Orange branded image with Libby Langley featuring on the left hand-side smiling and wearing a lovely gold top with writing on the left in grey which reads 'does your social media engagement suck'.

I want to talk to you about your social media engagement. Thing is, does it suck? It’s so easy to find that you’re not getting what you need from your social media and you’re sometimes met with nothing but tumbleweed and absolute silence.

The reason I want to talk about this is because it’s a question that comes up again and again, people asking me and quite frankly, often in a bit of a state of panic which is not what we want when it comes to social media.

There’s so much bad information that’s passed around on the Internet by “gurus” as to why your engagement might not be as high as you want it to be, and it might even be dropping. I even heard, hold your hat for this one, a “guru” say that you should be posting 10 times a day to boost your engagement. What now? I think let’s take a step back and see what’s really going on here.

Thing is that the algorithms do change all the time on social media platforms and you really won’t be able to trick them. There’s a lot out there that you hear about. People say, now if you do this, you’ll defeat the algorithm, you’ll break the code. It just doesn’t work like that. The thing is to know the right thing to measure when it comes to your social media and to think about it all a bit differently.

By that I mean think about what really matters – the things you need to worry about and the things that you don’t. There are three types of engagement to measure on your social media. The third one is something that people miss or just forget about but it’s actually it’s the most important one. The two of them you’re going to know about immediately, and they are likes and reach.

People will say, see the numbers underneath your social media post one person like this. Four hundred people liked this and you’ll see a lot of metrics about the number of people who your posts have reached – the number of accounts where it’s been in their news feed. These don’t really matter because it was in someone’s news feed as they scrolled on by but that doesn’t mean, they register it at all.

Likes – well, I don’t know about you, but when you’re scrolling through, you think, well they’re a very nice person so I’ll like their post. Liking isn’t always an intentional action. In that regard, it’s worth keeping an eye on, but it’s not really the be all and end all in terms of your metrics and what you’re monitoring. The third one that you could look at is the number of comments – this really is worth keeping a track of, because it’s the golden nugget in terms of what matters.

You probably reply to your comments, but do you actually track it? Do you actually have a spreadsheet or a notebook or post? Or a watch track? Likes and reach are vanity metrics largely but comments are the start of conversations which are going to lead to sales. Ultimately sales is what we all want from our social media, because that’s how we grow our business. That’s how we’re going to scale everything.

If you go into your Instagram insights and then go to your profile, go to click on insights and then click on posts, you can see the number of comments on all the posts for up to the last year. If when you go into that, it might show you the reach for the last seven days to start with. But you can click on the little dropdown next to where it says reach and next to where it says the period of time and adjust it to whatever you want – that’s a really useful way to get your measurements.

If you’re using Facebook, then if you go into your Facebook page, insight’s click on post engagement and change the little dropdown arrow that you’ll see on your screen next to the reactions which is what Facebook now calls likes, if you click on that dropdown arrow in your insights to select just reactions, comments and shares, then the number of comments will be light pink at the moment but these things do change overnight. That’s how you look at it on your Facebook page. The reason that you need to keep an eye on this is to see a much clearer picture of what’s going on with your social media and how many conversations are taking place.

You can also see if the trends are going up or down as an overall trend and what type of content your followers prefer. If you see that you always get more comments on videos or if you get more comments on photos, for example – daily and weekly, it will always fluctuate. There will also be a random one where you get loads and another one that you think is not so great.

You need to look at the overall picture, which is why I say a year is quite useful. How long you’ve been proactive with your social media is important – it’s the long game that we’re interested in here. We’re not really interested in what’s happened over the last week. We’re interested in what’s happened over the last few months because then we can properly look and reflect on it all.

Let me talk to you now about some of the reasons why your engagement might be a bit pants – yes, that is a technical expression.

If your number of followers aren’t consistently increasing, that could be that could be a reason. You don’t need to get to ten thousand followers overnight – I’m not an advocate of that. A slow and steady increase is what you want because you’re going to new people into your fold and it shows that what you’re sharing is the right kind of stuff.

