Last week, my client handed me a deposit for her new website and branding strategy. And as we sat down to lunch, she asked me, “do you feel my current marketing is all over the place?”

Wincing inside, I said, “I do. But in a few short weeks, you’ll have a handle on it. You’ll have pieces in place. You’ll see how they relate and build on each other. You’ll feel like a master puppeteer!” Relieved and excited, she continued talking about plans for her business.

Her question got my wheels turning. How could she walk away and feel in control? Could I help her today even before the project began? Yep. I left her with four secrets to smarter social media posts. These are the same ones I review with my team and any client using social media. How many do you use?


There are several marketing principles I love, but even if you stop reading after this one, your social media engagement, your website copy, your lead magnet — will be better for it:

Make Your Customer a Hero.

As a business, it’s easy to think your job is to save their day, but the reality is, customers are the hero in their own lives — not you. A business is just a guide along their real-world journey. A guide who helps them get what they want. Your business Facebook page or Instagram account, is the place you can inspire them to be all they can be.

For more examples, (and my favorite recommendation) check out Donald Miller’s book, Building a StoryBrand. Miller explains how to share your brand story and why it’s so effective. Hint: It’s because as a culture we’ve been sharing hero stories for generations, so this stuff works. You simply need to understand and play your role in their story.

How do you make them look like the hero?

Use words and images that make them feel like they can take on the world. Ask about them. Don’t just talk about your product or service. Use their own words that make them feel powerful or stylish and smart. Use language that proves that they are indeed the expert, because in their life — they are! Include images of people who look like them, living versions of their best self — laughing with friends or family, doing things in action. Message me if you want free, specific examples for your business.


The second principle we encourage clients to use in their posts is creating a sense of scarcity. Scarcity is this phenomenon where something that is limited becomes more attractive. (FOMO!)

There are two types of scarcity you can use to increase your sales:

Quantity-related scarcity (2 necklaces left at this price)
Time-related scarcity (last day to buy)

You’ll want to include words or calls-to-action that create prompt, swift action, without sounding like a sleazy infomercial. Try some of these phrases in your next post and be sure to add an exclamation or two: limited quantities, early bird now on sale, don’t delay, selling quickly, only a few remain, get them before they’re gone! 

Scarcity can boost sales or it can backfire, so use with caution.


Does your post, blog, email, have a singular thought, topic or command?

Think of the last tv show or movie you watched. Who was the hero? What was the crisis they were facing? Did you understand it in the first few minutes? Your marketing has to be that clear and quicker too. As Miller writes in Building a BrandStory — if you confuse, you lose. I have three examples to share.

Consider this blog post. I told you there would be four secrets. I put those secrets as sub-headings so you can skim them easily. On the off chance, you’re really busy, you could quickly see the section you needed more information on, read it, and go. Seems obvious, but I could show you countless blogs who muddy their messages.

Consider a recent Facebook post I made for our sister company, Events That Don’t Suck. I love boosting our engagement for our audience’s pleasure, but I also know it’s their engagement that boosts the Facebook algorithm. A true win-win! I included a selfie and wrote: “We wanna see your face, drop your last selfie!”

This communication works really well because it’s clear, direct, and honest. I wanted to see their face so we could get clear on who (besides our girl, Sarah Dolan!) was there and I wanted them to have fun along the way.

Consider how this relates to images. For example, creating an image in PicMonkey (another one of my favorites) with an overlay of words is robust enough to be a post – on its own. You might add encouraging words or simply quote the same phrase above it, but it doesn’t need an ask or command. In fact, if you’re a smart cookie your audience will comment or share it, without being told what to do.

So before you schedule that next post (you are using a scheduling tool, right?) run back through them to confirm it has a singular thought or command, not both. And if you see you have multiple thoughts, don’t beat yourself up and don’t delete them. Instead, divide up those thoughts and schedule a new post!


Let’s say you were driving on vacation to somewhere you’d never been. If you saw a billboard with an image of french fries tucked in a deep red container with only the words ‘Five Miles Ahead’. Your hungry tummy can expect to see the fast food giant, McDonald’s just around the corner.

McDonald’s, Starbucks, Google and your other favorite brands prove that building a brand and minimizing confusion also means staying consistent with colors, fonts, and voice. I say if that’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for the rest of us!

How do you and your team communicate your brand standards? Are they written down? Do you visit them often? When was the last update?

Putting the secrets in action

There you have it, four secrets for smarter social media posts. Have you been using them and you didn’t notice? Which will you start using first or next? Do you have a better understanding on how they work together? Share any wisdom in the comments below!