Ok, my friend, we’ve all seen those posts promising “30 Instagram Posts in 30 Days!” and… while the intention is good (Get your booty on social media, be consistent!), the focus and effort you’ll put into this little project are VERY misguided!
Listen, I DON’T want you posting on social media unless it’s going to get you results. There’s no time to waste, and no one wants to wake up to disappointment day after day. (Sigh… no one commented…no one cared.)
So first off, let’s talk about RESULTS.
What does it mean to get results from your social media posts?
Social Media Posts that Get Results:
- Help you to build relationships with your audience.
- Help you get to know your audience (so you can create the kind of content and products they’ll LOVE)
- Help you to grow your audience (because your content and products are so great, people are sharing about them!)
- Help you to warm up your audience and get them excited for a big promo (an affiliate product you’re sharing about, or your own physical or digital products)
- Help you to make more SALES when you’re ready to share your fab new thing with the world.
Notice what isn’t on this list:
- Traffic for traffic’s sake (you gotta know what to do with that traffic, and you can build a very successful business without a lot of traffic!)
- More followers just because (you want the RIGHT followers, and if you focus too much on chasing this metric, you’ll miss the opportunity to connect with the followers right in front of you!)
- Sharing popular content that has nothing to do with your business focus.
- Posting the kind of posts that all your favorite bloggers and influencers are posting, because… they’re doing it so I should too, right?
The biggest mistake I see most business owners make with social media is posting just to post. They think they have to post a certain number of times a week (or day!) and they just share away with no solid strategy.
Success on social media is not about being the busiest person on the block. It’s about being the most INSIGHTFUL person on the block!
You want to be that friend who gets her people. You want to be that friend where, no matter how often or little you share, your people are always nodding their heads thinking, “isn’t that the truth!”
You are NOT BuzzFeed. You are NOT about sharing as many things as humanly possible, hoping that something sticks.
Are you with me? Ok, cool!
Let me share my strategy for creating social media content that gets results.
Step 1: I Start with the Product I Want to Promote that Month
Gasp! You mean you start with what you want to SELL?! The horror! The sacrilege!
Umm yes. Yes I do, because last time I checked, I was running a BUSINESS, so as much as I LOVE hanging out with my people online, the purpose of a business is to make money, and I’m not about to argue with Webster’s Dictionary over that one.
But what most people miss is that sales are a lot easier when you build strong relationships with your audience. Sales spring from delivering just the right product at just the right time to our people. And sales are a whole lot easier when people know, like, and trust you.
So stay with me here. I start with SALES in mind, but I finish by building relationships and being as helpful as I possibly can.
Phew, ok that was a long aside! Let’s get back to that product we want to promote this month. And yes, I want you to pick just ONE that will get the bulk of your attention.
Let’s say I’m doing an affiliate promotion at the end of the month for PS Crash Course. It’s a fabulous course all about how to use Photoshop to create gorgeous graphics and spot-on photos for your business.
Sidenote: If you don’t have any products of your own to sell just yet, start with affiliate sales. In addition to Amazon’s affiliate program, there are a ton of bloggers with amazing products who offer affiliate programs. Research big names in your niche, buy the courses you think your audience will love, and sign up to be an affiliate! You can also use ShareASale to promote physical products and big stores, but the commissions are usually far less.
Ok, so I know that at the end of the month, I’ve partnered with Ellen, the course creator, to offer special pricing on her course for 4 days. Note: If you’re not able to arrange a special coupon or sale with the product owner, you can start by throwing in your own bonus, and only offering that bonus during a short timeframe.
I map out the dates of the promotion on my calendar.
Step 2: I Ask Myself, “What does my Audience Need to Feel or Believe in Order to Feel Confident that this Product is Right for Them?”
I’m still working backward here. I have an end goal in mind: Promote a limited-time sale price of PS Crash Course. But what I know for sure is that simply shouting about a sale during the sale is NOT a good strategy for growing my business.
Remember that relationship component we talked about? We’re going to spend the entire month sharing content with our audience that will:
- Teach them
- Inform them
- Help them
- Entertain them
- Build stronger relationships with them
- Take them on a journey so our product is the next, logical step for them
- Build anticipation for our fab product
Woah, that is a tall order! But the closer you get to accomplishing all of these things, the closer you’ll get to the sales goals you set for your biz, and you sure as heck won’t be posting like a crazy person without getting results 🙂
Here’s my example of what my audience needs to believe to decide they’re ready for PS Crash Course:
- “I’m getting visitors to my site or shop, but people aren’t buying because I have crappy photos, unprofessional fonts and an inconsistent feel.”
- “Having a professional looking site and consistent look and feel on social media builds trust. It lets people know that I am good at what I do. They know what to expect with me. I really value having a professional look.”
- “I’m ready to stop spending so much time on my photos, but I don’t want to sacrifice on quality. I believe I can have lots of great images without pulling all my stuff out and taking more photos or hiring a professional every month if I know how to use Photoshop correctly.”
