If you're anything like me, sitting down to create a social media post can be anxiety-inducing. Granted, some platforms are less stressful than others, but it can be hard to focus on what's important when you begin to self-assess in preparation of clicking "Post."
Over the course of building our brand, we've come to realize that putting together perfect posts on a regular basis is all about focusing on what's important and letting the rest fall as it may. If you read that last sentence and immediately thought, "...but what's important?" then good news: you clicked on the right post--because this post is all about posting!
Here are the critical aspects of creating attention-catching, communicative posts on a consistent basis...
1. TIMING IS EVERYTHING It's easy to overlook how important timing is to communication because of how engrained it is in us and how naturally we utilize the information. One of the easiest ways to grasp the weight of timing is to watch bad comedy or listen to bad music (not music in a genre that you don't like, but music that isn't played well). In both situations, it's often not the content itself, but the delivery that suffers. In addition, we've all experienced a situation where we've said something we shouldn't have--it just wasn't the time! Our blog post this Tuesday will tackle timing more in-depth, but to put it simply: think about who you are, think about who you're speaking to, and then ask yourself, "Is this the right time?" Don't just answer that question in the figurative sense of Is this appropriate? but in the literal sense of Is this the time of day to adequately reach this person (or, if I called them, would I get their voicemail)? Beyond being able to reach your target demographic, when you're building a brand you should focus on your consumers much like you focus on your friends. It would be odd for you to refer to someone you speak to once per year as a friend. Although there are relationships we have with that lack of consistency, the bond is built during a time of prior consistency. So, following your post that is done according to those previous questions, don't forget to do it again. And again, and again. Because...
2. CONSISTENCY IS KEY Building a brand is much like building a person (not in the Frankenstein sense), especially when building a personal brand. (In fact, it may be easier to think in terms of a personal brand for this part, even if you're more of an organization or group.) And when we think of identity in terms of people, it can be easy to articulate when you think about one's consistent actions. Aristotle once said, "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." and he couldn't be more on-pointe (I mean, I guess that was kind of his "thing"). Excellence in what, though? When you think about the mantra "Consistency is key," don't just focus on the repetition, but what it is that you're repeating. When you're looking on the surface level, this can be easy to identify because of occupation. Justin Bieber is a singer, so you will consistently see him posting his music (or content related to it). Rachael Ray is chef, so you will consistently see her posting her recipes or food she's created. Lebron James is a basketball player, so you will consistently see him posting about his games or plays. Lebron James, however, is more than a basketball player--he's an athlete. Expanding on that occupation, we can see how his posts about work-out gear or supplements fits within his brand--even though it's not directly considered "what he does." Martha Stewart is another chef, but beyond that would be considered a home-maker. That being said, posts about interior design or different home products easily fit her persona, although not directly in-line with her occupation. When you're thinking about your own brand, don't just focus on what you do, but also the tools, skills or products that help you to do it. All of these things work in tandem to produce who you are. Returning to the idea of doing it wrong is more noticeable than figuring out if it's right, think about some mismatches. If you saw Donald Trump post something about America being a melting pot of immigrants that creates a beautiful mosaic of diversity and strength, you'd probably do a double-take. Even when posting something as inconsistent with his image as a display of Hispanic food items, it falls in line with his self-serving character to post something that increases his income through paid-promotion.
3. WEAR YOUR OWN CLOTHES If you've never been complimented on a piece of clothing that you're particularly fond of... well, this is awkward. More common, I suppose, is being complimented when you're wearing something new (if you've still not experienced it, I apologize, but we're just gonna keep going with that analogy). I recently concluded that expanding your wardrobe is much like building a brand in the sense that while each article of clothing may present a different vibe, when viewed together they present one style. In the same way, it's important to create posts that fall in line with the overall aesthetic of your brand. Next Thursday's blog post will dive a little deeper into the operation of creating a cohesive aesthetic for your brand, but a simplified process to ensure that you don't appear mismatched is to ask yourself, If this was a piece of clothing... would I wear it? Beyond the visual, there's an unspoken auditory aesthetic that comes with posting. In a similar fashion (pun intended), ask yourself, Does this sound like me? If your brand is something like a church, you probably won't refer to your gatherings as a caucus (a political gathering). Going further, if you're a church youth group, you probably wouldn't invite your demographic to fellowship; while it fits within the larger umbrella of religion, it presents a more mature gathering than if you were to invite your demographic to "hang out." It can be much easier to assess whether or not the wording sounds like your brand than it is to ensure your visual fits your brand's aesthetic. If you struggle with either aspect, or both, you may benefit from appointing one person, or a small group, to head up your social media marketing. As I said in the beginning, if you're struggling on the application of these concepts, it can be easier to apply them to a person rather than an organization. In the same way, it can be easier to be applied by one person, or small group, than by the consensus of all your leaders.
When it comes to posting, it can be easy to get in your head about it. Above all of these aspects of creating a perfect post, remember that perfection is unattainable. On the other end of the spectrum, it's also highly unlikely that you'll put forth something completely defective. While it's important to review and consume your post analytics and their implications, don't beat yourself up by reviews or results that don't meet or exceed your expectations.
The most important thing (is to keep the most important thing the most important thing) is to keep posting. Rome wasn't built in a day and neither will your brand be. Just focus on making each step you take better than the last and even if you misstep, you'll end up somewhere much further ahead than if you allow your insecurities to get the best of you.
And, remember: we're always here to help! If you have any questions or concerns or comments on these virtues or their application, don't hesitate to contact us! If it's something simple, shoot us an email or give us a call. If it's more encompassing than a couple concepts, book a consultation--the first one's free!