The Most Important Element of a Social Media Post

Be honest.

How many times have you posted a selfie on social media? What about pictures of your business, your employees, or even your products?

If you said none, you can leave now. We all know you’re lying :-).

That's what you're supposed to do, right?

Constantly post pics and text revealing new features for your latest product release. Letting the world know you have new office space. Sharing a press release your company just wrote.


I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but it’s time for a little tough love. Tough love is because I want your business to succeed.

I want you to stop wasting time on social media. I want every post you write, every image you post, and every advertisement you pay for to generate massive returns. Whether it’s likes, shares or honest-to-goodness top-line revenue, I want your social media marketing strategy to succeed. Wildly.

And the fact of the matter is, if you are posting pics of yourself, your business, your employees, your news, and otherwise just talking about yourself on social media, your posts are falling on deaf ears.

Why Your Social Posts are Falling on Deaf Ears Today

It’s easy to post social media messages and images nobody will care about. We do it every day.

  • Look at what my son did!
  • We just ate at this amazing restaurant.
  • I bought a Grande latte, but they only filled it to tall.
  • We are excited to release this new product.

Me, me, me.

Blah, blah, blah.

Now, I am certain your family and friends love these posts. They care about what you do, where you go, and who you meet. But that’s because they care about you. They have to. They should. They’re your friends! Your family!!

But that random person scrolling through their news feed who you’d love to be your customer? They don’t give a $#!&.

At least not yet.

Your social media posts are falling on deaf ears today because there are millions of posts just like yours populating the interwebs every damn second. Everyone (and I literally do mean everyone) is trying to sell something. It might be a product, or it might be a laugh. Whatever it is, it's competing for your customers' attention…and you will lose.

Because your social media posts are missing one critical, absolutely essential element...

Your Social Media Posts Need Purpose... Desperately

I’ve written about business purpose before, and that’s because it should inform everything you do. Purpose guides your strategy, your leadership, your hiring, and yes, your marketing and sales.

And when it comes to social media marketing, unless you are in the business of showing off how cool your company looks, or what your product does, your social media posts MUST have a purpose as well.

Here’s a helpful exercise for you to do right now. It will take less than 60 seconds.

  1. Go to your favorite social media platform and pluck out a post you hoped would do well but didn’t.
  2. Remind yourself of what the post was about and what you expected out of it.
  3. Now, ask yourself, what was this posts purpose? Was it to generate sales? Was it to get shared on other people’s timelines? Was it to drive website traffic? What was it?
  4. Now, with that purpose in mind, ask yourself why anyone would take the action you wanted them to take given what you posted?

It might be shocking to realize, but many posts you create have big hopes and dreams but will never realize them because they don’t align with their original purpose.

Here’s a great example (that I should be embarrassed to share, but will share anyway):


That’s it. That’s what I posted.

What I wanted to happen was a flood of visitors to come rushing to my article who would be so inspired by its contents, they would buy my Project Management Course. Here’s what happened instead…


Nothing happened at all. Not a single like, share. Not even a single click.

Why? It’s easy to see when going through the exercise above. Here’s a post whose purpose is to generate web traffic with no picture, no meaningful text, and a strange web link that looks like it might lead to a scam on the dark web.

I mean, really. “Deliver on your promises… Turn ideas into reality?” What the hell does this even mean?

It’s not clear why anyone would click. It’s not clear what anyone would achieve by clicking. And so, it was lost in the noise, dutifully ignored by literally everyone that wandered by. Just look at the stats:


Of everyone on Twitter scrolling by—516 people to be exact—not a single person clicked, liked, shared, or did anything with that post.

Contrast it to this one:


Okay, now this is more interesting. It’s not the best, but it does a few things right:

  1. It has a purpose… to get web traffic.
  2. It recruits an interested party (@ghergich) to help share or like it.
  3. It has an interesting image that causes you to pause and read. When you read it, you either identify with it or you don’t. And if you identify with it, you are more likely to read the text itself, like, or share.
  4. Its text says what the post is about; an infographic on social media marketing practices.
  5. Its text uses some basic copywriting techniques to generate interest. “In case you missed it,” and “you need to know” are two phrases that arouse the fear-of-missing-out-syndrome.
  6. I hash tagged the hell out of it. Anyone interested in social media marketing, startups, small business, or content marketing will have a chance at seeing this scroll through their Twitter feed.

As such, this tweet performed far better than the first one. Here are the results:

Over 1,500 impressions… 3x more than the first tweet. Most of that coming from the 6 shares and 4 likes. Not a blockbuster post by any means, but it goes to show how spending a little time aligning your purpose with your message can take you from zero to something.

This is a post I could re-run. This is a post I could promote and expect to get a great ROI.

The Elements of a Powerful Social Media Post

I think we've all wasted more time on social media than we'd care to admit. It's likely we'll waste more. And that's OK. But let's limit the time wasted and increase our time well-spent by following a few guidelines. These guidelines should help us create powerful social media posts that move customers to action:

  1. Have a clear purpose in mind when creating your next social media message. Write it down if you have to.
  2. Grab your customers attention with a profound statement, enticing picture, shocking statistic, or intriguing question.
  3. Write a short, to the point message that aligns with your purpose. Remember, nobody cares about you, your new product, etc. They care about themselves. So make your post about them! Ask how you are helping them, making their lives easier, adding joy to their day, or otherwise getting them closer to their hopes and dreams.
  4. Add a link.
  5. Add a few relevant hashtags.
  6. Is there anyone you can mention? If so, do it. They just might help by sharing.
  7. Edit, edit, and edit again. Remove unnecessary words, get to the point, and make sure every last letter aligns with your purpose.

Do these things, and you could see a 3x increase in your social media engagement, just like I did.

They key is to try these ideas out now. Don't wait. While it's fresh in your mind, share your next greatest post on your favorite social media platform and let me know how it goes in the comments below!

About the Author

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Michael Mehlberg


Mike Mehlberg helps entrepreneurs and business owners develop a clear and focused strategy to stand out in their market, outsmart their competition, and achieve maximum sales impact. Grab his free 3-Step Strategic Planning Worksheet to grow your business with purpose and speed.