It could also be because the people who follow you are, quite frankly, just busy and not on social media as much as they are at other times. The time of the year or a week or whatever it could be that you’re posting on social media for example in a school holiday. During school holidays, people might not be on social media as much, or they might be on it more. This is something that a long-term trend, will show you as all variables can affect your engagement on social media.

This is why you need to look at the long-term trend to rule out these anomalies with so many variables in there.

Another reason that your engagement is a bit pants might be because you aren’t attracting the right kind of followers.

Let me talk about a few ways that you can increase your engagement. You might be thinking now, but I’m posting a few times a day, I’m doing stories and I’ve worked so hard to make my feed look pretty – but it isn’t about that. There are so many people who you’ll probably follow on Instagram or Facebook who tell you things and those things are just not right for your business or for your followers so what you need to do is change. If your strategy ain’t working, you need to change it. You might need to post different content.

If your engagement is rubbish and having looked at your data through your insights, you’ll know if there really is a downward trend over time or if you’re just kind of thinking too small, thinking too granular. Then you’ll know that whatever you’re doing is no longer working and you’ll need to get out of that rut and do something different.

For example, if you don’t do lives or share videos, then maybe you need to start doing that.

If you do videos and are not getting any comments, then look at the content, look at what you’re saying. Is it the right content to share with your audience? You might be pitching your content completely wrong for the audience that you have. You need to give everything that you do and the changes that you make time to settle in, you can’t keep changing everything every week or you’ll never be able to effectively and accurately track because you won’t know what’s going on with the metrics and what’s changing. If you look at your insights and make assumptions and then you change five different strategies, how are you going to know which one is making the difference? Look at your insights. Work out what’s going on. Change one thing based on the data that you’ve got from your insights.

The main question is, if the content you’re sharing is really connecting with your audience, you are going to know this from looking at your data. Maybe you’re giving away too many tips and tricks and everything that you do is give, give, give so you’re just not making an emotional connection with people? Maybe you’re not showing up enough or enough emotion. We all know that emotion is what sells people by people – you’ve heard that before.

If you want to grow your business using your social media, then you need to make an emotional connection with your followers. It’s as simple as that. You need to let people in a little bit, you need to open up a little and share your journey so that people can connect with you as a real-life person, not just not just a profile picture, not just some pretty graphics, but a real-life person – that’s what’s going to make a big difference for you.

For all of us it’s tough to get your head around, but vulnerability is something that really helps people connect with you. It’s important for you to tap into that and share those stories, your experience and following on for that. Are you taking an interest in your followers’ interest in you?

If you’re not interested in them, why should you expect them to be interested in you? You know how conversations happen, right? If your first thought is to sell, sell, sell then you’re doing it wrong and you’ll turn people off straightaway. You don’t want to be a door-to-door sales person, you’ll just get the door slammed in your face. You’re not getting anywhere when your followers don’t care about being sold to. They want to follow you and they want to feel that you understand them, that you’ve got a connection with them. Along the way, through their journey, they’ll eventually buy from you. That’s what that’s how it works. This all takes time and it isn’t going to happen overnight. No matter how many of those crazy “five-day guru challenges you sign up for – they’re not really going to make a difference unless you’ve got the foundations in place.

You need to make an effort to connect with your audience before you think about anything else, before you do the bells and whistles – get the foundations lined up and then you can build on that.

If you don’t do this when you go in for the sell, you won’t have people warmed up – there’s no connection there so it’s going be like, I’m sorry, what do you do? Who are you? You’re missing so many steps in this.

My big tip to you today is to be a little more vulnerable and less shiny polished.

It doesn’t mean being less professional at all. It means being more human and being more you – people love you. You know that.

Today, I’ve covered the three types of engagement that you want to happen on your social media – the only metric that I would choose to track on my own social media and the one that I suggest that you track. I’ve given some reasons why your social media engagement might be a bit pants and a few things you can tweak to increase these comments and conversations. Make sure that you do resonate with your audience, with your followers and work out how are you going to embrace your public vulnerability?

If you found this useful, it is just the tip of the iceberg! If you’re serious about using social media to grow your business, then click here to download my free small business blueprint for social media success.


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