There are many mortifying responsibilities you have to face as an entrepreneur, especially when you’re starting out.
Some of them you outgrow, like: sifting through 500 unread emails every day, counting down the days (seconds!) until you can finally hire a VA.
Or: realizing 5 minutes into a sales call that the prospect won’t buy — but still riding it out until the gut-wrenching “no.”
But some never stop being a source of dread, like…
Trying to be entertaining on social media.
That last one can feel especially futile — not to mention unfair.
How many times have you spent hours crafting valuable content for your socials that you thought would do well…
…only to get 4 likes total (3 from your teammates, 1 from your mom)?
And how many times have you seen some “sexy” brand account rake in thousands of likes and shares just by echoing some popular meme of the day?
(No offense to F1 and their absurdly handsome drivers. I’m just a tad jealous!)
You could never get away with something like that.
It would be one thing if your business sold something sexy like streaming services. But what if you’re an accounting firm? Or a family owned butcher’s? Or a cargo shipping provider? Or any of the thousands of industries that quietly keep the world turning behind the scenes, but don’t exactly dazzle customers with overwhelming cool factor?
If you ever tried memeing or goofing your way to social media prominence, your audience would be GONE. (That’s right, in all caps.)
So what are you supposed to do, exactly?
Social media users, your audience included, expect to be entertained. Surprised. Delighted, even!
How do you do any of that when you are a hard-working, sensible, straight shooter company?
Is it even possible for you to grow and engage your audience without “tiktok-ifying” your social media presence, i.e. dancing to trendy sounds pointing at letters on screen like a goof?
Well, that’s exactly what I’m here to help you figure out.
In today’s article, I’m going to show you one high-performing type of social media content that:
- Plays well with audiences of all stripes
- Aligns with any brand voice, humorous or serious
- Doesn’t require you to be funny, hip, or “cool” (whatever that is)
- And still works even if you don’t pull a ton of shares / likes
(I’ll touch more on that last one in a bit.)
The best part is: companies on socials leverage this type of content so rarely that you’ll stand out like a bonfire in a candle shop if you do this right!
And now, let’s roll up our sleeves and actually dig in. What is this mysterious hot-shot type of social media content I’m talking about — and what makes it so good for sensible, no-nonsense brands?
Before I can tell you that, first I want to share with you something you DON’T want to do. Or at least, do as much.
I feel like I’ve screamed myself hoarse yelling this particular thing from the rooftops, but here we go again…
Stop posting about your business / industry! (as much)
This will sound counterintuitive, but:
To be compelling to your target audience on social media, you don’t have to post about your company or your industry.
In fact, oftentimes it’s better if you don’t! Trust me, nobody wants to see repurposed corporate announcements in their feed, no matter how many emojis you slap on those bad boys.
Almost every audience poll ever conducted, including this one from last year, shows that the #1 thing customers want to see on social media is more funny, entertaining content. And it’s typically incompatible with self-serving corporate word salad.
“But Summer, I thought you said I didn’t have to be funny on social media!”
I did, and I meant it. Here’s the thing…
The second most-requested type of content that consumers want to see on socials is… relatable content. This one was requested by 36% of consumers, and a whopping 70% said that relatability and authenticity were more important than quality and polish! (See this 2022 Hubspot report for more details.)
Bottom line is: customers crave relatable content that reflects who they are. Their day-to-day experiences. Their unique quirks. Their lives.
Content that makes your target audience nod so vigorously that their neck joints pop and go, “YES, that’s literally me!” And then DM the content in question to their closest friend with any (or all) of these emojis: 🤯🤣😜😂 Or even share it to their feed for hundreds more eyes to see.
THAT kind of content.
Here, let me grab you a fun example:
(The audience for Procreate is amateur and professional artists. And artists don’t always maintain, shall we say, optimal posture when working. So that is a perfect post for this account to make!)
Many marketers refer to this content type as “relatable truths” — but I prefer to call it “‘literally me’ content” because it’s catchier. Also funnier.
So what makes “literally me” content so compelling for social media? Let’s investigate!
4 reasons “literally me” content wins where others fail
Crafting social media content around relatable truths about your target customers is powerful as heck. Here’s why:
Reason #1. It works for any audience. You can create instant, powerful emotional connections with any group of people just by pointing out their specific “literally me” experiences. Business owners, single moms, long-haul truckers, financial analysts, guinea pig owners etc etc… Any audience — including yours!
Reason #2. It works for any brand. As long as you have a specific customer persona, or group of personas, you market to… you can leverage this type of social content. You can also easily modulate the tone and content to fit your brand voice; no matter if you skew serious or humorous, you can make it work.
