The #1 Social Media Rule

Do you remember the very first sentence in Rick Warren’s perennial bestseller The Purpose Driven Life? Jot this one down. It’s not about you. That’s how he started his book to help all of us to discover our purpose. And when it comes to social media, guess what? It’s still not about you.

When we start out as authors and speakers, we tend to want to use social media to generate social proof. Meaning, we tell everyone where we are speaking, awards we are winning, and sharing our pithy writing on their feeds. We want everyone to know that we’re actually writing and speaking, and doing the thing God called us to—for real! And while people celebrate our achievements, eventually they’ll get tired of us telling them about the amazing life we are living as we chase our dream.

As writers and speakers our true social proof involves serving our audiences well. We make the content about them. Not about us. Does that mean we can’t share our successes or the stages we stood upon? No, it means we do it in a way that says, “Do you experience this need? Do you struggle with this emotion? This was my recent experience, and this is what God did. And He can do the same for you.” I have now made it about the person reading my social media post.

I will prove the difference to you. I recently shared the exact same graphic twice on my Facebook Author page from my latest devotional on the First 5 app with Proverbs 31 Ministries. The first post began, “A new opportunity for me…” Who is the post about? Me. And it received 12 likes and 2 comments. 

I then posted the exact same graphic and started with, “Anyone else out there struggle with complaining or comparing?” It received 215 likes, 17 comments and 10 shares. Same graphic on the same platform. Why did the second one receive so much engagement? Because it was about the reader. I invited them into a common shared struggle.

If you see your engagement lessening, try starting your posts by communicating these sentiments to your reader:

  • I understand how you feel.
  • I empathize with your need.
  • I share the same struggle.
  • Here’s one thing I’ve learned on my journey; I hope it encourages you.
  • Here’s something God recently taught me in a difficult time.

Want further proof it’s not about you? Go through our Speak Up Rocks Conference Group on Facebook and note which posts get the most likes. You’ll immediately notice a post by Kennita Williams received enthusiastic engagement. She started with, “Hey friends, can I encourage you for a moment?” She made the post about us. Not about her at all. And we loved it. 

Follow the number one rule: It’s not about you. Serve your reader by making the post about them and you’ll notice how readily they are willing to engage with you. And when people are reading your words and responding to what you have to say, there’s social proof that you are indeed a writer and a speaker.

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  1. Jeanette Levellie on 2022-10-18 at 3:56 PM

    Thank you SO much for this post, Erica. I’ve often struggled with the juxtaposition of Jesus’s command to serve others and the publishing industry’s push to build our platform. The ideas you set forth here are the perfect solution! A++!

  2. Jackie Hayden on 2022-10-14 at 12:05 AM

    Thank you so much for this reminder. I am a Pastor’s wife and started speaking out side of my church. I am guilty of what I share is about me and want so much to connect with my person that needs to hear this message. Thank you for the reminder that It is Not about me.
    Maybe I can attend Speak Up sometime

  3. Gloria V Davies on 2022-10-04 at 12:59 PM

    Great advice to remember! We do want to engage with the reader and glorify the One we serve with our words!

  4. Carol Kent on 2022-10-04 at 12:55 PM

    Erica, thank you for this excellent blog. It’s so important that the ministry we do is not about “us,” but that it uplifts, challenges, and encourages our listeners and our readers–and that it always points them to Him!

  5. Lisa Saruga on 2022-10-04 at 11:07 AM

    What a great reminder! It is easy to lose sight of our audience as we are working through the nuts and bolts of ministry. Your timing was perfect and the message was inspired. Thank you so much.

  6. Kim on 2022-10-04 at 6:50 AM

    I love this ❤️. I always feel so sick when I post a self promoting thread. I have mostly given up on social media because I dont like the thought of being all about me. This is a wonderful reminder that our work is all about God, not ourselves, and that social media can benefit others, when our focus is on the audience. Thank you.

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