“Social media is a waste of time. It takes away from living in the moment.”
I’ve heard so many fellow entrepreneurs say this and while I do empathize with this valid point, I strongly believe that if used “correctly”, social media can greatly elevate your business brand and media message. Well-written posts will not only help you maintain relations with loyal clientele, but also they will simultaneously expand your reach.
Of course there are those people who spend hours editing, filtering, and trying to get the perfect angle of them sipping their margaritas on a classy rooftop bar. Believe me, I've done it one too many times; I spent countless hours trying to get the artsiest shot and writing the wittiest caption, until I realized that doing just that was in total opposition to what I was selling through my business.
If you’re wondering why, it is because my entire brand is a movement that aims to encourage people to be more real and to embrace their flawed, fabulous selves. Maybe this isn’t the case for you. Maybe you’re wondering why some of your posts get more attention than others? Maybe it’s the simple question of, how can I use social media to grow my business? It sounds pretty cliche, but the answer to these questions is a lot simpler than you would imagine. The key to successful posts on social media is to know who you are, what makes you/your product special, and to own those unique qualities, unapologetically.
The moment someone clicks on your Instagram feed, they must immediately know who you are. If your posts are not consistent, you will confuse your audience. Think about it. What if one day I put up a picture about the power of positivity and the next day I posted something that said, “I don't believe in positive thinking.” I know this is a little bit extreme of an example, but you get my point, right? Each part of the storytelling has to be congruent. Take a moment to look at your feed. Are your pictures brightly lit and evoking serenity? Does your brand feel like a breath of fresh air? Or are you more in your face, bold, sassy, and loud? Is your product more of a chic and classy Upper East Side, or more of a hip and chill Williamsburg?
As a life coach in NYC, I struggled with answering these questions. The people posting in my field all had seemingly perfect posts soaking up the sun on a sandy beach, meditating on the all too perfect green cut grass, and laughing in their bright colored shirts with a fresh juice in hand.
For a while, to keep it real with you, I mimicked them because their posts were popular and getting a lot of attention. My thought process was as follows; I’m a life coach, so I too, need to look like my life is bright, happy, and “together.” I did this for a while and felt guilty every single time I clicked the “post” button because deep down, I knew I wasn’t truly utilizing my own voice.
I couldn’t live with feeling guilty for posting on social media, so I sat in solitude, unplugged, and got honest with myself. I said, “Catherine, it’s not about being a second rate version of someone else. You’ve got to be yourself, even if it’s not what others “expect.” By that, I mean, I’m the person that embraces realness.
I’m not the life coach that eats a sugar free diet and sits in meditation all day. Yes, I have cut out sugar before and to be honest, it may have done blind wonders for my health, but I felt emotionally miserable. Sure, I meditate daily and I live a relatively healthy lifestyle, but I also embrace the other side of me that craves going out for ice cream and socializing over “fatty foods” with friends. I want people to look at my lifestyle and feel at ease when they see that I love indulging, too, that I feel awkward too, and that I most definitely lose on hard days, too.
I will never forget the day that one of my best friends turned to me and said, “Catherine, I follow social media accounts that have the perfect yoga poses and crispy kale chips, but that’s not the entire package of who you are. You have a whole other side of you that truly radiates perfection for being so imperfect.”
What I’m learning is that you need to know who you are and when you’re so clear on that, you posts will flow effortlessly, naturally attracting the attention of the followers who need your unique voice.
You must LOVE your product. Yes, that especially means yourself if you’re selling yourself as a coach, mentor, teacher, etc. Remember that no one likes a person or company that does not practice what he/she/they preach. If you are encouraging others to embrace flaws, be sure to include posts with your own positive self-image regardless of how “awful” you believe you look. I had to call myself out for playing small by not posting that many pictures of myself for fear of “not looking good” in them. It was just another way for me to get away with hiding from my spotlight, which is the opposite of what I am looking to do.
Last but certainly not least, you must truly believe in the value of your product. I have learned my worth as a coach by working with clients and realizing over time that I was giving them a priceless gift: the Sparknotes version of the wisdom I gathered over many years overtaken by angst, suffering, and soul searching. Without having the key tools to combat our antagonizing inner critics, we quite honestly won’t have the courage to step outside of our comfort zone. And ladies and gentlemen, that zone is where all the magic happens. When you are confident with your product, you feel confident posting shamelessly about it, and your clients feel confident joining your mission.
So what’s the key to long lasting social media success? I summed up my key points for you in an acronym: ACE. Authenticity. Consistency. Enthusiasm. Whenever you are posting, ask yourself, “Did I ace this post?” Good luck!