“Where are you stuck? What are you afraid of?” These were some questions proposed at the recent Babes in Business event, “Make Social Media Your B*tch”.
There are so many things to consider when setting up your social media strategy that sometimes it can feel like it runs you, instead of the other way around. Between trying to figure out what to post, when to post it, and reaching your audience, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Don’t let your social media push you around, you can take back control of your strategy! How? Surprisingly, it’s as much practical as it is emotional, and many times we just need to slowly untangle the fears that keep us from being great!
Jennifer Chavez, of the Helpful Rabbit, and Jennifer Sodini, author and social media maven, had some tips to confront what we’re afraid of when it comes to social media. Let’s see how their advice and the advice of other industry experts can help us dispel some common fears.
Fear of Judgement
How do you present yourself? Before we leave the house, there are a number of things we consider; the clothes we wear, colors, scents, and a bunch of other details all build a first impression we make on people. If we take so much consideration for ourselves, it makes sense that we would do the same for our brands. However, this isn’t always easy.
Nilofer Merchant, author of The Power of Onlyness, says, “Each of us stand in a spot in the world that only you stand in, which is a function of your history, experiences, visions, and hopes.” She also reminds us that unfortunately, “The research says if you’re the only one, you almost always figure out how to fit into your current context to survive, belonging beats ideas.’”
That is to say, that people don’t want to be different, because displaying those unique qualities that only we have, can open us up to judgement from others, so instead we instinctively, maybe even unknowingly, push them aside.
How can we overcome this? While we may shy away from putting certain qualities on display, it’s those qualities about your brand that allows people to connect with you. That sense of belonging can overpower that feeling of judgement.
Jennifer Chavez had each member of the group write down 3 words describing what people should feel when they look at their feed. Think about it now! If you’re at a loss, ask a friend what they feel you value and care about. This can help you gain an outside perspective. When you have your words, start thinking of how to represent them visually in your content. Jennifer Sodini recommends using fonts and stock images from licensed sources like Dafont.com, Creative Commons or Envato Elements.
It’s also a common practice to repost work from other users, however, when doing so be sure to credit the image appropriately. Everyone likes their work to be shared but no one wants to feel like their work has been stolen. Along with thinking about what you’re posting, it’s good to consider how your posts will align in your feed. There are a lot of layout options that can make your feed look like a magazine with a little extra effort. There are also apps like Planoly or Later that let you visually plan ahead to see how your feed will look.
2) Fear of Commitment
When you started using social media for your business, you may have been surprised at how time consuming it turned out to be. To utilize it effectively, there needs to be a certain amount of consistency that can be a little bit demanding to maintain. With so many other things to do for your business, it can be tempting to post infrequently or when it’s convenient for you. The results speak for themselves, this doesn’t generate as much engagement as posting when your customers may be using the platform and ultimately you’re missing opportunities. How can you make time without losing your sanity?
Jennifer Chavez suggests that you may just have to look into exactly how your using your time and give it a more critical look. She likes creating and organizing bulk content for her posts during one of her favorite shows, The Real Housewives. This is a concept called temptation bundling. Katherine Milkman, who does research on behavioral economics, describes temptation bundling as, “combining two commitments with each other [so] they sort of fit like puzzle pieces. You’re using something that’s instantly gratifying to create a pull to provide the motivation you need to do something that’s unpleasurable at the moment of engagement. One of the neat things about, for instance, only allowing yourself to watch your favorite TV show while you’re at the gym, is the fact that you might actually enjoy your workout more and you might enjoy the TV show more when you do them together.”
Taking the time to do some scheduling while you do something enjoyable can help take the tedium out of planning, but also allow you to keep your platforms consistent. You may actually look forward to scheduling your posts in the long run.
“Do it for two weeks and see how good that makes you feel,” suggests Jennifer Chavez, “Then try it for a month. It’s not that many posts when you break it down. If you do that for yourself and your business, you’re going to feel great. ”
3) Fear of Vulnerability
“People want to watch people,” Jennifer Sodini told the group when it came to discussing Instagram Stories, and live options offered by Facebook and Instagram. The crowd wasn’t thrilled at the prospect. It’s hard speaking to strangers in our everyday lives, let alone the strangers on the internet. There’s a certain amount of rejection that we risk by opening ourselves up and sharing stories about our work, our lives, our triumphs and our defeats. Yet these are the things that people find the most engaging; people want to watch people. It’s why Jennifer Chavez is scheduling posts while watching Reality TV.
Brene Brown, a research professor specializing in studying courage & vulnerability, reminds us that, “When we spend our lives waiting until we’re perfect or bulletproof before we walk into the arena, we ultimately sacrifice relationships and opportunities that may not be recoverable, we squander our precious time, and we turn our backs on our gifts, those unique contributions that only we can make.”
It might be tempting to wait until we’re feeling strong or we’ve crafted the perfect veneer so no one can criticize us, that’s not really what people want. Jennifer Sodini continues, “your followers want something deeply human and to feel connected. Don’t overthink it.”
Practice using your Instagram stories to share yourself with your followers. When you’re ready, try using Instagram live for 5-10 minutes or Facebook live for 10-20 if you have something more involved to say. This form of authenticity might just be the connection you’re missing in growing your business.
4) Fear of Letting Go
Inevitably, the following phrase will date this blog post but, does your Instagram profile “spark joy”? If it’s not direct and engaging, you may need to do a little decluttering. Make sure things aren’t misaligned or filled with unnecessary information. Be clear about what you do, who/where you are, and give your customers a call to action. Let them know you’re having a sale, or have a download for them. In all likelihood you’re going to direct them to your profile link. Are you using multiple links to allow for your followers to find exactly what they’re looking for? If not, Jennifer Chavez recommends a 3rd party app, like Linktree, or if you’re a little more tech savvy, building a dedicated link page on your website and making use of it in your bio. Generally, people don’t like doing a lot of work to find solutions or more information, so if you have an offering, like an e-book or worksheet, make sure it’s listed here.
While you’re tidying, take a look at your feed and think about those words you wrote down earlier. If you’re running into posts that aren’t serving you, you may want to delete or archive them.
Marie Kondō, Japanese organizing consultant and author, reminds us, “Keep only those things that speak to your heart. Then take the plunge and discard all the rest. By doing this, you can reset your life and embark on a new lifestyle.”
This might be helpful when trying to clarify your message and getting your followers to act more quickly on what you have to offer them instead of having to wade through clutter to figure out who you are.
5) Fear of Failure
At the end of the night, the audience was asked to share what some of them wrote down regarding their fears surrounding social media. One brave Babe raised her hand and said, “Failure.” While this was broad, it was a feeling that everyone seemed to relate to.
Jennifer Sodini took a breath and shared the following about this fear, “Failure is the greatest teacher possible. Anything that you perceive as a failure, is a lesson. Because of my mistakes, I started understanding what works and what doesn’t. There is no such thing as failure.”
An important thing to remember is, you’re not in this alone. Your followers want to hear from you, but if you’re feeling sheepish when sharing, reach out to your business friends who understand what you’re going through and support you. They want to see you succeed and can remind you of the headway you’re making. Tag them in posts and let em know you need a little encouragement, especially when you feel like you’re failing in some way. Sharing those stories can lead to solutions and solace. Let’s get out there and fail together.
Social media can seem intimidating, but when you break it down there’s really no reason you can’t show it who’s boss. Take some time to evaluate how to adjust your messaging and practices so you can stop letting social media push you around and instead, take charge of your brand and business.