Here are a few more examples for you (just in case you’re convinced that this question only applies to Photoshop courses and no other product on the planet! ?)
If you sell handmade girls dresses…
Your audience needs to believe that your dresses will make a special moment in their little girl’s (or granddaughter’s!) life extra meaningful.
Your audience needs to believe that these sweet little childhood moments are fleeting, and they’ll be SO GLAD they captured that adorable memory with the PERFECT dress. Nothing else will do, because your dress is the sweetest, most unique, made with the most eco-friendly materials, most ethical (fill in the blanks here with what makes your product the best).
Your audience needs to believe that the investment in your product will be so worth it, because they’ll have photos and videos they’ll treasure forever.
Your audience needs to feel sentimental about the magic of childhood, and all the moments they can’t get back. They need to really feel that need to hold on while they can!
Sidenote: Promo ideas here would be a limited time sale, or a limited-time bonus of a hat, hair ribbons, or other accessories to finish off the adorable look.
If you’re an Amazon affiliate for a book on healthy dinners for the whole family…
Your audience needs to believe that making healthy meals for their family is important.
They likely need to be educated on all the benefits of healthy eating for kids through adults.
They need to be informed of the benefits of sitting down and eating dinner together as a family.
They need to believe that they CAN find the time to plan for and create these healthy dinners.
(This might involve showing them how quick and easy the meals are, that recipe planning is done for them, and that this won’t cost them a lot of extra money.)
If you sell a course on how to organize your home…
Your audience needs to believe that having an organized home is important.
They need to believe that an organized home will lead to less stress, a more enjoyable life, a happier family (you name it! You’re the expert here on all the amazing benefits!)
They need to believe that organizing on their own is HARD and they can never quite pull it off.
They need to believe that with your help, they can get this done (without TOO much time or money!) and the end result with be SO worth it!
Step 3: I create content that helps my audience big time and takes them on the journey we outlined above!
A quick note here: Your content does NOT need to be long, drawn-out blog posts (although I’d encourage you to do so if you have the time!)
Your content can exist completely on social media and via email, if you want.
Here’s how I break it down:
I plan 3 super valuable emails to go out to my list. (Don’t worry, we’ll get to the social media posts in just a sec!)
Each email points out an issue they may be struggling with, then offers tips to help them push past that issue. This is the journey I mentioned above. You have to make your potential customer aware of the problem, then be motivated enough to want a solution to their problem, then ultimately decide that your product is the BEST solution for them.
For my potential Photoshop customers, the issues they’re struggling with are:
- Lack of trust and engagement from website visitors, because their brand feels really confusing and all-over-the-place.
- Lack of engagement on social media posts because their graphics and images just aren’t beautiful or compelling enough
- Lack of product sales, because their product images don’t show off how amazing their item is.
- Brand envy – because they have great taste but they’re not sure how to improve their images so they can take their look to the next level.
Psst! Do you see how I tied every issue back to graphics and images? This is the journey I’m taking my customers on.
Sure, there are loads of other ways to potentially get more sales, or more engagement, or make their brand better, but I’m introducing one very particular solution to their problem (and of course, in my humble opinion, my solution is the very BEST one!)
So, I wrote emails about:
- Insider Tips on Branding your Business (and I included a Free Style Guide to give my people loads of ideas!)
- 5 Ways to Take Show-Stopping Photos for your Business
- Your Business Beauty Routine + a Free Photoshop Template (In this email I outlined just how much time using Photoshop templates can save a biz owner, and all the ways they can make gorgeous graphics a snap.)
THEN, here’s the best part, I section off little tips, tasty little nuggets of value, and turn those into social media posts. So now my 5 Ways to Take Show-Stopping Photos for your Biz email can be up to 5 different social media posts if I want! (I can share these tips on Facebook, on Instagram, and through Instagram stories!) And really, you can find a way to share them on whatever social media platform you love the most.
I can also take a collection of tips and share them on a Facebook Live video or via IG Stories videos.
So now, I fill in my social media calendar with all sorts of helpful, value-adding, give-give-giving posts that lead my audience on a journey where they’re going to be SO AMPED when I finally announce my promo for the month.
This is why all those other posts about social media calendars are crap and will waste your time. (Ha! I’m feeling sassy today!) There’s no plan. They just throw a hundred ideas against the wall and expect you to take a shotgun approach to growing your business.
Then all of a sudden, after talking about whatever pops into your head for 30 days in a row, you share your product with the world, and of course, crickets. Social media that gets results is well-planned and takes your audience on a beautiful journey. Ok, let’s keep rocking and rolling!
Step 4: I Fill in my Calendar with Relationship-Building Posts
These are posts that are humorous, behind-the-scenes, or posts that ask questions of my audience.
These posts also include encouragement or real-talk. I might get vulnerable and share my own struggle in a certain area and then turn that around to encourage other women who are struggling too.
Relationship-building posts are the kind of posts that are similar to what you’d talk about with a friend, but I do my best to make them relate back to the product I’m promoting for the month.
