When I started my business, I read countless articles about setting my website up, the type of content to post, the type of images to use to attract attention, and so on. In other words, I did my homework. But when it came to writing and marketing my website, I sat at my laptop and panicked.
In the end, I did it, but I didn’t really do it.
Let me explain.
Hiding in the Background
Have you ever watched a fashion show online? If so, did you notice the people running around in the background wearing headsets and clutching iPads? No? I didn’t think so. But they’re there; I know because I was one of them.
As a former PR Director for some pretty big designers, it was my job to do the work behind-the-scenes. So, I naturally feel comfortable back there. But guess what?
As an entrepreneur, I quickly realized that I would never thrive by staying in the background no matter how good my work is. I had to force myself to be out there. I had to believe that people wanted to get to know me to trust me enough to hire me.
Is that an aha moment for you? It was for me. But the realization transformed my business.
So, in this post, you’ll learn how to share your story by learning from my mistakes.
Commitment #1 – Showing Up on my website
I initially set up my site with my name in big, bold letters and my face prominently positioned on the homepage. I put in some marketing speak about how I wrote clear and concise content that converted. It wasn’t bad. But it was bland as hell. Even I was bored reading it.
Deep down, I knew what was missing. After all, I tell my client’s stories through words every day. I know how to tell a good story, but, for some reason, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. My website, a reflection of my writing abilities and services, was missing ME.
Yes, setting up an on-brand website was HARD, but what was even more challenging was recognizing and overcoming the very real fear of actually putting myself out there.
Once I got over that fear, I wrote myself into the story. And guess what happened?
I began to see higher engagement on my social channels, more likes on blog posts, increased subscribers, and eventually, work.
Fear is a natural part of the entrepreneurial journey. But by putting yourself front and centre, you will overcome that fear and find your community.
Do you know where your people spend their time online? Once you find out, tell your story there as well.
Commitment #2 – Showing up on social media
When I say social media channels, I’m referring to the ones I have chosen to use; namely, Instagram, Linked In and Pinterest. New and seasoned entrepreneurs feel the immense pressure to be on every social media platform, but being everywhere won’t necessarily move the needle in your business. Focus your efforts on genuinely connecting with people on the platform(s) that don’t stress you out!
Before I committed to being front and centre on these platforms, I posted my writing, repost inspiring quotes and other’s people’s content (yes, you read that right … hand to forehead), and just about everything BUT myself.
But as I started to divulge more of me – candid (unprofessional!) photos, personal anecdotes, interests, fears, etc., my engagement and following started to grow.
Crazy right? The power of the human connection, even through a screen, is incredible.
Slowly, as I started opening up in captions, people engaged with me through likes, DMs, and follows.
I began to build my small but engaged community by sharing with them and responding to their comments and questions.
So, try it out for yourself. Go to the Instagram account you use for your business (if you combine business and pleasure in one account, cool) and view it in the grid format. Do you show up in at least one of five photos? If not, start with that goal.
You will be amazed at how responsive people are when they feel connected to the person behind the company.
Commitment #3 – Showing up in their inbox
Does the idea of emailing a customer again cause you discomfort? There is a tendency among my clients to question the number of emails in a sales sequence or webinar show-up sequence, but the truth is, most people need to see a message many times before they act. We all lead busy lives, and many appreciate the reminder that a webinar is happening or a bonus is expiring.
This holds whether you are selling something or just looking to make a lasting impression with your audience. Consistently emailing your list is the best way to reach people who’ve already opted in to hear from you, whether through a lead magnet or a “subscribe here” button. You may be thinking, but what should I say?!
Always think about how you can add value to their lives, and that doesn’t mean you have to teach or create free offers every time you email them. We often forget that people are on the receiving end of the email, and people naturally want to connect. THat’s why email presents a great opportunity to tell stories, share experiences, and impart knowledge. The important thing is to show up consistently so they can get to know you.
I was so comfortable sitting at my computer planning, writing and reading. I’m a writer, after all! But I soon learned that if I want to write for clients, they need to know I exist. So don’t hide from your audience. Be bold and get out there to share your story – the more inspirational and educational, the better.
You’ll be surprised at the results.