Have you ever found yourself posting your heart out on social media right before it’s time to promote your offer only to be met with crickets?
It’s frustrating, right?
You find the perfect brand imagery, write a detailed caption, throw in a whole bunch of hashtags, and hope for the best!
Only, those efforts always seem to fall flat!
I promise, there’s a much better way to approach selling on social media that can turn things around for you so you can say goodbye to panic posting and hello to successfully converting followers into buyers.
In the bustling, ever-changing world of social media, selling isn’t just about posting a few updates and hoping for the best.
For creative entrepreneurs – think home decor shops, florists, designers, artists, photographers, home organizers, and woodworkers – the path from post to sale demands a two-fold strategy: harnessing social media for both the immediate boost and long-term gains.
But for many creative entrepreneurs, figuring out what to do and when can feel overwhelming! You already have so much on your plate! That’s why I’ve mapped out a social posting overview that I’ve used in my own brand photography business as a guide.
I hope it helps you build out an intentional, impactful social media strategy that is right for your unique business and upcoming offers. This strategic timeline will help you build anticipation, foster connection, and target the right timing to turn your social media posts into tangible profits (not just vanity metrics).
The Pitfall of Last-Minute Promotions
A common misstep among both product-based and service-based businesses alike is the belief that after a mere week or two of promoting their offer is enough. Too often they don’t see the results they were hoping for and end up throwing in the towel, considering their offer a complete failure.
The truth is, this last-minute post-and-pray approach typically leads to this kind of disappointment.
And more often than not, it has NOTHING to do with the business or the offer at all.
The real problem?
A lack of strategy.
So, if you’re relying on a handful of posts to do the heavy lifting, you’re setting yourself up for missed opportunities. Most of your audience may not even see those images you carefully curated or the reel you recorded half a dozen times to get juuuust right.
And those who DO see your content, probably don’t know or trust you enough yet to confidently follow your call-to-action and hit that BUY button.
So what should you do differently to sell on social media successfully?
It’s time to play the long game.
Pro Tip: Brand new to social media? If you haven’t integrated this marketing platform into your business workflow yet, this is a perfect time to jump in. Don’t be afraid to start small and keep it simple at first. It’s all about taking imperfect action and just showing up! Find a consistent posting schedule that you can stick to and then you can scale in the future. As you post more and more, the algorithm will respond and start pushing your content to more people.
Your 3-Month Social Selling Blueprint
To see actual results while selling on social media, a different strategy is required. Rather than sprinting toward the finish line, think of it as a marathon that starts months ahead. The key is to gradually build up to your offer, mapping out a customer journey that engages and resonates with your audience every step of the way.
I have found mapping out social content over a 3-month period to be the sweet spot for my business. It’s not too drawn out that planning feels daunting, but it isn’t so short that you can’t build momentum.
Whether you’re planning to launch a new product, workshop, or service, you can adapt this blueprint to work for your unique audience and needs!
3 Months Before Launch: Tease Curiosity
3 months before you launch your new product, workshop, or service you need to prime the pump! I know this may feel premature, but this is your opportunity to start planting seeds, spark curiosity, and connect with your audience in relation to what you’re selling before you ever ask them to hand over their credit card!
When you’re there months out, it’s an ideal time to post content like this:
- Begin teasing about something exciting. If you’ve offered a similar product, workshop, or service before, paint a picture of what your ideal client might experience or the benefits this offer can help them achieve.
- Share behind-the-scenes glimpses of your creative process, to build intrigue and help you stand out from your competitors. Remember, how YOU do things makes your brand unique and memorable.
Brand Imagery Tip: If you are creating a new product, prepping for your next workshop, or brainstorming your new service, a time-lapse video can be a great way to capture the process and what goes into bringing your offer to life!
- Think it’s too soon to promote your offer? Think again. While it may be too early to sell, at the 3-month point you can encourage sign-ups for your newsletter or a waitlist, planting the seeds for whatever you’re cooking up behind the scenes! Plus, you’ll bulk up your email list with warm leads who are interested in your offers.
- Get your audience thinking about the upcoming sales season! This is especially important for any business with seasonal offers. For example, waiting until December to promote Christmas items is too late! For a holiday-themed launch, revisit past holiday experiences or transformations (yes, as early as October). This is a low-lift way to showcase your offers without needing to curate brand-new content.
- You can consider things like:
- What holiday trends have you noticed in your shop over the last 5 years?
- Which favorite holiday (or seasonal) staples do your customers look forward to year after year?
- If you decorate for the holiday season, include some behind-the-scenes or before-and-after footage of you and your team transforming the space into a winter wonderland!
- You can consider things like:
2 Months Before Launch: Fuel Excitement
As you get closer to your launch date, you can start to show up more and get more specific about what’s on the horizon! Start to feed into your audience’s curiosity! This is about giving some breadcrumbs so they have an idea of how the actual workshop, store display, or new product will look and feel.
- Hone in on the specifics of your offering such as event details, product features, or workshop highlights. 3-month out you may have shared what you did in the past related to your offer, but now is your opportunity to showcase what you have in mind this go-around! How is this year’s product, workshop, or in-store display going to be even better or more unique?
