Get More Engagement on Social Media
Hey hey! If you’re tired of posting on social media and getting crickets, this episode of The Brand Cure is for you! It’s all about boosting engagement and getting people to actually comment on your content instead just “liking” or scrolling past it.
You can catch it on iTunes or Google Play, or you can listen to it right here. Or, if your eyeballs really need some exercise, you can also read the edited transcript below. Enjoy!
ABBREVIATED/EDITED TRANSCRIPT BELOW
Today we're gonna be talking about boosting engagement on social media!
In addition to all of the introspection that goes into figuring out what kind of brand you want to build (like we discussed in Episode 1: What is a Brand?) you also want to be plugged in to what your audience is thinking, what they're feeling, what they're dealing with.
For so many of us as online entrepreneurs, social media is where that magic happens! So diving right in to social media will help stay grounded to the people that we’re here to serve.
Posting on social media and getting no response
If you've ever experienced working on a piece of content and putting it out in the world, and getting almost no response, or just not really getting the response you wanted… that can be really frustrating!
You’re missing a piece of the puzzle
You’re just missing a piece of the puzzle, and so the whole thing is just not working. It's like baking a cake, and you forget one critical ingredient, like flour, and you’re not really going to get a very good cake.
So what are the ingredients to a really active and engaged social media online presence? This is my patented formula - JK, it's not patented, it's just a formula! But this is how I make sure I’m cultivating an engaged audience, who knows that I'm there for them, and who wants to share their opinions and thoughts with me.
I've looked around a lot of the big names on social media and people who are really, really killing it, growing amazing followings, doing amazing things, and really really tuning into their audience, and I see them doing the exact same thing.
the V-I-P method to boosting social media engagement
So this is the formula that can really help you supercharge that social media engagement!
I call it the VIP method - and in my world, VIP stands for value, interest, personality.
Let’s check out each of these ingredients!
V for Value
Every little piece of content you're creating should be delivering value in some way, shape, or form.
Helping: Maybe you’re helping people get a better result in their life, or in their business. Maybe you’re helping them get around a big roadblock. Or helping them see things more clearly. Maybe you're helping them by giving them an actual tool, or resource, or freebie, that is going to get them a little bit closer to their goal, help them move the needle, and help them get a better result.
Inspiring: Maybe you’re inspiring people - lifting them up, and motivating them. Maybe that’s your jam, and you just love sharing content that fires people up, and gets them excited. Even if you’re just sharing something personal from your own life, maybe you are sharing about a rough week that you had, or a struggle that you're dealing with, maybe you're getting a little bit vulnerable - which we'll talk about in a few minutes - but even if you’re pulling back the curtain and showing people what's going on behind the scenes, you’re still doing that in the interest of delivering value. Maybe you’re encouraging your audience, or letting them know they’re not alone in something.
Entertaining: Maybe you’re entertaining people, maybe you brighten up people's day by sharing something with them that gives them a little boost of happiness, a little to light in their day, maybe you're helping them break out of the mundane routine of what they have to do, where they have to be,and who they have to help, and just giving them a little moment to themselves to enjoy being alive.
Whatever you're doing, first and foremost, make sure that you're delivering value, and make sure that you can define an articulate what that value is. Because you want to be known as someone who is helping your community get closer to what they want, or closer to who they want to be, or closer to how they want to live.
So here's an example of a brand doing a really good job right now, serving people inspiring people even with their marketing. And that is Nike! Nike’s doing an amazing job of inspiring people, and standing for something, and meaning something to people. Their message is: if you have a body, you’re an athlete.
So Nike is serving people, helping them believe in themselves.
Essentially, they’re repaying people for the time they’ve spent paying attention to a Nike ad. If you're paying attention to someone's ad, or to their content on social media, or you're watching their Facebook lives, or clicking on their stories on Instagram - you want to get some kind of value back in return. That’s just the nature of reciprocity - you're giving your time, and you want something in exchange. So people who tune into a Nike commercial get value out of it. They're getting inspiration, motivation. They're feeling a little bit more empowered.
So that is a great example of delivering value - even in your marketing dollars!
I for Interest
Make people feel seen, heard, and acknowledged. not only will you encourage them to engage with you - you’ll gain new insight into how best to serve them.
This is about showing interest in your audience, letting your audience know that you’re there for them, you're tuned into what they have to say, and you care about what's on their mind, and what is happening in their world.
This is really powerful, because we all want to feel heard, and seen. And we all want to know that the people that we are engaging with are listening, and are engaging back with us.
