PosterMyWall live class: 5 steps to authentic social media marketing
In this week’s live class by PosterMyWall, social media marketing expert Jade Steckly taught us how to communicate more authentically on social media. You can watch the replay below, download the presentation and bonus content, or read on for our summary.
Social media is integral to modern day marketing. Today, over 3.6 billion people around the world use social media, with Facebook and Instagram being among the most used social media platforms globally. According to Jade, the need for businesses to have a highly engaged social presence has increased significantly, even since the start of 2021.
That being said, many businesses find it difficult to present themselves authentically on social media.
“Marketing has to have integrity,” Jade said. And if you achieve that, you’ll be able to make lasting connections with your customers.
Here are Jade’s 5 tips on how to market yourself authentically on social media.
Share your story
Jade’s first piece of advice was to share your story, because stories help your audience relate to you and your journey. This makes storytelling the best way to connect with your audience on a deeper level.
To explain this, Jade shared a quote by Zig Ziglar: “If people like you, they will listen to you, but if they trust you, they will do business with you.”
“Storytelling is one of the best ways I have found to gain an audience’s trust,” Jade said. Good storytelling delights your audience,makes an impact, and shows the experience and history behind your product and service.
So what constitutes a story? A story recounts something that happened in a way that prompts emotion from the audience. Good stories have a beginning, a middle, and an end. And there has to be some movement or change between the steps so that the audience will experience a feeling of completion. (I think everyone knows how frustrating it can be when someone tells a story that has no point or end. You feel like you’ve been left hanging.)
Jade shared some effective ways you can tell your story on social media:
Facebook and Instagram Stories
A great way to include storytelling in your marketing strategy is to share your day with your audience through Facebook and Instagram Stories. Whether you’re grabbing a quick coffee from your favorite cafe or practicing a new technique documenting parts of your daily activity help people to understand who you are as a person.
Jade illustrated her point with the Instagram feed of fitness expert Amanda Tress. Amanda engages her audience with Instagram Stories that show her and her family running around doing ordinary things, such as snacking and going to the movies.
Even if you’re demonstrating how to use a certain product, make sure you share both the before and the after. And communicate why the after matters or how it’s made you feel. It’s the emotion that leads to connection.
Jade shared an example from her own Instagram account. Through a series of images and captions, she told the saga of her ambitious plans to bake her daughter’s birthday cake, how the cake didn’t come out so well, and how grateful she was when a baker friend stepped in and saved the day. (note the beginning, middle, end — and resulting emotion?) “People really got invested in the story,” she said.
Instagram Reels and TikTok
Reels and TikTok videos are the newest social media trend. Jade pointed out that the upside of these platforms is that you can share a story without having to show your face.
Shooting a story can be as easy as shooting snippets of your day or making a “day in the life” video. You can even shoot snippets to create a tutorial related to your product or service.
Knightswood Clay House, a creator of handcrafted jewelry, shares beautifully captured TikTok clips of their jewelry being made. This engages viewers with the creation process and makes the final product seem even more desirable and valuable.
Photo carousels and video posts aren’t the only way to articulate a story on social media.
Photo captions are also a great way to tell a tale. A well-written caption can elevate even a simple image of your face into an engaging story.
Author Kindra Hall likes to post simple selfies with long, detailed captions that take you through her favorite life moments. Her captions have a beginning, middle, and end and convey both mood and emotion. Stories written like this help your audience relate to you.
Engage with your audience
In order to make someone comfortable enough to purchase from you, you have to earn their trust. One way to accomplish that is to practice outstanding customer service online. Make sure no social media message or query goes unanswered. Responding to people’s comments and direct messages makes them feel valued.
Customers also appreciate when you initiate the engagement. Respond to their stories and comment on their posts. Leave a compliment or two to make them feel valued.
Jade shared a personal example. Sparkling water brand, President’s Choice, took the time to respond to one of Jade’s Instagram Stories where she had tagged their product. “It really made me feel good,” she said.
If you’re a small business looking to gain traction, interacting with your followers is a great way to position yourself as reliable.
Another tactic is to create posts that invite engagement and attract people to your page. You can explicitly ask your followers to share their thoughts on a topic in the comment section, or tag a loved one. These posts encourage people to engage and invite their communities to become part of your community.
Create your own graphics
Creating your own consistently-branded graphics is a great way to share your message and set your business apart while maintaining your own schedule. Jade uses PosterMyWall’s wide range of templates for inspiration, and as a starting point to create fun new social media graphics. She recommends that every brand create a brand style guide that captures your logo, plus the fonts, colors, and image style that defines your brand. Then you can refer to your brand style guide every time you create a graphic to ensure consistency.
Consistency is king
Be consistent with your online activity. Post regularly to let your customers know you’re active and in business.
It’s ok to experiment with different types of posts, so long as they all maintain a consistent look and tone. And you don’t have to worry about having one of those super-curated-looking feeds where every post is the same color scheme. “That’s just not sustainable for most people,” Jade said.
Brock Johnson is a social media marketer who keeps his Instagram feed alive and engaging with posts relating to fun tips, facts, and more. All of his content maintains a consistent tone and look. This includes photos of himself making faces, use of all caps for headlines, and a black, white, dark gray, and school bus yellow color palette. This helps people quickly recognize his posts and know what to expect from them. .
Perfection kills creativity
“Perfectionism can have a dark side too,” Jade said. Spending too much time fine tuning small details often makes us miss the bigger picture. Overthinking content leads to delays or halts in production, which prevents us from showcasing our creativity to the world. Some people worry that their content isn’t good enough so much that they stop posting at all.
Jade admitted that she herself struggles with this.The trick is that, rather than obsessing on the details, ask yourself if you are providing value (or entertainment) or helping your target audience. If the answer is yes, go ahead and post. If you build a strong relationship, people won’t care about design nuances or an occasional formatting mistake.
Jade ended the class with the following quote: “People hate being sold to, but they love to buy.”
She said the solution to this challenge is for businesses to attract their customers to them with an authentic, reliable presence on social media. Being salesy almost always backfires. “Create social media content that delights, inspires, educates, and connects you with your audience,” she said.
So fire up your social media accounts, create creative and engaging content, and let your customers know you’re there for them. If you do, results are sure to follow.