Episode 36 – Get huge engagement on social media using grenade posts with Janet Murray
Over the past five years Janet has built a successful blog, podcast, email list and a large social media following. She’s also been featured in dozens of national newspapers and magazines, and on radio and TV (and written a book to help other people do the same) and spoken at high-profile events – both in the UK and abroad. This has helped her build a six figure business with multiple streams of income.
Now Janet uses her experience to help small business owners like you get better at marketing so you can make money – primarily through her membership community. You can also hire her as a consultant, media trainer and a speaker.
Janet’s One Hot Thing…
- The ‘Grenade Post’ – This is where you quite deliberately go onto social media and post about a topic that you know will divide people. You know it’ll get people talking, get conversation going, and will probably have people arguing in the comments below the post!
Connect with Janet
Do you struggle to get social media engagement? This interview with Janet Murray’s for you!
In it, she talks about a hack she doesn’t recommend people do every day but it’s a really useful way to get engagement on your content. It’s a type of post that she calls the ‘grenade post’.
When it comes to getting social media engagement, lots of people struggle with what to post. Janet creates a lot of social media content which she categorises, such as, the Review Post, or the Gratitude Post. But one of her favourites is the Grenade Post!
What is the grenade post?
The idea is, you quite deliberately go onto social media and post about a topic that you know will divide people. You know it’ll get people talking, get conversation going, and will probably have people arguing in the comments below the post!
How does the grenade post increase social media engagement?
People don’t want to do business with logos or brands, they want to do business with people and personalities. Janet’s 18 years as a journalist and editor for national newspapers has shown her that people don’t want to deal with people who sit on the fence, they want strong opinions.
So getting onto social media and sharing something that really gets on your nerves or something you’ve seen that you don’t like can be a great way to get social media engagement.
Here’s some examples…
Because Janet’s spoken on big stages she often gets asked how she’s done it. The answer is she didn’t get these speaking gigs by pitching event organisers mercilessly, she did it through creating engaging content and building relationships over time.
So, she started running a speaker mastermind, a one day masterclass on how to get booked to speak on big stages, for people who are already speaking but want to ramp things up.
As part of her marketing for that, Janet created a few grenade posts. One was based around the fact that whenever she speaks at events, people come up to her and comment on her clothes, sometimes ask her where her shoes are from, etc.
So, when she spoke at the Youpreneur summit she created a post about what she should wear on stage. She had genuinely bought two dresses, one blue and one pink. She couldn’t decide which to wear so took a picture of herself in both and asked her audience which they thought she should wear.
This was her most popular social media post, EVER. It shows that people are interested in talking about clothes and emphasises something Janet really believes in strongly, which is that looks matter.
She knows not everyone agrees on this… It’s not about being good looking but being realistic about the fact that people judge on appearance. Even if you think that’s a bad thing, we’re all doing it to people all the time.
So appearance really does matter when you’re a speaker. Janet often sees people who are really great speakers but aren’t getting the chances because they just look scruffy or there’s something a bit ‘off’ about their image – it often runs right across their personal branding, website and social media.
Janet’s post to this effect on LinkedIn got a huge amount of engagement. Many disagreed and assumed she was talking about women (she never said women and has men and women at the masterclasses). It divided people and sparked a huge reaction resulting in hundreds of comments on the post.
Attract the right people and repel the wrong ones
What some people fear about this kind of post is that people will say, “I don’t like Janet, I’m not going to book on her masterclass.” But, actually, that’s fine. Taking the example above about the speaking masterclass with the personal stylist. If someone turns up to it wearing gardening shoes, she needs to be able to feed back to them that it would be best to ditch the gardening shoes and find a style that’s more on brand.
If they’re offended by her post on the topic of personal styling for speaking gigs, chances are they’re not going to be a good fit at the masterclass and probably won’t have a great experience because they don’t share the same values.
So that kind of post is useful too… it repels the wrong clients and attracts the right ones. Attract like minded people towards you and the people you’d quite like to work with.
The masterclasses are quite an investment so Janet doesn’t want the wrong people there.
What to do if you feel nervous about creating grenade posts
Here’s a couple of tricks:
1. Start small
Start with something simple that you have experience of dealing with. Something simple such as when you go to an event as a delegate, do you expect the tea and coffee to be provided? People aren’t likely to fall out over this, just have a difference of opinion.
Do it incrementally and you’ll find you start to get a bit braver and more used to not taking it personally when people don’t agree with you.
2. Don’t take it personally
People will argue with you a bit. In the end Janet sometimes says, “We’re just not going to agree on this, thanks for your comments, lets agree to disagree”
80% of the time Janet doesn’t say, “This is what I think”. Instead she’ll say something like, “Can you help me get my head around this, what’s the right way to think about it? I can’t decide” She turns it round back on to her audience.
The grenade goes off in the comments! This way you don’t have to say what you think, you just open it up for debate.
Which platform is most effective for grenade posts?
They work particularly well on LinkedIn but Janet has also used them to some success on Facebook.
On platforms like Instagram, people don’t tend to argue, people are more supportive so they’re not likely to work as well on there.
Should you use a strategy?
Content strategy is the core of Janet’s business and the driver behind the 2019 Media Diary. She’s always encouraging people to do annual, quarterly, weekly and daily planning and think about campaigns.
When planning out her content she always ties things to certain campaigns within her business and external events within her industry as a whole.
There’s definitely room to test things out a bit more randomly too, just as and when things seem relevant to you and your business.
What not to do
When responding, Janet’s always careful to be respectful of people’s opinions. She also avoids calling out other businesses and getting onto such topics as Brexit or religion, mainly because there can never be an end to these types of posts. They’re just too emotive.
Avoid posting something someone might read and think it’s about them. When you’re in business people can think something’s about them, even if it’s not. We’ve all got to look after each other.
What are people really interested in?
Janet’s experience with grenade posts over the years has shown that the things you talk to your friends about and what you talk about down the pub is the kind of thing people are actually interested in talking about on social media too.
So, are you going to have some fun with grenade posts? Has this inspired you to share your own opinions with your audience? Let me know below!