Many people I’ve encountered over the years are afraid of posting on social media because they’re scared they’re going to be judged by their peers, colleagues, or the wider internet. They may also be concerned that past content will come back to haunt them.
But if you’re worried something will come back to haunt you, it may well be that you’re saying something you’re going to regret anyway. Which means there’s a deeper problem to solve than your issues with social media.
Social media is a modern-day time capsule. Everything we choose to post is there forever, and deleting it doesn’t mean it can’t still be found. So we really do need to be mindful of what we post.
That being said, it can be fun to look back at old posts – or it can be cringeworthy.
Hopefully this post can help you to create something fun to reflect back on; something that makes you feel proud.
But, of course, that will only happen if we can get you over that fear of posting on social media first.
Think before you post
Before hitting publish, double check what you’re posting. Are there any typos? Have you articulated things well? Are you saying something you’ll regret tomorrow, next week, or next year?
You could even write posts in bulk, then go through them at a later date, when you’re ready to publish.
Writing and editing your content at different times will help you to spot everything from typos to structural issues that you may not have noticed otherwise because you were too close to the idea/writing stage.
If you’re replying to someone else’s post, you want to do it fairly quickly and not be the person reviving and old post. So instead, draft your reply in a Word document or a note on your phone, do something else, then come back to it and reread it with fresh eyes.
If you’re still happy with it, post it. If not, change it and see how you feel.
Talk to others – not about yourself
Even if you’re using social media for business purposes, it still isn’t about you. It’s always, always about the value you can provide to your audience. Even if that value is in the form of entertainment, education, or a combination of the two.
Be kind, be helpful, and consider how you’d want other people to talk to you. Don’t rage post something because you disagree with someone. That’s the type of post you’re likely to regret.
Even if you disagree with someone, there’s a way that you can have a mature debate without jeopardising your relationship with them or coming across as the villain in the conversation. It’s about being considerate and open, rather than snappy and standoffish.
Resist the temptation to get into an argument. Arguments on social media are seldom worth it. You’re better off spending your time on your business or spreading positivity. Doing the latter will get you further and be good for your mental health, while arguments spread negativity and make you feel worse.
If you talk too much about yourself when people don’t know who you are, frankly, they won’t care. You have to make them care by showing them how lovely and helpful you are first. The more you help other people, the more they’ll be interested in you. But until that point, if you spend all your time talking about yourself and not to your audience, you’re going to spend a very long time wondering why your content never gets any engagement.
There is a way to talk about yourself and make it relevant to your audience, though.
Pick something that’s happened to you and turn it into a story. For example, I recently turned my failed cheesecake into a lesson about curiosity and experimentation.
The post was relevant to mental health, content marketing, and one of my other favourite interests, kitchen experiments!
Pick one platform
There are so many social media platforms out there, and they all require a different approach. They have different designs, posting types, audience expectations, algorithms, etc. Which means you’ve got a lot to learn. That can be off-putting.
Instead of worrying about that for Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and wherever else you decide to spend your time, pick one that you enjoy.
If you prefer text-based posts, Twitter is great.
If photography and video is your thing, give Instagram a go.
If you like chatting with people, try Facebook (and groups in particular).
If you want to do more videos, try TikTok.
If you haven’t found a platform you get along with yet, switch and try a new one.
Stick to your buckets
Content buckets are parent topics you cover in your content. For instance, mine are content marketing, mental health, and business. Subtopics of content marketing include areas like social media, scriptwriting, and blogging.
When you have these buckets, it makes it easier to know what you can write about because you’re picking from a narrower pool. Chances are, these are also topics you’re already interested in. So you’re probably already reading about it, and that’s a great starting point.
Sharing articles with the latest news and research in your field is a quick and easy way to establish your authority. Make sure you read the news before sharing it, and also add in your own personal opinion.
Engage first, create second
If creating your own content is intimidating, start by replying to other people’s posts. It’s a lot easier than creating your own content, because you’re often just answering a question or high-fiving someone for a job well done.
Ideally, you want to spend more time engaging with other people’s content than your own. This will get you in front of their audiences and help to grow your own much quicker than if you’re just publishing content and hoping people will find it. Content creation is seldom that simple.
Your audience won’t come to you – you have to go find them. And that starts by engaging with other experts in your industry.
Remember your audience
Before you post something, consider if it’s going to be relevant and interesting to your audience. If you’re a mental health charity, posting about the latest football match won’t make sense. Posting about how exercise impacts mental health does.
This is why content buckets can be super helpful. They’ll keep you focused, ensure your audience knows what to expect from you, and make it easier to generate ideas.
Posting on social media doesn’t have to be scary. In fact, it can be a fun way to increase your network and make new friends. All you have to do is remember that everything you post should provide some sort of benefit to your audience, focusing on their needs first and your wants second.