It doesn’t take a degree in marketing or social media management to produce valuable content on social media. It simply takes an understanding of what people want and need. As a business or ministry, your goal is to serve your customers well by providing a product or service that ultimately offers them a solution. So how do you communicate that through social media without directly selling and then pushing your ideal customers further away? Use this checklist inspired by Hilary Rushford, personal stylist and business coach, while creating your social media content to ensure that it always provides value for those following you. Hopefully they won’t just be your followers for long!

1. Educate.

What can you teach that is related directly to your field? People love to learn something new that will improve their quality of life! For example, let’s say you sell beautifully designed planners. A follower might appreciate you sharing your top tips on how you stay organized. Don’t get caught up in feeling like it has to be mind blowing or something that has never been taught before. People will appreciate your unique spin on it and it will build your credibility and trust with your followers.

2. Inspire.

Simply, how do you brighten your followers’ day? There is so much negativity floating around social media these days, people truly appreciate things that are lovely, happy, or encouraging. So let’s say you are a fashion consultant and you ultimately want to build your clientele. Post a pretty picture of your bright pink pumps and encourage your followers to jump outside their comfort zone. Use an encouraging quote to remind your followers that they are truly beautiful regardless of what they wear! This is a wonderful opportunity to share your heart & personality in a way that uplifts others.

3. Share the Process.

While Instagram is a visual brand, your “online magazine” so to say, people love to get an inside look at what goes on behind the scenes too! Let’s say you’re a fitness Coach and you post beautiful pictures of food to give your followers healthy recipes ideas (another great way to educate like mentioned in #1). Your followers are used to seeing the polished, finished product, but sharing the messy spoons and spilled milk that had to happen to create the finished product helps keep you relatable to your future clients. They respect your authority, but they no longer have the false allusion that you are perfect.

4. Create community.

This is an important aspect to any business, whether brick & mortar or online. People love to be a part of something greater than themselves. Do they know what you have to offer beyond your Instagram account? Is there a clear way for them to get connected? It could be as simple as sharing a live event or webcast you’re hosting or re-posting a photo from one of your customers. Even if the service you’re offering is not relationship focused with membership, small group, 1-on-1 consulting, etc., there is still community to be built around any product. Take for example, Lara Casey with @laracaseyshop. She sells beautiful products such as her goal planner Power Sheets. While you may not be technically joining a community when you buy her Power Sheets, you feel that you have, in a sense, become a part of of lovely, organized, happy, driven group of women.

So now it’s time to get brainstorming! Pull out a sheet of paper and jot down as many ideas as you can for each of these categories as it relates to the brand of your ministry or business. See? When we break it down, Instagram, or any social media platform for that matter, doesn’t have to be as overwhelming as we think. You have valuable content to offer that’s special to you, don’t stray from it.

Suzy Collins

Creative Director & Ambassador of Buzz

Stay tuned for more info on Suzy’s iPhonography 101 course, coming this August!