09 Nov Too Petrified to Post? Quashing Social Media Fear.
Picture the scene… you’ve written an awesome post to promote your business on the relevant channels. You’ve taken time researching a compelling and engaging image to accompany it. You know it’s great, you know your following will lap it up. Yet your finger hovers over the ‘Post’ button and the fear sets in. Next thing, you’ve deleted the post entirely and decided to do something else. Like, feed the cat. Because that feels like a more productive way to spend your time right now. Well, cats DO need to be fed but your carefully curated post also needs to see the light of day. Why can’t you let go of that irrational fear and Just. Hit. Post?
It really isn’t as easy as that for many people. Whether you run a small business and you’re in charge of your personal platforms as well as your company’s, or you work for a large conglomerate and you’re mindful about what you post online. There can be a myriad of reasons as to why you feel the social media fear. Some people get as far as posting their well researched, well-thought-out, expertly crafted content only to delete it a short while later. Why is it so hard to get ourselves ‘out there’, and why does it sometimes feel like the world is watching?
All eyes on you…?
Lesson #1 – the world isn’t watching. Well, not you anyway, you’ll be pleased to hear. Unless you’re a MEGA influencer like Bill Gates, Richard Branson or (gulp, here goes) Trump. And believe me, the world watches him and he does a fine job of stirring up a lot of debate on social media. Whilst we’re not suggesting you go to these kinds of lengths to get noticed, what we are suggesting is that, actually, if you’re a regular social media user, as little as 5.5% of your entire following even SEE your content on a Facebook page, for example. Many clients have said to me in the past ‘I don’t want to post every day. I think people would get bored of hearing from me’. Truth is, if you posted 7 days a week, for a following of 1,000, a rough average of just 50 people would see any individual post (on a good day). If you include elements in your post that certain algorithms disfavour such as links to outside websites, lots of emojis, too many/banned hashtags or if your content just isn’t engaging, then that number decreases rapidly. Flip the tables and think about it from the other way. Take Facebook for example – how many pages have you ‘liked’ over the years? Do you see every post from all of these pages in your newsfeed or just a select few? Algorithms are designed to cherry-pick the content that it feels is most compelling or interesting to you, based on your historic activity and interests. The same applies to content posted on company pages as well as personal newsfeeds. It’s destiny is dictated by sophisticated software which decides who does and doesn’t see it. It’s actually a tough job to ensure your content is indeed seen by the people for whom it’s intended! (and why you hire a social media manager to take this pressure off your hands!)
So we’ve established the world isn’t watching you. Great. Still wavering over that ‘Post’ button? Here’s a handy checklist to ensure the content you’re about to post is actually worth posting:
- Is it true? When sharing any news story, do make sure you’re sharing a link from a reputable source. Avoid any red tops/tabloids which tend to sensationalise and bend facts in order to sell more papers or generate more web traffic. You can also verify stories to ensure they’re not hoaxes on websites such as www.hoax-slayer.com. Sharing fake news or (albeit unintentionally) spreading misinformation and disinformation online is never a good look.
- Is it useful? Can you see your target demographic getting real value out of it and perhaps even sharing it with their peers? Can they learn something from it?
- Is it newsworthy? It’s always good practise to share content on topics that are trending right now. Use appropriate hashtags which will elevate your content and get it in front of the right crowd. Which takes us on to the next point…
- Have you leveraged hashtags properly? As a general rule, my advice to clients on the maximum number of hashtags to optimise your chances of increasing engagement on your posts, by channel, are as follows: Facebook – 2 maximum (if you’ve researched hashtags and you can’t find any that compliment your post, just leave them out). Twitter – 3 to 5 LinkedIn – 3 (no more, no less – it’s the magic number!) Instagram – up to 10 (30 is the maximum the channel will allow, but I would not recommend getting anywhere near this figure on a regular basis). Important note: Never copy Instagram content directly to your Facebook page – all your carefully researched and selected Insta hashtags will copy across to Facebook who don’t support hashtags as much as Instagram and will flag it as spam, thus decreasing your reach drastically.
- Is there a strong call to action? What action do you want your following to take after consuming your content? A call to action (or CTA) usually starts with ‘For more information, click here’ or ‘To learn more, download the white paper’ etc. If you just want to spread some cheer, make your following smile or tell a story, that’s absolutely fine too. A healthy balance between lead gen style posts and story-telling is a very good practise to undertake. Try and link it back to your business in some way though. Want to Tweet on your business handle about your day off? Go for it! But use hashtags such as #selfcare and highlight the benefits of taking days off to boost morale and productivity rather than simply your urge to lie in bed watching Netflix (we all need it sometimes).
A final thought I’d like to end with is – there are another 675 million monthly users on LinkedIn alone, gaining two new members every second. Rather than thinking about how exposed you feel when posting on these platforms, perhaps look at it from a different perspective. How can you make your content stand out to generate more reach in a sea of 65 million other users? There’s a lot of content scrambling for the attention of your target market. Don’t let your social media fear drive your demographic toward your competitors!
Over to you – do you have any techniques to overcome social media fear? Have you suffered with it in the past and what do you think your triggers were? Please pop your comments in the box below – as always, we love to hear your views on everything we discuss here!
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