One of the issues that can stop you from showing up on social media is not wanting to look like an idiot. You don’t want to embarrass yourself. You don’t want to make mistakes. You don’t want to be judged and laughed at by people whom you assume know much more about social media than you do. So, you either don’t post as much as you’d like to, you post content that is soul-less but meets somebody else’s standards, or you don’t post at all.

Here’s the thing: there’s no way to tell if what you’re posting is foolish unless you actually post it. Once it’s up there on Twitter or Facebook or wherever else you frequent in the social media universe, you can measure how your audience reacts.

Still not convinced? Okay, here’s another approach. Before you post on social media, think about these three things:

What do you want to achieve?

Or to put it another way, what do you want to happen as a result of your social media posts?

First, what do you want to happen overall? Do you want more sales or to build your visibility online? Do you want to grow your mailing list? Do you simply want to be a successful author (whatever that means to you)? What do you want your social media presence to achieve as a whole?

Second, what do you want to achieve with each specific social media post? For instance, my social media posts as a copywriter and author usually serve one of the following purposes:

  • engage my audience by asking them to answer a question or share their own experience
  • promote my books
  • promote my mailing lists (one as an author and one as a copywriter offering a service to fellow authors)
  • promote my copywriting business
  • ask for book reviews
  • provide information that will help my audience
  • drive traffic to my website

Knowing what you want to achieve with your social media content means that each post has a reason to be there. You’re not just posting for the sake of posting.

Are you adding value?

So, your social media post achieves something for you, but what about your audience? How does it help them?

Most social posts will do one or more of the following:

  • educate
  • inspire
  • entertain
  • include

Create your social media posts to add value to your audience, such as providing them with answers to their problems, making them feel part of a community, or giving them a good old guffaw.

Is your social media content authentic to your brand?

Your brand might be:

  • you as an author
  • you as a sole freelancer
  • your small business
  • a combination of any of those

Branding builds familiarity and recognition. Your audience recognise your content through the visual appearance (colours, font, logo, type of graphic). They think, that looks like Fi’s branding. What’s she saying now? This might be good.

If the content you put out on social media is consistent – in message, in format, in the topics it covers, and the type of person it will appeal to – then your audience will know what to expect when you post on social media. Familiarity is generally a comfortable feeling. It’s also brilliant at drawing people to your content.

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There’s always a chance that someone will disagree with your online content or that you’ll miss a typo in your post. When it comes to the first, well, everyone’s allowed their opinion (including you). With regard to the latter, that’s the joy of the delete and edit options. Post – delete – post again.

However, if you plan your social media posts around:

  • what you want them to achieve
  • what value they add to your readers
  • your brand

then you can be confident in the fact that even if someone disagrees with your post, it is well thought out and serving a purpose.

Humans are fallible and make mistakes. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. In fact, it’s the exact reason why you should try. It’s the trying that drives improvement. It’s how we learn.

Nobody said you had to be perfect at any point on this journey. Just get started and keep moving.

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