So what does this look like?
Asking questions and listening to the answers
Ask your audience for their opinions. What are they thinking, feeling, what are they dealing with, what's happening in their world right now? And learning as much as you can, and inviting them to share their opinions with you, and their experience.
Your brand is a two-way street - like a relationship! And a relationship goes both ways. If you’re not asking your partner, or your friend, or your family member, what's happening in their life, and what they're thinking and what they feel about things, that's not really a good two-way, mutually caring relationship.
And that's what you want for your brand - you want people to know you’re tuned into them, and you’re paying attention what they have to say, and you’re responsive to it. Not that you're going to sacrifice your values, your vision, or your purpose, for one person’s demands. But you are acknowledging people and showing them that you hear them.
Let me give you an example of someone who is doing this really, really well. Amanda Clare is the photographer behind PlushContentCo - you can find her on Instagram @plushcontentco. Amanda is just super engaging, and super accessible and friendly, in all of her social media engagement. She responds to every comment with a thoughtful answer, she just really creates an experience of talking to a friend, and feeling heard.
Responding to comments
I know, if you’re managing a growing social media presence, it's not always realistic to respond with a heartfelt, thoughtful comment to every single person. But it is a really great opportunity to let people know that you are listening, that you're engaged, that you care what they have to say.
Try to mirror what the other person is giving you, the energy that they're giving you. Try to match their level of enthusiasm. If they're leaving just an emoji thumbs-up as a comment, then you can respond with an emoji peace sign. That's totally fine! Or just a one-word or few-words response, like “thanks, glad you liked it!” And this is not about playing hard to get, or holding anything back from your audience. This is about mirroring, which is a social behavior of reflecting back to people what they're giving to you. It's a method of rapport-building.
So you can see a really good example of this when you're talking to someone that you really want to get to know better, or you want them to like you - subconsciously you start to mirror their body language, their tone of voice, their attitude about things, you tend to agree with them more often, because you are mirroring back to them as a method of rapport building.
And the same applies on social media, when someone is giving you energy, you want to reflect back that energy to them, to let them know that you are with them and on the same wavelength, on the same page.
If you’re still getting zero engagement...
On the other hand, maybe you have the opposite problem! Maybe you're not getting so many comments that you can't respond to them all - maybe you're literally getting no comments. Let's say that you're asking questions at the end of every single social media post, and nobody's answering.
This is my super-secret tip for getting people to answer questions:
Being the first person to answer.
I know this can seem sort of silly, or feel a little bit awkward, but it really does break the ice! If you're putting questions out there that you know are relevant to your audience, and they have opinions and experiences that are relevant, and you're not getting any answers, be the first to answer!
If someone scrolling through their feed and they see a question, they start formulating an answer… But if no one else has responded, they may just not be comfortable being the first to answer.
So it can feel a little awkward at first, but be the first to jump in, and you can even do this: ask your question in your post, and then say “I'll be the first to answer in the comments!” and just jump down to the comments and post your answer. And I promise it will spur engagement.
Above all, be your most gracious, generous, warm, and welcoming self that you can be. Let people know that you are appreciative of the time they took to comment.
Even if it's a slightly negative comment, just to try to be gracious, try to let them know you hear them, thank them for expressing their opinion… you don't have to go further than that, you don't really need to engage with like negativity. But just let people know that you hear them.
Engagement spurs engagement
As people see you engage, they're more likely to comment, because they know that you’re likely to respond. But if they know that they're gonna get crickets from you, then they're not as likely to comment on your social media. Brands and people who are responsive to comments get a lot more engagement.
And not only that - when you respond to someone, oftentimes they will respond back. So you post something, someone comments, you respond to the comment, and they'll like your response and comment back to you... and all that back-and-forth builds up your engagement on that post, and tells Facebook and Google and all whatever online platform you’re using: “Hey, this is content that's getting engagement.” And the more you engage on social media, the more those platforms are going to show your content in people's feeds.
Engaged businesses = better businesses
And here's the other cool thing about showing interest online: you learn what your audience is dealing with, and you learn what they're struggling with. You learn what they think, and you get to know them. And that makes it much more manageable to really build a brand that hits the right chord with them, and that is responsive to their needs, and that is really authentic to you and genuine to what you want to be building in the world.
Showing interest, getting people sharing what's on their minds with you, is just really really a vital way to collect intel to collect and insight about your audience, and make sure that you are able to deliver a better and better value through your content.
