Beyond sharing good article links and lists, how can you build engagement that cements a bond between you and your audience? I’m talking about moving beyond providing “useful” info and more towards them liking you and believing in who you are and what you stand for.
At the end of the day, business is always a transaction between PEOPLE. So in theory, if we can increase that connection with people (on a much more personal level), they are more likely going to want to do business with us.
Sounds basic right?
I thought so… until I analyzed my Facebook posts and realized, I could certainly do more in this area.
That’s when I started looking at what I could do to increase that level of personal communication, connection and openness.
Over a weekend I began experimenting with a few different types of posts on Facebook to see what would truly connect with people. Some worked. Some didn’t.
Given my current audience size I was measuring success in terms of engagement that was beyond normal for what I would typically get when posting something on Facebook.
Here are seven post templates that you can model:
Post Strategy #1 – Use a Quote Image
I had heard from one of my best gal pals (and Facebook marketing extraordinaire) Amy Porterfield that quote images had a tendency to get shared a lot and sometimes go viral.
Stupid me thought that just meat “quotes” in general.
Not the case.
Quote images (in general) have a much higher level of engagement. At first I didn’t truly understand why but I wanted to try anyway and see if I could learn “why”.
Here’s an example from Amy Porterfield that I used as inspiration:
As soon as I posted a quote image, I immediately saw the value because the engagement and shares was definitely much higher with this post over my two-day experiment.
So why does this work?
I thought about it and here’s what I think…
People want to stand for something but often it’s hard to put those thoughts/feelings/emotions into words.
Have you ever had a situation where someone was able to articulate what you’ve been trying to say… but the way they said it just made you scream… “that’s it!”.
(I have that experience almost every time I’m hanging out with Michael Hyatt and his oldest daughter Megan Hyatt-Miller. They both have a knack for being able to communicate the stuff that’s been stuck in my head for years!).
Anyway, that’s what makes a quote so powerful.
Quotes give us a subtle way to express our beliefs and ideals. When we like or share a quote, regardless of what it’s about (health, relationships, business, mindset, etc.), what we are ultimately saying is “this is important to me”.
Of course there are exceptions for things like jokes but that’s something totally different.
The other important distinction is taking the extra effort to make them an image vs. just posting the text of the quote. I’ve done many “text” versions but like I said above, they just didn’t have the same viral reach that my image experiment did. I think it’s because the image version has the ability to really bring the quote to life.
Here’s an example of one I found and then posted:
Within 48 hours I had lots of likes and TONS of shares. I was happy.
Here’s the bigger strategy behind a quote image post…
Make sure it reflects the your values or beliefs. Remember, the whole point of doing this kind of engagement is to bond with people. If someone connects to your quote, they are a little more connected to you.
So use wisely!
Post Strategy #2 – Honour Someone Close To You
Similar to the above example, take time to honour someone close to you like your spouse, kids, good friend or colleague. This also does wonders on a subconscious level for your audience because it emphasizes the ideals you are trying to portray.
If you want to be known as a good spouse, then honour your spouse.
If you want to be known as a good parent, then honour your kids.
If you want to be known as a good friend, then honour your friends.
Nobody does this better than my good friend David Frey. He intentionally finds opportunities to spotlight people in his life with meaningful posts and messages.
Sometimes it’s someone he just had an interaction with and sometimes it’s someone he is thinking about. Either way, it demonstrates his love and appreciation for those in his life.
Here’s a good example from Dave:
Following Dave’s lead, I immediately knew who I wanted to spotlight:
Here’s what I know about myself…
I really do appreciate so many people in my life and I have intentions about acknowledging them… but often fall short in doing so.
Am I alone in this?
The lesson learned for me is that I am going to be more intentional about this and look for opportunities to recognize and acknowledge those in my life. It’s important because those people deserve to be acknowledged AND I think it communicates to my audience the type of person I am.
Who could you honour in your next post?
Post Strategy #3 – Honour a Group of People
Another example I tried was a simple “shout out” to Single Parents.
I had been home alone with my 2yr old daughter for several days while my wife was traveling and I finally got a mini break when my parents requested a day with their grand daughter (thank goodness because I was exhausted! LOL).
But it highlighted the daily struggle that single parents have and gave them the public credit they deserve. Anytime you can boost someone else up in public, do it (and Facebook is a great place for that).
Post Strategy #4 – Fun Life Pics
At the end of the day we are all human and we all experience ups, downs, anxieties, nerves, joys and all the rest.
If you can capture moments either in a quick video or image that depict a common situation people experience, you will get engagement because people can relate to it.
I learned this while enjoying all the pictures and videos that were being posted from friends that were skiing in Switzerland. In my mind, the best example of this was from James Wedmore with a picture of him sledding:
Can’t you just see the pure joy on his face?
The reason lots of people liked this picture is because it reminds us of the fun we had doing these kinds of things when we were kids. People can relate to this (plus it makes me want to go out sledding!).
But capturing these moments in real time can sometimes be tricky so just be ready should the opportunity present itself.
Well it just so happened that “fun pic” opportunity did occur during this two-day experiment.
