Ever wonder what makes you want to follow a certain social account, besides just for the flawless photos that clearly (or maybe not) took hours to set up? It may look effortless at a glance, but there’s a calculated curation process happening behind the scenes. And most people are trying to figure it out as they go, just like you are. Through my own trial and error over the years, through observation and note taking, I've seen patterns emerge that have led to success. And though the terrain on social media is different these days, with changed algorithms and an absolute flood of ads/content, there are still some key principles that float to the top.
In my experience, it comes down to a few key takeaways: stay consistent, think before you speak, and mix up your media to keep things spicy. So let’s break down a few ways you can start improving your social media presence right away.
This is a big one: consistency is key. Not a lot of people want to follow along with a page that reinvents itself every single day (unless of course that’s part of your brand, in which case, go for it). Identify your core values and then plan out how you want to communicate them. Just commit, because the more time you spend trying to get things just right, the less real-world feedback you'll have to learn from. Have an idea for a new and engaging type of content? Great – get it out there, test it, see what happens. Just ensure that you try to keep it as visually consistent as possible to avoid a mess later on.
For example, if you're selling beautifully crafted, minimal jewelry, consider photographing it in an equally thoughtful, minimal space. Or maybe out in nature, or against different textured backdrops. See what works or doesn't. Maybe even try video if that's a place that you can differentiate. Or if you're in real estate, trying to get an edge with your audience, try developing a new perspective on the home search by showing home details with professional photographs. Ditch the tired and overused super wide angle shots that never live up to real world expectations. Or show the previous homeowners and tell their story (not sure if that's legal but...it's a nice thought). Or make short video clips of home highlights.
Bottom line: try something new.
You can definitely choose more than one concept, but if you do, just try to template it somehow so you can reuse it later. Above all, but sure your style across all posts is consistent with your brand. That way, your audience knows what they can expect and your gallery looks stunning.
Whatever you're doing, remember to carve out a niche for yourself and make sure to stick to it, if anything just for the sake of experimentation. The social media sphere is so incredibly saturated now with images and content, it’s not going to benefit you to be simply curating the best of the best anymore.
Carve out a niche for yourself and make sure to stick to it
Sure, you may be an amazing curator, but if you’re just a small or medium business trying to get your head above water and get noticed, you’re going to want to target a specific audience, not every audience. So be thoughtful, intentional, targeted and speak directly to your audience in a unique, personal way. Find a way to talk to them visually, through consistently styled imagery, typography, video, and more.
Pretty pictures are great, but as humans we all love a good story. It's in our DNA. Your viewers, followers, whatever you call them, are also curious humans. They want to know what they're looking at, and with the huge amounts of information and content we all consume each day, the richer the content, the more attention-grabbing. You know what I'm talking about, you scroll through your phone all the time, and the more you scroll, the harder it is to capture your attention.
So make your words count. Imagine trying to speak in slang Swahili to someone who only understands German. You may be able to make it out somehow with a lot of concentrated effort, but you probably won't communicate very clearly or inspire them in the same way that a native speaker could.
Make your words count
Before you post, make sure to:
- Identify your audience, so that you know who you’re speaking to (this might be a few different types of people, but make sure you know who they are and what makes them tick).
- Do a little research. See what brands out there are speaking in a way that resonates with you and feels like a similar fit.
- Establish your unique tone (or tones) of voice. Perhaps you have slight variations in the way you speak to cover different bases. The point is, identifying them and being intentional about them is the most important thing. Showing up every day just saying whatever you feel isn’t going to work, unless that is intentionally part of your brand. Intention is everything here. Think before you speak, write, post. Speak the language of your audience.
Identify and speak the language of your audience
Mix up your media
Post diverse content. Get creative, try and fail. How would your story come across in illustration, or video, or a GIF? How does your product look in summer, or fall, or winter? Stop motion? Sketchy drawings? Whatever makes sense for your brand, try it out. What’s the worst that could happen? Well, you could reach a new audience that loves miniatures or old school film style. Above all, always remember that everyone who seems like they know exactly what they're doing is constantly learning too. We're all beginners at something. We're all flying by the seats of our pants. Embrace the suck and you'll be better for it.
Don't be afraid to try new things
I’ll reiterate that intention is important here (don’t just post anything just because you feel like it) but don’t be afraid to try new things. Posting a photo every other day is great, but as you probably already know, there are other types of content that generate far more engagement. Try those out and see how it goes! You might be pleasantly surprised and glad that you did.
Stay consistent, think before you speak, and don't be afraid to mix it up
Things to keep in mind
There's no silver bullet when it comes to creativity or to "making it" on social media. That's the beauty of it. Because we're human, and because we all have very unique ways in which we approach problem solving, there's just no such thing. So before you set your expectations sky high, keep in mind that there's always the invisible organic element of serendipity.
Serendipity, or that"right place, right time" magic, will undoubtedly have an effect on the fruitfulness of your efforts. Remember that the universe doesn't always agree with our decisions, keep your expectations low to neutral, and you'll be successful no matter what.
Good things take time.