’t feel that way, but it’s true.
Most people need to understand what they are struggling with, what they need to fix the problem, and who or what can help them. But they need to be schmoozed to commit. Which is why a majority of small businesses need to focus on the community and social aspects of social media to better connect with people off of social channels.
So in addition to liking, sharing, and commenting on posts it’s important to have people take actions that get them connecting with you more. Join the newsletter, read the blog, listen to the latest podcast episode, are just a few more suggestions that really help! Now to be clear–small businesses still need sales posts, but they need them to be occasional–not the focus. It’s important to use email to nurture people for selling–or connecting in texts or DMS. But don’t forget whatever your marketing plan is–it should always be focused on being consensual.
Write the captions and just let the words flow
This tends to be the big thing that people struggle with–perfectionism starts to win over and silences many. But honestly the more you talk as yourself the more you will resonate with people. We’ve noticed that when people write super opinionated ranty posts–they almost always do better than educational posts. We have a big hunch that ranting means their voice comes out more authentically to how they speak. It’s a key to connecting with people.
On the other hand, educational focused posts tend to make people want to show up as an expert and the imposter syndrome typically kicks in saying that their natural voice is “not good enough”–our natural voice tends to fly away as we try and prove we know things. But fuck that! Write everything the way you would say it in person. I always encourage people that if typicing things out kills your brand voice–don’t type it! Use a voice recorder to take notes, and then just tweak things. (This also tends to be the more comical route–autocorrect!)
Nothing is perfect–show up and be yourself.
I hope understanding what we do helps you find some solutions, and strategies to try for your own social media process. The big thing to take away here is that there is now single thing that will make you go viral, or make social a huge success. It’s all about understanding the purpose of your biz, and having realistic expectations of what social media can do for you. So many people set themselves up to fail just by expecting social media to do something it can’t–I don’t want that for you!
- Before writing and planning content, really dig into your ideal client and understand their mindset, struggles, and goals.
- Figure out what your overarching what of your business really is, and map out a plan to rotate through those 3-5 key subjects
- Make sure you have realistic expectations of what social media is–and opportunity to make connections with people.
- Let the words flow–don’t get hung up on being right. Cuss, make mistakes, be a human.