@PrimalBites Talks About Her "Pivotal Post"
What was that one post that changed everything? The post that marked a new chapter in your story, and taught you something about yourself and your work? Perhaps the post that garnered more attention than ever before, or went viral, or got picked up by a huge publication, or just simply changed the way you approached content creation? We’re asking creators to share stories about their most pivotal posts to date. First up, from our very own Sarah Al-Khayyal of @Primalbites.
Have you ever posted something on social media that made you feel extremely vulnerable? Something that you had a hard time vocalizing for a very long time, but finally decided to air it out just so it wouldn’t be weighing you down anymore, so it didn’t have to be a secret you kept with yourself anymore?
When you have a large following on one or more social channels, the thought of sharing some intimate part of you with your followers seems like a horrible, daunting, and potentially traumatizing idea. But what if making yourself vulnerable is just what you need to build a more loyal and engaged audience?
There’s no use beating around the bush: social media is saturated. We’re swamped with content. There’s a lot of distasteful content but there’s also a lot of incredible content, and it’s becoming harder to stand out and foster an engaged following. A lot of people in the influencer space are doing the exact same thing, and in a lot of cases personal brands lack depth. Generally, influencers post aesthetic and curated images of their lives, raving about the fun things they did this weekend or the new product that they like. It’s less common to see someone be real and talk about that hard stuff. The down days, the failures, the struggles that they’re currently facing, the struggles that they’ve faced in the past, their personal flaws, etc. Whatever it is, no one wants to talk about it.
And maybe you don’t want to either, but it can be one of the most rewarding things you could possibly do. Something as simple as posting a photo of your stretch marks can make waves, or in my case, opening up about my past eating disorder.
“How to Break Free From a Binge Eating Disorder” was my most pivotal post; it changed the way I thought about content creation and gave me the courage to be more real with my audience. Up until that point, I was just like any other health food blogger sharing recipes and silly anecdotes from my everyday life. My audience connected with me solely based on our shared love for food and health, because I didn’t give them anything else to connect with. As soon as I stepped out of my comfort zone and revealed another layer of depth to my existence, it was a reminder to everyone that there was a real human behind all of the food photographs.
This may not be the case for everyone who opens up about the more intimate details of their lives, but here are four (awesome) things that I experienced when I leveled up from authenticity and transparency, and ventured into the realm of vulnerability.
1. Engagement went through the roof.
This post is still my all-time most successful Facebook post, with 5x my average reach (totally organic) and over 10x my average post click rate. That’s nuts. The numbers speak for themselves.
2. Pre-existing friendships were strengthened.
A lot of friends and acquaintances reached out to me directly via text or Facebook chat to tell me that my story resonated with them. So not only did this pivotal post add depth to my connection with my followers, but it also strengthened relationships with people I knew personally.
3. I diversified my audience and content.
Before this, I had siloed myself as a content creator. I was posting photos of my meals on Instagram and original recipes on my blog with brief surface-level musings about my life. I realized that I had a much larger story to tell that a broader audience could connect with--not just the mega-foodies and health-freaks, but also anyone who had experienced was experiencing disordered eating habits, clinical eating disorders, body dysmorphia, or other body image struggles. Moving forward this also gave me the confidence to start blogging about my other experiences and interests.
4. Inbound leads were generated.
Other than my Kind Bar 2.0 recipe that went semi-Pinterest-viral, this post generated more inbound leads for features and collaborations than any of my other content ever had. Brands and other content creators recognized the cojones it took to share something that personal with thousands of internet-strangers, and as a result decided that they wanted to work with me.
It should be pretty obvious by now that there are numerous personal and professional rewards to be reaped from being real on social media. You have a platform on which you’re granted the privilege of telling your story--how you choose to use this privilege says a lot about you. Going beyond the surface level can be scary, but it can also be oh so worth it.
Creative Community Developer at Snapfluence.
I'm the Oxford comma's biggest fan.