UGHHH!!! How do I figure out the stories for my social posts?
Although we all understand that consistently posting content to our social channels affords us the opportunity to freely promote our passion and expertise to prospective clients by painting a picture of who we are, what our brands and businesses are about, and who we serve…
...BUT, how many of us follow through on that? The truth is, many of us could do a little better.
What’s the disconnect then? Quite frankly, creating daily content is a pain in the ass - it’s time consuming, never-ending, and most importantly, involves a ton of creative lifting that occasionally likes to hide itself under a mountain of excuses and other intentional distractions.
We’ve all had our moments.
During my jack-of-all-trades photographer days several years ago, there would be periods of weeks - WEEKS - where I would not post anything on Instagram or Facebook. I look back on this now and I just shake my head - I’m literally shaking my head as I write this.
It certainly wasn’t for a lack of content - I’m a photographer who has 10’s of thousands of images at my fingertips - and yet, I wouldn’t post a single image. I’d get to the upload screen, look through the endless mountain of images that I uploaded to my phone, pick a shot I liked at random, and then I’d pause, exit out of Instagram and put the phone back in my pocket.
Don’t laugh, but, it was because I had no idea what to write in the captions and I didn’t want to just post it without any words! Don’t even ask me about hashtags, that was completely foreign to me!
I had zero direction and focus with my content, and thus, the words were nowhere to be found.
I was basically winging it on a day-to-day basis, which ultimately led me down a path of total confusion and inaction. I wasn’t leveraging my content to address anyone in particular; long story short, I was trying to flag anyone down who was ready to pull out their checkbook for me, which of course, is not exactly a strategy - it more of a wing and a prayer.
Something tell me many of you reading this are familiar with this challenge.
Nowadays, I cringe less thinking about this time in my business, chalking it up as a learning experience. The silver lining to this story is that I became fed up and was determined to figure out why I was having such a hard time.
Once I re-branded my business and niched to the thought leader/entrepreneur markets, everything immediately became clear and hyper-focused, including the vast amount of stories I wanted to share with my ideal clients.
How about you - have you defined who you are, what your business and brand are all about, and who you serve?
As soon as the high-level stuff is sorted out, you’ll be able to hone in on providing value to your prospective clients by offering solutions to their specific, pain points through the stories shared in your social media posts.
This all sounds great, BUT, where do you find these particular stories? After working with several marketing thought leaders and other professionals who are proficient in social media strategy, as well as a lot of trial-and-error on my part, here's some good places to discover the informative, entertaining and inspiring stories you want to share on your social media feeds:
Interactions with Clients
Remember all those conversations that you’ve had with your clients? Remember all of their concerns, confusion and lack of understanding that you met with detailed and meticulous answers at every turn?
Write all that stuff down — it’s content GOLD, because these conversations represent the slabs of stone that you can chisel into awesome, social posts. Take each pain point and present them separately to maximize your content options.
Then, compliment the mood and tone of the written content with an appropriate image.
This is why I preach the need for high-level entrepreneurs and thought leaders to invest in high-volume, image libraries full of branded, lifestyle portraits. Every story you share is different, and by having a ready-made set of diverse and unique portraits with a broad spectrum of facial expressions, the visual and emotional range in your portraits will complement the broad range of stories you share with your prospective clients.
Individual client problems are not isolated; they are shared by other people that are part of the particular niche you serve. As a result, by sharing these problems/solutions in an interesting, social post, you will gain attention other prospective clients, whose attention you’ve captured with your free advice and guidance.
You’ve spent hours putting together presentations that speak directly to your ideal clients. Did you ever think about leveraging small chunks of this highly-focused material as content on your social feeds?
A good start would be to go through your speech and highlight some of the short and sweet soundbites that resonate when you share them from the stage.
By re-purposing existing content, you're providing relevant and compelling information to your content-hungry followers, as well as creating a great first impression by offering prospective clients a glimpse into the value you provide for free. In addition, you’re also making sure that your brand messaging stays consistent across multiple promotional channels, which keeps things focused across the board.
As far as the visual accompaniment, you could, of course, leverage photos of you speaking from the stage, preferably a low angle, where you have a commanding presence in the frame.
Alternatively, you can also pair this caption to another portrait from your image library. Again, make sure the tone of the story and your facial expression work together.
Deep Thoughts About Your Industry
What bothers you most about your industry, in general ? How are clients needs not being met? Where do you see the holes in the service provider/client relationship?
Complaining about it isn’t enough. Tell them how YOU solve these challenges. How do you strategize solutions to problems your competition ignores?
There’s a lot of room for content here, and it can be crafted in a variety of ways for your followers to appreciate. Write this stuff down, and see all of the potential posts that can be written from these complaints.
Having a wide variety of expressive portraits from which to choose is key to enhancing the message with an appropriate, visual punctuation.
Another interesting option for a type of portrait to leverage in this case would be one that has a lot of empty space in the image - space that can include the text of the story. Text on an image makes the impact stronger since the words and visual are sharing the same physical space, allowing the viewer to process the message easier and faster.
Inspiring quotes that motivate you
Some of the clients that I've worked with in the past are heavily into posting quotes from their favorite thought leaders and authors, and for good reason; if it inspires them, it is sure to inspire others, including their prospective client and followers.
Thumb through books that you love and inspire you to act, and share them with your followers and prospective clients.
Now, a book has a lot of information, so, squeezing one post out is not enough. Dig deep and look for several passages, phrases, chapter titles, diagrams, etc. and share each piece individually.
The way that I visually compliment this content for my clients is by capturing images of those passages, phrases and chapter titles. It breaks up a steady stream of branded, lifestyle portraits, while simultaneously endearing yourself to your followers.
Journal your ideas?
Are you someone who free-writes and keeps a journal of all your ideas? Perhaps you have some informative, entertaining and inspiring nuggets of content gold in there that's dying to be shared with your followers?
Similar to the way that I shoot quotes from a book, I do the same with my clients' journals; the main difference is dealing with handwriting. If your handwriting is not exactly that legible, it's okay - you can type out the phrase, passage or title, in the caption below, and then discuss the point from there.
It's still a good idea to leverage the actual handwriting visually because it's a dying art and it catches people's attentions due to the scarcity of it in this computer day and age.
Oh yeah, then there’s the rest of your life!
Sometimes, we glance over the stuff that is most important in our lives. Think about your family, children, friends, hobbies, pets, etc. Lots of stuff going on there — lots of relatable stuff that further peels back the onion layers that reveal more of your personality and purpose for your ideal clients and followers.
Do you have any inspiring stories to tell about your siblings? Overcame a struggle? Entertaining stories about your children? Do you want to share with everyone an important milestone reached with a best friend? Grateful for certain people in your life?
These types of shares help develop a deeper-than-surface-level relationship with your followers.
How do you visually present these stories? Well, you know that camera in your pocket attached to your phone? It’s pretty good for capturing snapshots that make sense for these types of content shares.
BUT, one thing about that...
I have a whole schpiel about selfies, which I will address in an upcoming post, but, for now, let’s just leave it at this - not all selfies are good selfies - shoot and choose wisely! Don't avoid them since they do visually balance out your feed.
When it comes to creating stories for your social feeds, it involves a lot of brainstorming, writing, re-writing, re-brainstorming, and repeating until the content is out of your hands and into the interwebs forever.
But, the process is undeniably worth it. Putting in all that hard work creates a well-defined footprint of your brand, business and thought leadership through the interconnected web of all your social posts.
As a result, when someone visits your social feeds, they will immediately be able to decide whether or not you are the person that can help them get from where they are to where they want to be.
Pretty good trade-off for the effort, if you ask me, :)