We believe your goal on social media is to get potential clients off social media.

You already know it can be tough to pry a person from Instagram or Facebook. Great content flows into feeds in a deluge, and most platforms are designed to keep people scrolling through it. They’re like trains that travel at high speed and rarely stop. Viewers might throw a wave at a few people whizzing by outside the train, but they rarely get off to talk.

We have two strategies to get people to hop off the train and talk to you: E-brakes and daisy chains. The first generates instant action, while the second is a longer game. We’ll cover E-brakes in this post and link to another about daisy chains at the end.

Stop Now!

E-brakes are individual posts that immediately draw attention and spur potential clients to action. They’re always tied to amazing content of some kind: An immediately compelling photo, a video that hits like a punch in the stomach, a caption that serves up exactly what people need to hear.

Don’t confuse E-brakes with clickbait. We apply the term “clickbait” to dishonest posts that don’t deliver on their promises or hide sort-of relevant info behind all sorts of advertising. Clickbait is like a kid who pops a paper bag in a movie theater and then runs away. No one likes that kid.

We don’t use the term “clickbait” when a clever post is designed to draw a person off a platform and deliver on its promises.

You’ve no doubt seen—and likely clicked on—a variation of this: “You’ll never believe what he/she looks like now!” Such posts are inevitably linked to a page full of pop-ups and ads, and you usually have to click at least once more to get the payoff—which is often very weak. In the worst cases, the payoff never comes. Clickbait is generally designed to drive traffic to sites that rely on views to sell ads. They are the kids with paper bags, and they offer almost nothing in return for your clicks.

Compare manipulative, sensationalist posts with clever, genuine content that interests viewers, solves problems and delivers on promises. These posts are the equivalent of a great newspaper headline that causes you to read an informative story about a subject that interests you.

An example: One of our clients had competed in every single CrossFit Games Open since inception. When she put up a teaser video in 2019 with the caption “why I’m not doing the Open this year,” many people clicked off Instagram to get to the full story on YouTube. The Instagram video was edited to give viewers a few details but not the whole story—which was unsuited to a 30-second video anyway. The full video on YouTube delivered on the post’s promise, and no one left feeling ripped off. They got the answer they wanted.

Help Your Potential Clients

The key to E-brakes: Use expertise to present something your ideal clients want to know about. The part about ideal clients is key. You shouldn’t try to get everyone to click on everything with sensationalist posts—don’t pop paper bags in movie theaters for no reason. You want to use social media tell specific viewers how your products or services can solve their problems or satisfy their needs and desires.

Here’s an example of a bad post by a dentist: “You’ll never believe what I pulled out of his teeth!”

That’s just going to attract viewers who want to see something weird. They aren’t looking for a good dentist.

Compare that clickbait with this targeted post: “Toothache? Sometimes a salt-water rinse can reduce pain if you can’t visit us right away. Click here to see other home remedies that might help you right now.”

That post targets people who have an immediate problem, and it gives them a way to solve their problem. It’s helpful. The link off social media should deliver the clicker to a page that explains the most common cause of toothaches and how a person might reduce pain right away. You can see how a person in pain would be grateful for the info and far more likely to contact that dentist to solve the problem completely—especially if the page contains a link to a calendar with open appointments.

Do This Today

Here’s your E-brake exercise: Pick a subject that interests you personally but doesn’t involve your business—photography, fitness, gardening, fashion, etc. Enter that word or variations such as #photographyTips into Instagram’s hashtag search, then start scrolling though posts. As you scroll, make note of the characteristics that make posts unappealing: blurry photos, bad captions, and so on. Keep scrolling until a post makes you want to click off social media. It might take a some time.

When you find something that makes you want to click out of Instagram, make note of it and ask a question: How can I do something similar with my business?

Here’s a good E-brake I found in the photography hashtag but didn’t pull because I’m not going anywhere soon: “Planning a trip? Check out our travel tips blog!” I was the wrong person, but I might have clicked the post if I were planning a trip. 

I scrolled through #photographytips and pulled the E-brake when I hit a post that said something like this: “Visit my website for the behind-the-scenes video of this photo shoot.” I wanted to learn how to take similar photos, and I clicked out of Instagram immediately to see how the photos were taken.

I jumped off again when I hit something like this: “Got questions about photography? Join our private Facebook group to find answers from the pros in our community.” I wanted to see what that group was all about.

Going back to dentistry, consider this one: “Thinking about whitening your teeth? Check out our website for 40 before and after photos.”

Grocers: “We have fresh avocados! Visit our site for 10 more keto-friendly products.”

Hairstylists: “Charcoal pink and smoky mink are hot colors for 2019! Check out our gallery to see these colors on our clients.”

In most cases, you’ll find that E-brakes are related to two things: desires/needs and problem solving.

So what do you offer that your ideas clients want or need? Or how can you solve problems for them?

Answer those questions and you’ll do something momentous: Get people off social media.