A No-Pressure Boost To Social Media Engagement

Megan Bales
Oct 4, 2019 · 11 min read

Reach, Serve, Repeat.

Pixabay, Pexels.com

Billions of users are inundated with information. Unfortunately, that makes your work speak for itself much less. It’s critical to know the best strategies to start reaching the people you’re trying to serve, because the sustainability of your business rests on how many lives you’ve changed.

That starts with reaching them where they’re at. One of those places is social media. After all, you can’t serve them if you can’t first reach them.

If you’ve felt like social media was the biggest headache in your business, right next to taxes, you wouldn’t be alone.

This post will help you target the right audience to find greater success on social, without spending eons in front of your screen.

The good news?

You don’t have to throw out all your ideas. A few tweaks to your strategy can highlight the customer and what you can solve for them.

That should take a weight off your shoulders, so you don’t feel like everything has to happen all at once. These easy-to-implement tips will add up like compound interest for your copy strategy.

How Can Social Media Look So Easy?

How can social media look so easy to some when it’s so hard for others? That frustration is true of anything when you’re in the middle of it.

There’s a lot you can do to ensure your business becomes the masterpiece that you’ve envisioned. And you’re not powerless in aligning your expectations and needs. One step backward is pretty enlightening, but, it means detaching from the cycle of busy to start with a new perspective.

I don’t know about you, but I’m glad for a little fresh air.

What Does It Mean To Build An Online Presence?

You don’t need to be everywhere, but where you are, be present. Creating an online presence for your business requires intentionality and consistency; two things that help build relationships with others.

Three things you can do to start building your online presence is…

Countless distractions means you must reassure visitors they are in the right place.

Any any given point, you can expect questions like, “why should I care?”

Seeking to understand the experiential, emotional aspect of the buyer’s journey builds follow through, because it takes many times to persuade and motivate action.

Why Is No One Interacting With My Posts?

So, if you’re feeling frustrated because no one is responding to your posts, you’re not alone. If you’ve interacted in facebook groups, collaborated in pinterest group boards, used key instagram hashtags, and talked to fellow entrepreneurs and still nothing is working, go back to your unique selling proposition.

What do you have to offer to customers that’s different than others in your industry? Why is this message coming from you, and why did you choose to use your voice on this platform? How can you use what’s different about you and your story to help others solve a problem? And are you even talking to the right person to begin with?

Is It About Time Investment?

If going back to the basics doesn’t help, try approaching it through a more logical, time management lens.

If you’re thinking, “I’m already spending way too much time on social media,” I have a couple ideas I want to run by you.

Sometimes, when the situation can’t change, your perspective can.

Adjusting your priorities can help you spend more time promoting content. Getting to know your target audience means spending time in new places online. So it helps to think what questions they’re asking, where they are looking, and what they’re looking for.

Meet-cutes happen with your target audience in unexpected places: product reviews, your competitor’s testimonials, related hashtags, and how-to publications.

But, you don’t have to go so far that it takes away time from other projects.

Derek Halpern created the marketing 80–20 rule: You should spend 20% of your time making the content and 80% of your time promoting it,” yet, Heidi Cohen of Actionable Marketing Guide affirms the notion is old practice.

“To this end, content must be contextually relevant to the platform and device to break through today’s content explosion. This requires more than promotion! The information must be modified to meet the needs of each media entity.”

And sometimes moving on too soon can hurt your business, like it hurt mine, if you’re under the impression that others understand what you’re trying to say.

Ask yourself, “what do I mean by this?” or “why is this coming from me?” and “what would this mean from an outsider’s perspective?”

Your audience may want to go down the path you’re paving, but everyone arrives separately. It may be helpful to start creating content with that premise by asking yourself, “where is this person coming from?”

What could their background or perspective mean, and how has it led them here, now?

By doing this, you’re creating content for one person — significantly more effective than writing to the masses.

A way to get insider tips or best practices is to see how your customers are using the platform and taking notes from competitors.