- Use visuals like the tools you use to create your product, process shots, a walking tour of where you plan to hold that workshop, sneak peeks of the decor in your gift shop, and more to paint a vivid picture.
- Increase the frequency of your posts, maintaining a consistent engagement rhythm. This ensures your business is top of mind and increases the likelihood that more of your audience will see and engage with your social content.
- Encourage advance ticket purchases or newsletter sign-ups. Consider how you can incentivize commitment with promotions like early-bird discounts or bonuses. Even if you’re not ready to sell your offer just yet, getting opt-ins helps you see what is resonating with your audience most!
1 Month Before Launch: Amplify Your Reach
Now’s the time to kick it into high gear so you can get seen! Your goal here is to reach more of your ideal audience by meeting them where they are and connecting with them through authentic storytelling.
- Leverage various channels – blog posts, emails, and social media – to maximize reach. Include a call-to-action on your blog encouraging readers to check out your Instagram page. Invite your social media audience to join your email list. Email marketing is one of the best ways to ensure you’re reaching your people (without having to outsmart the social media algorithms).
- Share engaging stories behind your journey, your workshop, or your product creation process. Visuals should support the stories you tell for a more sensory, engaging experience.
- Provide added value to those who’ve signed up early, nurturing the connection and regarding them for taking action early on! For example, you can share content related to your offer.
- If you’re hosting a floral workshop, you might share helpful tips on caring for flowers during the summer months or give a video tour of the flower field where the class will be held.
- If you are launching an in-store holiday experience, take a trip down memory lane by sharing a previous blog post about the holiday season or highlighting some of this season’s pieces that will be available when the doors open at the end of October.
- If you are selling a product, showcase the new colorways you’ll offer or the product’s functionality.
- Ramp up social media posts to twice a week to ensure heightened visibility. This might include answering FAQs or fielding new questions from your audience.
2 Weeks Before Launch: Deepen Connections
Here is where you will want to focus on nurturing your audience. First and foremost, people buy from people they know, like, and trust. This means as you prepare to move into sales mode, stepping out from behind your business and into the spotlight is critical.
- Share personal stories about the inspiration behind your business and your offer. Don’t be afraid to show your face– environmental portraits can be an excellent way to spotlight the teacher leading the workshop, your team decking the halls, or how you design your products in the studio.
- Use email sequences to guide early sign-ups or purchasers. If you automate these emails ahead of time, they can work hard for you behind the scenes so you can focus your energy and time where it matters most! Plus, the people who have already signed up or opted in will feel so cared for. This is how you bring people into your world and show them they’re not just another number, they’re an integral part of your business and community.
- Showcase key pieces or aspects of your offering to generate excitement. Use visuals like photos and videos to highlight what makes your product, service, or experience so unique. What high-quality materials do you use? What exactly will they do and achieve in your workshop? How has this service made a difference for your clients in the past?
1 Week Before Launch: The Call to Action
Don’t be afraid to sell. While you certainly want to give more than you take when it comes to content marketing, at the end of the day you are running a business! The good news is, when you’re sharing offers that you’re genuinely excited about and that are truly valuable, selling will never have to feel pushy or forceful.
- Send out emails and educate your audience with event details, store hours, or instructions for participation on your website. Don’t assume people know how or when to buy, join, or visit! Be as clear as possible and reduce or eliminate barriers whenever you can!
- Share testimonials or reviews from past customers or participants to build your credibility through social proof. People are way more likely to buy when they see that others have had positive, successful experiences with you and your brand. You can share feedback from past customers in the form of video interviews or showcase written reviews with a Canva design.
- Don’t shy away from the direct call to action – ask for sales, bookings, or ticket purchases. Your audience should never be left wondering what you want them to do. They’ve been on a 3-month-long journey with you and now is the time for them to make a decision!
Customize Your Approach
Remember, consistency is key, but so is diversity. As you move through this launch timeline, aim to play around with different formats for your posts. You can see how your audience responds to photos, videos, reels, stories, and other formats.
Not only does this allow you to gather data about what content your audience seems to prefer, but you can also connect with your ideal client in lots of different ways and appeal to the algorithm at the same time!
While it is important to sell at certain points when you prioritize storytelling, education, and connection over all else, you’ll build trust and your audience will be way more receptive to your offers when you are selling something!
Balance Storytelling & Sales
For creative entrepreneurs, social selling is an art that requires patience, strategy, and authenticity. A well-executed timeline and a variety of engaging content can transform your online presence into a powerful tool for sales success.
Most people aren’t on social media with the intention to buy. That’s why it’s so important that you gradually ramp up to the sale and focus on nurturing relationships and providing education along the way!
By building anticipation, fostering connection, and mastering the balance between storytelling and sales, you’ll position your business to thrive.
Imagery Brings it All to Life
If one of the things holding you back from promoting your new product, service, offer, or workshop is a lack of brand imagery, you’re in the right place.
As a Connecticut-based brand photographer and videographer, my goal is to capture imagery that helps you tell your story, stand out as a creative entrepreneur, and connect with your ideal audience.
Never scratch your head wondering what to post again!
Reach out today to schedule your free discovery call and see if working together could be a good fit!