Last December, specifically on Friday, December 28th, I shared a LinkedIn post that, in three weeks, was viewed 34,130 times, scored 98 likes, and generated 16 comments. And I received more than 400 emails as a result of this post. What did I do to achieve such results?

How a single post, shared on a Friday (which is, statistically speaking, one of the worst days to post a message in social media), and in the middle of the holiday season, was so popular and generated so many reactions?

This month, I’m dissecting everything for you. But before I start, I must admit that I did not spend hours writing this post hoping to have such results. In fact, I was as surprised as you were with the success of my message – but that stays between you and me 😉

That said, with hindsight, I spotted four key elements that made this post almost viral. Those are:

  1. The hook
  2. The problem
  3. The solution
  4. The outcome

While doing some research, it found out that these are the key elements of storytelling: these are the basis of any story, any film, and successful book.

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1. The hook

The hook is a small, intriguing sentence that opens the door of a story in the reader’s imagination. He said to himself, “Wow, what’s going to happen? Or “Me too, I want to get that outcome.”

I started my post with two of social proof messages:

Social proof is one of the most powerful things in marketing. For example, when Amazon started publishing customer testimonials on its site, sales exploded. The human, or rather the human brain, looks for evidence to reassure itself (we could devote a whole article to the social proof – if you are interested in this subject, let me know).

Another good hook could have been to start my post with questions. I could have asked, “How to stand out from your clients while you’re on vacation? ” or ” Tired of being like everyone else? ”

I could have also started my post with a strong positioning, like: “It’s time to get out of the box! or “You will not be successful in being like everyone else! ”

The idea behind the hook is to write one or two sentences that pull in the reader and lead them to want to know the rest of the story: this is the most important part.

If the hook doesn’t attract people’s interest, the story just ended and they will not pay attention to the rest of the message.

2. The Problem

Here, I’m talking about the problem my readers, who are entrepreneurs, are actually living. I tell them that one thing they’re doing right now (because on December 28th, many have an active out-of-office message) can hurt their image as an entrepreneur. Of course, no entrepreneur wants that!

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3. The Solution

At this stage, I’m helping the reader to consider a solution to the problem presented (get out of the traditional message). Then, I specify the solution for them (be creative, let your personality shine) and why they must adopt it (clients are buying YOU!!).

4. The Outcome

In addition to giving them the solution, I indicate the outcome – in this case, an example of my out-of-office message (hence the 400 emails I received).

Sharing statistics is another good way to communicate results. For example, you may have seen the commercial where QuickBooks says that by using its products, entrepreneurs save an average of 37 hours per month in their billing task. Another example is Weight Watchers, which indicates that such a customer has lost so many pounds and is happier.

Communicating outcomes allows the reader to imagine themselves in the story, to believe that it is possible to get the same results and to see the transformation that they could bring in their life.

The hook, the problem, the solution, and the outcome: in addition to following these four stages of storytelling, I have included in my post a casual picture photo of me – where I do not take myself too seriously (because I really don’t!)

Furthermore, I spoke from my heart. My post was a reflection of my brand: I help people think (and go) out-of-the-box, to truly be themselves while having a human approach, simple and focused on the joy of living.

I would have said the same thing by posting a post: “You must have a different and personalized out-of-office message.” However, the message would definitely not have been received in the same way.

Proof that everything can be said, it’s how we say it that make all the difference.

Now, it’s your turn. Let your personality shine and get out of the box!

Sara Gilbert


P.S. When you’re ready, here are some ways I can help you design your success

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…l’importance des mots et leur impact en affaires…

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