Engaging With Your Ideal Customer Or Client

Be honest. You look at someone popular in your field and see their audience so hungry for their content. You just spent hours writing a blog post and even more promoting it and all you got was, “cute pic” despite asking people what their greatest challenge was this week. Ugh! We’ve all had those moments.

The other reason people aren’t seeing your content is because you might not be engaging at their usual hangouts.

You also need to be interacting where your customers are already hanging out to expand your reach.

This means interacting with other people’s content by answering questions, posting comments, or publishing responses to their work.

The most successful people on social media take the time to engage. Increasing the number of interactions with your audience starts with thoughtful comments.

Nothing says “you’re important to me” more than “I like your pic” right?

Some think this tactic is worth trying…

It’s not.

So how can you give a thoughtful answer without seeming like you have an agenda?

Your prospects will clue you in to how they want to be treated. Just follow along with how they interact on social (and other places), and you’ll have the perfect starting place.

Your company has created a culture and your audience has their own co-culture too. Each culture (consciously and subconsciously) lets others know how to abide with specific norms. So in that way, you can refresh your branding to do things your way. And you can also take hints from your audience to understand how to become part of their story as well.

How do they use the platforms they’re on? What features do they use? What companies do they follow? Where do they shop? What hashtags are they following?

You can jot down takeaways from observing your following plus relying on trusted market research to give you insight into how your ideal audience is responding to content online.

What About Instagram Growth Hacks?

Because engaging on social and content creation is time consuming, productivity hacks make sense. The goal is to work smarter, but be careful of growth hacks on IG.

Many promise overnight success but anything worthwhile is going to take time. This includes building a business and building a following.

Breaking down how much time you are willing to spend each week (or month) on social media is the first step to increasing productivity.

Instead of a long list of to do’s you’re manifesting a tangible schedule and setting goals. Then, calculate how much money it will costs. After each campaign, report the return to get an idea of what to focus on.

Not everyone sees eye to eye on what a good return is for social media efforts, so do what’s right for your business. If you don’t see a reasonable return, is brand recognition something that’s important to you anyway? Are you allowing a long runway for sustainability? Or are you focusing on short term goals?

With this perspective, you won’t fall into dangerous follower traps.

Avoid Spam On Your IG Account

Distinguishing between buying ad space or buying followers can be confusing. If ad space will expose your content to a large audience, isn’t it a good strategy? But, if you’re looking to advertise, it’s best to go direct to the source — Instagram.

And it’s for a few key reasons.

Falling into the trap of “‘buying ad space” on other accounts can attract fake bot accounts or even those uninterested in your niche.

The biggest clue that you need to purge some followers is if you have low engagement but an increasing number of followers.

True followers are generally interested in your content and interact with it.

The wrong IG growth tactics make your account a breeding ground for spam. And many of the behaviors go against company policy.

When starting out small, it’s good practice to prune your follower list for accounts from foreign countries who follow the maximum number of people. Or if accounts have zero posts of their own, they aren’t active on the platform anyways.

Wanting more followers should mean more of the right followers. So, it’s important to start developing the courage to turn the wrong ones away.

Think of it like email marketing. One of the ways to maintain a good engagement rate is to purge inactives, aka, dead weight.

Follow For Follow Danger Zones

It’s not a surprise that people follow for follow. Even those that say they aren’t, end up doing it. Anytime you follow someone, only to gain visibility and later unfollow them, you are engaging in follow for follow.

You aren’t some kind of criminal. The only problem is that building a relevant audience relies on more than quick tactics. What will assist the long term goals for your business? And also, what’s realistic for your own profile, feed, and capacity?

Even industry trailblazers follow new people everyday to expose their new XYZ, only to later unfollow those same people.

Listen, I get why that sounds attractive, but let’s call it what it is.

Other growth hacks require third parties to engage on your behalf leaving comments and likes on other people’s accounts via certain hashtags.