So it really comes full circle - you're sharing value, you're showing interest, and so that gets you feedback from people, and you hear their opinions, and that helps you deliver even better content next time.
I'd encourage you to actually keep a document on your desktop, on your computer, in your notes file, or wherever, to store insightful comments that people leave on your social media. Store things that make you stop and think, or that disrupt your expectations, or that give you language that your audience is using to talk about your industry, or the things that they're struggling with.
This is all part of the ongoing market research that you ideally should be doing for your business throughout the days, the weeks, the months, the years, to stay in touch and in tune with your audience.
So keep that document handy, so you can save those comments and reflect back on them when you need them, when it's time to write copy, or develop new content.
P for Personality
This is how you're doing things - the unique magic and that intangible quality that you bring into everything you do.
This is everything! how you do things > what you do
The real magic - the thing that people come back for - is not the information you are giving them. They come back for the way that you deliver it. For the feeling you give them, for your personality, and who you are. Once you have people engaging with you at the level that they start to trust you, and know you, and like you, that's what they come back for. So it's less about what you're doing, and more about how you're doing.
It's the unique way you approach the world, your vision for the world, your passion, what you care about, what you have to say, what your perspective is, what you believe in.
Those are the things that people really come back for, and that they connect with, and that makes you memorable.
Let me give you an example again. Marie Forleo is amazing at sharing her personality on her social media platforms, and in all of her content. She is funny, she is silly, she is playful, and that is true to who she is. And that really shines through in everything. So people start to feel like they really know her, and they really connected with her. And in some cases she's vulnerable, but in all ways, at all times, she is infusing the value that she's delivering with her unique personality.
So she's not just putting together a how-to guide and dropping it into the world. She's making sure that it reflects her brand, it reflects her personality, how she wants to be seen in the world - her energy, her vibe.
And that is what you want to do. That is really where you can build that deeper connection with your audience, and with the people that you want to serve.
Introverts, this applies to you too!
Let me speak to the listener who is, like me,an introvert. I know it's not always easy, doesn't always come naturally, to really open up in a big way online. Maybe it takes a little more time to warm up and really open up to people. And that is okay!
When I arrive at a party, and I don't know anyone, or maybe I'm just a little bit nervous, it takes me a little bit of time to feel comfortable. I have to survey the room, get the lay of the land, see who is there, how they're interacting, what they’re talking about, what the general energy is… And it takes me a little bit of time to start feeling comfortable with opening up, and sharing more of who I am.
And if that sounds like you, that is okay, I promise you, that if you keep sharing, and you keep showing up, and you keep delivering value, and showing interest in your audience, and sharing it with as much of your personality as you're comfortable with, it will get easier to open up more and more. And you'll find new ways to be vulnerable, and to be honest and real with people.
People crave connection
Your audience isn’t just looking for your expertise or your information, or all the great knowledge up in your head. They want a connection with you. They want to know that you are part of their world.
People want to relate to connect with people, not brands.
That may sound a little counterintuitive on a branding podcast, but it’s true! The magic happens when you share who you are with your audience.
I want to point you to Amy Porterfield, one of my heroes in the online marketing space. Recently she did a podcast where she really opened up, and she was vulnerable about a struggle that she’s been having. And it really struck a chord with a lot of people, including myself, and it really was a moment of pulling back the curtain, like I said, and sharing what was happening behind the scenes. Sharing what she was personally struggling with. And that is so powerful.
Share in a way that gives value
I'm not saying that you need to share every little thing about what's going on, or what's going wrong in your life. I’m not saying that you need to air out all your dirty laundry online, or share things you're uncomfortable with.
But it all goes back to the value portion of the formula. You share things that are vulnerable, and you share things that you know maybe a little uncomfortable, in the interest of delivering value. In the interest of serving your audience.
And that feels so much better than just being vulnerable for the sake of being vulnerable. Tying it into a story or a message for your audience. If you're choosing to be vulnerable in your content, then let people know what the takeaway is - how they can apply what you've learned, or how you’re trying to see things, to their own life.
Maybe you just want them to feel less alone, and that's great! It is really powerful to make people feel a little less alone in this online world. So find ways to share your personality that you're comfortable with, and do it in a way that delivers value to your audience.
So to recap, my VIP Formula is:
always deliver Value.
always show Interest.
always share your Personality.
If you apply this formula, I promise that you will see the needle move in your social media.
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Thank you so much for listening to the Brand Cure! This is Ashley Chymiy, reminding you that you - yes, you! - have something special to share with the rest of us, and the world is waiting for you. I’ll see you next time!