Here was my version:
It works because people can relate to THEIR kids being fast asleep in the car. The funny part about this picture is definitely the “before and after” concept.
Note: I did post the “before” pic by itself and it didn’t get nearly the same level of engagement.
Conclusion: Look to capture and share those moments of life that we all experience and can relate to. The more relatable it is, the better.
Post Strategy #5 – The Vulnerable Post
The good thing about Facebook is that we can control what we say and post. But in my opinion, that’s also the downfall because 99.9% of all personal posts only show the “polished”, positive side of someone’s life.
Meaning, rarely do people post about the “messy” stuff of life – but that’s what most of us really connect with. That’s what makes us human. But it takes real courage to go there.
My friend Michele Cushatt is really good at this. She has a beautiful way of expressing what so many of us experience but are afraid to say because we don’t want to be “judged”.
But that’s the irony… when you do share it, people connect with your message because they can relate (and are secretly glad they aren’t alone).
Here’s an example from Michele:
Don’t tell me you didn’t laugh when reading Michele’s post. I bet it took you back to a time when you had done something similar – am I right?
Personally I started thinking about eating the cookie dough from the batch of cookies I was attempting to make the other night. I had to finally stop myself otherwise there wouldn’t be any cookies to bake! LOL.
Anyway, back to the post… how can we model this?
Find those vulnerable moments in life that people can relate to, but are always reluctant to talk about.
Here’s another great example from Amy Porterfield:
Again, I laughed when I first saw this because I had done the EXACT SAME THING earlier in the week.
But what makes this post even more effective is that in the “business world” we’re not supposed to show “weakness”. Everything must be perfect and professional if people are going to buy from us (said with air quotes and a deep voice).
But the reality is, sometimes business isn’t going to be perfect – and recognizing that, and being vulnerable about sharing it is what makes you real.
When you or your business become “too perfect”, you begin to lose that deeper connection with your audience.
So it’s a fine balance between being too vulnerable and looking like you have no idea what you’re doing and being too perfect that nobody can relate.
Here was my version of a vulnerable post:
What’s the lesson?
Try opening up a little.
It takes courage, but you’ll connect with your audience on a much deeper level.
Post Strategy #6 – Recurring Theme
One type of post that I accidentally discovered was the concept of a recurring theme. In fact, my friend Liz DiAlto first got me on to this idea when she started tagging certain pictures of me with the hashtag #StuFace (because I tend to be a little “silly” when taking pictures).
But honestly, the idea didn’t really come to life until I started sharing posts about the cute/funny things my two year old daughter was saying.
Here’s an early example of this type of post:
So I began running with that theme even further and here’s another example of one I ran a little later:
To make this even more compelling I think I will create a hashtag so others can join in on the fun and link to other funny 2yr old moments.
Still, it brings up the idea…
What recurring theme could you create?
Post Strategy #7 – Business Opinion
One other strategy I wanted to try is something I call the “business opinion”. I had seen guys like Derek Halpern and Kevin Nations successfully do this type of post by sharing a strong opinion related to some type of business practise.
These types of posts can be polarizing, but that’s the point.
This is an opportunity to draw those who share the same viewpoints even closer. If we are trying to build a stronger bond with our audience, at some point you need to start expressing your thoughts on certain issues.
Here’s an example from Derek Halpern:
The other big benefit of doing this is that your audience will begin to get a feel for what it would be like to work with you. It is a subtle way of communicating your own expectations for customers, vendors, employees and anyone else who could potentially work with you.
This type of post gives people insight into what you value and it works just like a magnet. Meaning if people feel the same, it draws them in closer. If their views are different, it pushes them away.
So when I was thinking about this type of post I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do because I didn’t want to “force” something unless it really felt right. Then as luck would have it, I received an email that served as the perfect inspiration for this:
I also followed that up a few days later with another “business opinion” post that really seemed to strike a nerve as well:
How can you use the business opinion strategy?
Think about what irritates you with certain business practices. Then express those.
My only advice is to avoid getting specific with names because then it just looks like a mud slinging.
Bonus Idea – Combining Concepts
Could you combine some of the ideas above?
I think so.
For example, I’ve now started combining #2 (Honoring Someone Close To You) with #6 (Recurring Theme) by sharing the reasons I love my wife (ahhhh).
In all seriousness though, what these types of posts do is make clear what I value in life.
And people connect and relate to that. That’s how you build relationships. That’s also how you generate more business – because people prefer to buy from those they feel a deeper connection to.
So from the list above, what could you combine?
There are many different ways you can connect with people on a deeper level using social media. Hopefully the ideas outlined above will give you a jump start. All I encourage you to do is experiment.
Every person and audience will be different. What resonates with my audience may not work with yours. But you won’t know unless you try.
The other lesson I learned is that we also need to be more strategic with our posts. In the past I would just post whatever I felt like at the time. Now however, I’m going to be more intentional about making sure I have certain types of posts scheduled because it’s important to me (and my business) that I be strategic about building that connection.
So now over to you…
What idea did you like the most?
What will you try in the next 7 days?
What posts have you seen work well with your audience?
Let me know in the comments below so that we can all learn.