So for example, my behind the scenes post will hint at the current product I’m working on! I often use a behind-the-scenes post to give just the tiniest peek at what’s coming — to build a lot of excitement and anticipation for it!
Here’s an example:
When it comes to asking questions of my audience, again, I’ll often relate it back to my topic of the month, so for the PS Crash Course Promo, I could ask: What’s on your wishlist when it comes to new photos or graphics for your biz? Or what’s your biggest question when it comes to Photoshop? Or what drives you crazy about creating graphics for your biz?
All of these questions let me get to know my audience better, and also figure out how best to help them with my content and product. I want to meet them where they’re at. If they’ve got a frustration that my product can solve, then I need to make that clear.
Pro Tip for Asking Questions: Don’t get too personal too fast. No one wants to share their biggest life struggles with you if they’ve just met you! And no one wants to answer the super-blunt and super-awkward “What do you want to buy from me?”
If you’re new to asking your audience questions, start light and fun, like “Coffee or Tea” or “Donuts or Ice Cream?”
Now when I say humorous, I don’t mean you need to be a natural comedian. Humorous posts can just be funny observations that make your audience nod along and say, “yep, that’s so me!”
During the PS Crash Course Launch, a humorous post was when Ellen and I went head-to-head – she worked in Photoshop and I worked in Picmonkey, and she basically showed me up big-time with what she could do compared to me! It was funny because it was embarrassing how much better she was at graphics than me!
Another humorous post example would be a meme of me face-palming saying, “When you spend 2 hours on your graphics and they still look like your 5th grader made them!”
When it comes to getting real and being encouraging, this is where you really need to channel that face-to-face, friend-to-friend vibe. No one wants to be preached at or talked to by a know-it-all!
Think about a time when you struggled with your product’s focus. Turn that into a story. Then turn that story around into some encouragement for your audience.
Here’s an example of me getting real and vulnerable before a new product launch:
Relationship-Building Post Ideas:
- Humorous Posts
- Behind-the-Scenes Posts
- Conversation-Starters / Question Posts
- Encouraging Posts
- Vulnerable/Real-Talk Posts
Try your best to tie these posts back into the current product you plan to promote, but keep it subtle! If the relationship feels forced that’ll show through.
Think SAME TOPIC BUT NO SELLING with these posts. Your selling will come during launch week.
Step 5: I Fill in my Calendar with Social Proof Posts
Ohh, my friend! Social proof is SO powerful! What I mean here is that as fabulous as it is to tell your own story and the ways your product solved your own problem, it’s even BETTER when you can tell your customer’s stories!
- You want to share photos of your customers using your product.
- You want to make your customer the hero – and highlight their before and after story.
- You want to share happy quotes from them and how much they love your product.
If this is the very first time you’re releasing this particular product to the world, I get that you won’t have a lot of customers yet, BUT I DO recommend having some beta testers try out your product 1-2 months BEFORE you release it to the world! That way, you’ll know what they love, what they think needs improving, AND you WILL have some great customer quotes and photos to use when it’s time to launch!
Second, if you’re reading this doing a face-palm because you’re launching this week and you DIDN’T get any beta testers, don’t stress! Social proof is still powerful after launch week. If your product continues to be available to buy, you can share these great photos, quotes, and stories at ANY TIME, and they’ll feel way less salesy than you talking up why your product is so great!
Social Proof Post Ideas:
- Share photos of your customer with your product. (Remember, you don’t need to be super salesy for these posts. Just comment on how fab they look and let the photo speak for itself.)
- Share a quote from your customer. This can be as simple as one little line about why they think your “thing” is just amazing! You can turn that quote into a fun little graphic and add your own product photo. (This form of social proof is easiest to get because all your customer needs to supply is their happy opinion 🙂
- Share your customer’s before and after story. This is a bit more in-depth but so powerful! Ask them to describe their struggle and how your product helped. Sharing a customer’s story in their own words helps your audience to relate. If they see themselves in that story, they’re so much more likely to think, “Wow, she’s just like me! If this product helped her, it’ll help me too.”
- Bring your customer on for a Facebook Live Interview. Have them share their story and even do a Q&A with potential customers at the end!
Step 6: Fill in your Exact Launch Week Promo Posts
Ok, friend, we’re finally at the step where you get to be salesy, BUT… after all you’ve learned about providing value and building relationships, my hope is that you make these promo posts a lot of fun too!
When I think about my promo posts, sure, there are definitely some straight-up here’s my fab thing, it’s on sale for these dates, or here’s the bonus. BUT, I also share social proof posts, funny posts, tips posts, all sorts of other relationship-building posts that also let me mention my great promotion.
Fill in your calendar with your launch week posts, and treat yourself to a donut, my friend! You now have a social media calendar that gets results!
Grab your Social Media Content Calendar + Customer Journey Printables right here, and you're ready to create and share content that's useful, that builds relationships, and that gets your customers super excited for your product!
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