While it’s ok to hire help, make sure it’s a real person, not a growth bot to “beat” Instagram’s algorithm.

What’s The Deal With Comment Pods?

And then there are comment pods and giveaways. Comments pods are usually frowned upon, for many reasons, but there are some who think it really works for growth.

Whether it works or not, it’s first against Instagram’s policies because it gives the impression of social proof. It’s not a real measure of helpful content and that’s not even considering the extra time investment.

Any forced tactics won’t give your business the growth that it needs, leading to more website traffic.

What If I Want To Host A Giveaway?

Treat giveaways carefully. This can attract people who don’t care about your content and only want the free gift. But it can also be a wonderful opportunity.

Giveaways can be valuable if you get creative. Offering your services at a discount (social graphic, downloadable template, or loss leader) can be a good starter idea.

You could make the requirements your target audience and offer a survey to find out more information; what content of yours do they find most valuable? You could even have the free gift be a pre-service to prepare customers for your other services.

Remember you don’t really want the follow, you want the follow through.

Instead of a raffle for a prize, it becomes an opportunity for you to learn and adjust your strategy.

As a rule, I would steer clear of anything that’s inauthentic when it comes to growth. It not only has the potential for bad PR and brand association, but shady tactics too. More importantly, it hinders your confidence as a business owner, changing your perspective from opportunistic and creative to desperate and hurried.

Spot Good Strategy

Knowing what’s working can also help you put systems in place to help what’s not. Testing your content regularly increases engagement, which can increase website traffic too.

Test photos on Pinterest to see which style of pin gets more clicks, check headlines effectiveness, and test types of content to measure goals. You could even put a “like this” plug-in on your website to track posts and pictures your audience likes.

Finding Time & Fighting Burnout?

It’s undeniable how hard this is to accomplish on a consistent basis. At first when you are ready to build your business, you’ll spend any number of hours working and can’t imagine doing anything else.

That fulfilled feeling never goes away, but the ability to pull all nighters and be “on” 24 hours a day wears off quickly when there’s so much to do.

Break Down Information

Burnout is real, especially when you are a one woman show giving 110%. One way to fight overwhelm (which leads to procrastination) is to break down information. This makes planning your to do’s easier, because it estimates how much time & energy each task will take to complete.

Track Time on Projects

This is where time tracking tools can help. Check your project management software to see if there is one included to keep things simple.

This will show you how productive you are and provide a little more focus when you’re executing to dos.

Get Specific

One of the best things you can do in business is to get specific; solve specific problems, talk to a specific customer, and do one small task at a time. Remember, not everyone becomes a successful business owner or writer for a reason; It’s difficult! Remember why you started this in the first place.

Prioritizing What Will Give You The Greatest Return On Your Investment

Your content marketing strategy should help you focus on three main things.

  1. Optimize & Publish Content (SEO Friendly Articles)
  2. Promote Your Content
  3. Engage with Your Audience

***These three things are after you have developed a branded website, done research on your target audience, and perfected your products or services.

You cannot move visitors down the funnel until you offer consistent value.

Struggling to Find Motivation? Read This…

In the past I was under the impression those with discipline had something in them that I didn’t have.

I looked for the miracle cure while finding every excuse. This was effective in helping me do everything besides what I needed to do. But operating under the false belief that you can’t do it unless you feel motivated is entirely an emotional response. In other words, it’s not true, it’s just a matter of perspective.

The need for motivation is an illusion. Even a luxury. It has nothing to do with actually executing your tasks.

As a business owner, you wear every hat for a while, and the tasks just require that you do them.

Start Making A Difference

We’ve established that growing a following takes time. A change in your perspective and strategy can create a positive user experience. It can also help you get to know your target audience better. This way, you can tailor content directly to them, and the platform you choose, to make a difference with customers.

People only buy from those they know, like and trust, so it’s important to increase the number of interactions with your ideal audience. Just make sure to add value, consider where they may be coming from, and give them a reason to care.

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