Engagement on social media is a funny thing… and one that our ego can fight against. On Instagram, so many of us get pangs of delight when we see the likes flood in when we post. And a like or even love on Facebook is magic, isn’t? Now, I’m not denying that all the above are nice, but engagement actually matters more. Our ego might not agree, but it’s wrong on this one.
Ego vs. engagement on social media
Egos tend to like numbers. More followers, more likes, more loves, etc. Now, I’m not going to say that this is wrong as such, but it has to work hand in hand with engagement to be useful.
On Instagram, for example, you can follow a load of people, especially those using certain hashtags, and you’ll get a load of followers in return. Great, hey? Or is it. Because these kind of followers aren’t actually that ‘useful’. And I mean ‘useful’ in the best possible way. I mean ‘useful’ in terms of forming any kind of connection with you or your business or having any interest at all in your business and you. When I follow an account, I do it because I have an interest in the person and the content they are creating. To me, that makes me a useful follower. I’m likely to like the odd post… I might even be compelled to leave a comment or two on posts. To me, that cements my usefulness. That didn’t come from merely following the page though. It came from caring about the content and engaging with the content.
See, ego wants the followers. Left to its own devices it would seek out the #followforfollow hashtag and follow these accounts like crazy. Ego would have us put out our best content with this hashtag too, to attract likes… but largely from people who don’t really care. Not their fault. They’re just not ‘our people’. And that’s where ego is wrong. Ego might also want to buy followers to achieve its objective… but we know buying followers is a bad idea.
It’s all about engagement
I’m not going to lie to you and say that I don’t watch the number of likes a post gets and it doesn’t concern me. It does. But there’s a lot more to it. See, some of the best posts I’ve had for my business, for DMs, for people actually reaching out and connecting to me, haven’t necessarily had the most likes. Pretty pictures and quotes tend to do well on Instagram, and I love both of these a lot, but when I share something relatable, the engagement goes up. This isn’t me being calculated, it’s just fact.
Earlier this week, I shared a selfie. I don’t hide the fact that I hate selfies… I’m always squinting/looking the wrong way/looking tired/crazy hair/sheep wrinkle… so much I don’t like. I have no real issues with video, but a still image doesn’t sit well with me. But this year, I’ve decided to blummin well get over myself… because it’s important to me to practise what I preach. I encourage my clients to get out there and own their brand all the time, yet I hide away from things that make me feel uncomfortable and stop me really owing my brand? Nope – I can’t do that. So I’m challenging myself to put my imperfect face out there more. And I have to say that the reaction has been so lovely that I’m feeling a bit stupid for building it up in my head… but that’s another story. Now, what’s interesting about the selfie sharing is that I am far from alone in this. So many people have commented on the selfie post saying that they feel the same. Getting that engagement was important to me. It made me feel a whole lot better on one level, but you know what else? I had a DM from someone who had been worried about using Instagram Stories and showing her face. My post gave her a nudge and made her realise she wasn’t alone. And she posted an Insta Story… and it was flipping brilliant! THAT’S what matters.
Engagement on social media
So many people have moments when they forget the social element of social media. Yes, we want our content to be liked, maybe even loved, but the whole point of these incredible platforms is ENGAGEMENT. It’s making those real connections with people. It’s sharing a joke, giving someone confidence, getting a little support, sharing a win or a crushing blow. And having someone who cares, because they know you through you content, connect. The same applies to business. Engage with your customers and prospective customers. People buy from people. Show them you care, help them with their issues, respond to their comments and engage with them. Engagement on social media is king. The rest is ego. And while we can all give our ego a little free rein from time to time, we shouldn’t do so at the expense of engagement… it negates the whole point of the platforms we spend so long cultivating. Don’t you think?