Do you ever see those clever social media posts that really grab your attention?

Perhaps they tell a compelling personal story or use language in a really sit-up-and-take-notice kind of way?

Or maybe the writer is just really good at asking questions?

You can’t quite put your finger on what/how they do it…but you find yourself thinking ‘I wish I could do THAT!’

If this sounds familiar, you’ll love this podcast episode on how to write social media posts that sell.

You’ll learn how to come up with great ideas for social media posts and how to construct your posts (word count, structure etc). You’ll also learn how to decide what to include and what to leave out of your posts. Plus how to create a strong call-to-action so people actually respond to your posts.

{Click on the player above to listen to the podcast episode and/or read on for a detailed overview. Scroll down to the bottom to read the show notes including all the links mentioned in this episode}.

1.The ‘Question’ post

This is when you ask a question on social media that is so easy for your audience to answer, they can’t help but get involved.

For example, when I’m marketing my live events, I ask tons of questions, such as:

  • Do you like to see the programme/schedule for a live event before you book?
  • Do you expect lunch to be included in the ticket price or do you prefer to get your own?
  • Which logo do you prefer for this event?

Turning these questions into social media content not only allows you to talk about your products/services (without being pushy or ‘selly’), it also gives you genuinely helpful feedback. So it's actually like a form of therapy for business owners!

For example, when I dropped down from two podcast episodes a week to one - and started turning the weekly episode into a full blown blog post -  I posted a question on my Facebook page asking people if they preferred to read or listen to my content. This got far more engagement than if I’d simply announced I’d dropped down from two episodes a week to one.

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If you want people to comment on your social media content, you need to make it as easy for them as possible. This is why giving your audience clear choices e.g. A, B, C or D, yes/no, agree/disagree can be brilliant for encouraging engagement with your posts (I generally refer to these as two tap answers)

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Not only does it make it super quick for people to engage, they don’t have to think too hard about what to say - which means they’re far more likely to respond. Adding a headline (as I have done in this example) can help your post stand out more in peoples’ social media feeds.

Your headline might say something like, "Your help, please?" or "Which do you prefer?" or "Quick question,".  Layout is also really important. Big blocks of text can be daunting, so use short paragraphs, bullet points, emojis, capital letters and other symbols to break it up.

Occasionally someone warns me that the Facebook/LinkedIn algorithm penalises content like this i.e. content that encourages short/two tap answers. I have no idea if this is true, but I actually think it’s pretty irrelevant. Once someone has responded to you, you can - and should - go back and ask them an additional question/encourage them to give you more information e.g ‘So you don’t think passive income is possible in your business…? If you have the time, I’d love to know more about why.’ So it’s easy to turn a short/two tap answer into a conversation. And conversations are exactly what you should be aiming for with all your social media content.

If you’d like more ideas for question posts, you can sign up for my how to write social media posts that sell masterclass.

2.The ‘story’ post

This is when you tell a story or share an experience your audience can relate to.

We're all naturally really good story tellers - in fact, we tell each other stories every day - but somehow along the way, we lose our confidence around telling stories. Especially when we’re asked to write them down.

To write story posts effectively, it’s important to understand basic narrative theory. This is  pretty simple, as most books, films, TV shows follow the same structure.

  1. Equilibrium (i.e. everything is fine)
  2. Equilibrium is disrupted
  3. Characters try to put things right
  4. Resolution
  5. Equilibrium is restored (but it’s generally a ‘different’ kind of equilibrium than at the beginning
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People aren’t generally interested in hearing about the equilibrium - they’re far more interested in disruption. So do bear this in mind when you’re thinking of ideas for social media posts.

If you’re going to share a story on social media, ideally it needs to be relatable and  emotive. If you want added impact, it should also be divisive. Crucially, it must have triggered an emotional reaction in you that’s strong enough to make you want to share the story with others (and keep telling it).

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This example also lands the reader in the action (taking you back my PE lesson in 1985), centres around a single emotion (shame) and has a clear takeaway message (if you keep showing up and doing the work you will improve - you may even surprise yourself).  In this post, I also added a call-to-action at the end, which can be a great way to get readers to talk back to you.

This story is relatable because even if you haven’t had this exact experience, you have been humiliated by a teacher at some point in your school career. You’ve probably also told yourself you’re not good at something - due to some throwaway comment someone made about you.

You may be wondering how sharing personal stories can help you in your business. The key is to make it relevant to your business (there is always a way). While my story about my teacher telling me I was fat may not initially appear to have anything to do with my business it’s actually a story about persistence. About ignoring the voices in your head that tell you you’re not good and/or that you can’t do something and just showing up and doing the work. This is so relevant to many of my clients because they often try something for a few weeks, then decide they are useless and/or they can’t do it…so it’s absolutely relevant to then.

But do bear in mind there doesn’t always have to be a business angle. Sharing a personal story can simply be a way of bringing you closer to your audience, as with this video I shared of the moment I saw my family 12 miles into the London Marathon, which attracted tons of engagement on social media.

When people see you as human and relatable, they’re much more likely to want to do business with you.

3.The ‘grenade’ post

This is when you post about a topic you know people will have strong opinions about and/or will divide people.

For example, I recently posted a successful grenade posts on whether ambitious women are less attractive which attracted over 300 comments.

I would suggest a simple three-step approach to writing grenade posts. Start by saying what happened (the incident), then give your take on it (the interpretation), then invite readers to tell you what they think (the call-to-action).

Grenade posts are not for the faint-hearted but they are definitely very effective - and consistently trump the engagement I get for any other kind of posts. Some of my grenade posts have netted over 50k views.

My advice would be to use them sparingly - no more than a few times a month - and mix them up with the less controversial style of post I’ve shared above.

If you feel nervous about grenade posts, I’d suggest starting with something divisive but not too controversial. For example, my client Kirsten Goodwin wrote this post about whether you would expect to get free tea and coffee when attending an event, which attracted 50 comments on LinkedIn.

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In my own experience, grenade posts do particularly well on LinkedIn, but you can try them elsewhere.

What makes a great social media post

I’m going to show you how to write three types of social media post, but first off here’s some general tips:

  • Make sure you have a clear intention behind every social media post i.e. what do you want people to do as a result of reading it. Perhaps you want them to book a call with you, listen to a podcast episode and/or buy a particular product/service. It doesn’t really matter what your intention is - it’s just important to have one
  • Give a single call-to-action in each post i.e. tell people what you want them to do next. This can be anything from listening to a podcast, stating a preference to giving an opinion on something. Again, the intention isn’t important - it’s just important that you have one.
  • Make every word work for its place on the page. Which means cutting out any waffle and/or words or phrases that don’t need to be there.

Pro tip: Restrict longer form posts e.g. Facebook to the character limit for LinkedIn (1300 characters). This will force you to cut the waffle.

Want more help with writing social media posts that sell? Get my online masterclass here.

Resources

How to write social media posts that sell (online masterclass) 

Rev.com*

Kapwing

What's Working On Facebook Right Now (podcast)

Social Media Engagement Playbook

LinkedIn Content Strategy Playbook

Build Your Audience Live Event

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