Reason #3. It drives shares and interactions, especially on “dark social.” Oooh, that sounds ominous! Don’t worry — “dark” social simply describes all the activity that doesn’t happen publicly: DMing someone a post, emailing a link like it’s 2003, sending it on WhatsApp etc. In other words, it’s the kind of sharing that influences behavior… but doesn’t necessarily juice your vanity metrics. Fun fact: researchers estimate that as much as 84% of all social media activity happens on “dark social”!
Reason #4. It’s beyond easy to create. Honestly, it kind of feels unfair how low-effort and yet high-impact “literally me” content can be! In fact, once you know the trick to uncovering relatable truths about your target audience, you’ll be able to churn out engaging posts in spades!
Speaking of which, let me show you a simple, repeatable formula for crafting “literally me” content whenever you need it.
4 steps to craft “literally me” content for your business
In order to create engaging social media posts around relatable truths — effortlessly, consistently, at the drop of a hat — you need to make a spreadsheet.
*cue ominous music*
Don’t worry, there is zero technical stuff involved! We just need a way to visualize the “building blocks” of your content, and spreadsheets are the simplest option.
You’re going to need two columns: Column A and Column B. Now, let’s see how to fill them out…
Step 1. Brainstorm specific insights about your target customers in Column A.
Write down any and all observations, facts, behaviors etc. that would make your prospects nod and say, “SO true.” / “Yep, that’s literally me.” / “OMG YES, I thought I was the only one!”
Those could be:
- Specific, maybe a little weird, fears your customers have
- Their goals and desires, especially the less common ones
- Day-to-day experiences and scenarios that they can relate to
- Weird things that bring them joy in life, big or small
- Their guiding beliefs and values you want to align with
Brainstorm and write down as many of these as you can think of. I’d say, 30-50 would be ideal. (If you’re struggling to come up with more than 10, then maybe it’s time to conduct more surveys or customer development interviews!)
Pro tip: you can also mine lots of wonderfully relatable insights directly from your target audience on social media. Reddit especially is great for this, because it’s got dedicated subreddits for almost any conceivable profession or demographic.
Step 2. Fill in some “topical” qualifiers in Column B
You’re going to use these to add current relevance and specificity to your social media posts. You won’t always have to do this, but the more current your social content feels, the more people will want to engage with it.
So, for this second column, think about:
- Current events in the world
- Holidays that are approaching
- Meaningful milestones for your customers
- Seasonal, recurring rituals and events
- Big trends in your audience’s industry / profession
Chances are, your list for Column B will shape up shorter than the one in Column A, but that’s totally fine. Again, just try to come up with as many as you can!
Step 3. Mix and match to create sizzling, playful prompts
Now for the fun part! Pick an insight from Column A and match it to something from Column B that feels topical or relevant to right now — or to whichever date your post will go live.
This is your prompt, which you will use as a blueprint to create your “literally me” content.
Let’s say that your target audience is freelance accountants (CPAs). For them, April happens to be an especially stressful time, because Tax Day is just around the corner (Column B). That means, lots of CPAs are sweating bullets at the thought of working 60-hour weeks just to get through it (Column A).
So if we match the two, we get…
Working overtime just to file all client tax returns by Tax Day
It’s not a finished post yet, but it’s a great template. All it needs is some flair… which brings us to Step 4.
Step 4. Write your “literally me” post based on the prompt
Once you’ve done all the heavy lifting in Steps 1-3, creating the actual post becomes the easy part.
(For my examples, I’m going to use the format of Twitter posts, because they are the shortest and easiest. But this method can help you create any kind of social content for all platforms: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn etc.)
Here’s what I wrote in like 30 seconds based on our prompt about accountants on Tax Day:
(Note: this is not an actual tweet! I used Tweetgen to simulate a mock Twitter screenshot, just to show you what a sample post might look like.)
This one is OK… but it could be better. So let’s do a quick editing pass to make it more specific and fun. Again, feel free to use more or less humor as appropriate to your brand voice.
(Attempt #2, this time — with more visceral details.)
And there you have it, dear reader! This is the entire process, start to finish.
From now on, whenever you need to come up with an engaging piece of social content, you won’t have to craft one from scratch. Just mix and match from your simple spreadsheet of relatable truths, and write your content based on the prompt you get.
It’s that simple!
Now go forth and make your ideal customers say “so true!” as they laugh-cry and like, share, and follow you on socials in droves.
Remember: your customers crave connection
Just last week, I talked about how vital it is to create emotional resonance with your audience by holding up a mirror to them.
Social media marketing is no different. You don’t have to convert your entire presence into a content factory of “literally me” posts… but when used strategically, they can help you gain more traction, grow your audience, and translate your organic engagement into cold, hard sales down the line.
All it takes is a little insight into your customers and a proven content creation process. And now… you have both!
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