To increase social media engagement, all you need to do is increase the attention you pay to self-alignment.
The most basic way to get someone’s attention is this: Break a pattern.Chip Heath and Dan Heath, Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die
Posting Just to Post
We made a thing. Yay! We are filled with equal parts excitement, pride, and relief.
Whew! That’s done, we thought. Now for the easy part—selling it.
Enter The Very Crowded, Noisy Universe, stage left. It lifts its head dramatically, throws a feather boa over its left shoulder, and says, “Not so fast, Precious.”
We post images and copy online, announcing the arrival of our sweet new service, product, program, or podcast. We sit back and wait for the affirmation to roll in. For people to sign up. To listen or subscribe. To click on Order Now.
<chirp, chirp, chirp>
It turns out that getting traction for our newly-born creation is much more difficult than we ever dreamed.
And when the response to our initial efforts falls flat, we can begin to question whether or not the thing we made has any merit or value. Whether we have any merit or value.
Not unlike a person drowning in rough seas, with arms flailing as we seek to stay afloat, we panic and look around for the nearest floatation device—advice from ubiquitous, online marketers.
We fall into the rabbit hole of social media ads, SEO analytics, how to build our lists, and the art of creating the perfect funnel. We worry about our brand and our website. We obsess over how to increase social media engagement. We briefly consider dancing and pointing to words on Instagram or TikTok.
With an external focus, we lose our footing, our sense of self. Overwhelmed and exhausted, we post on our social media accounts with palpable desperation.
It turns out, no one wants to buy from us when we are wildly out of alignment with who we truly are.
The Role of Self-Alignment
Now for the great news. There is a much easier way.
When you remember what it is you want us to feel, you are almost home.
During a recent meeting of The Sketchbook Entrepreneur Masterclass, I worked on a piece while students were playing around with their own works of paint and collage. I was very distracted while I worked as I kept checking the computer screen to see how everyone was doing. I was only sorta kinda in my painting.
And it showed.
Check out the energy of the piece I made in a distracted, pinched state:
You can literally feel how heavy, leaden this work is, right? This is the energetic stance of the version of me I refer to as “Clipboard Susie.” The person who is focused on logistics, making sure the trains run on time.
The version of me that is very much in her head, disconnected from her soul.
Importantly, when I stopped working and took in what I had made, I immediately knew I could go back in on another day and edit the piece. I wasn’t worried that it was something of a “failure.”
I acknowledged the work wasn’t even close to what I wanted it to be while remaining confident and expectant of my ability to iterate.
This stage of my painting is us when we are out of alignment when we try to increase social media engagement, instead of focusing on what really resonates with us.
A few days later, I went back to the piece. I took a moment to look at it with kind eyes. I felt compassion for this first effort in all its clunky, wonky wonder.
I remembered how I felt when I was making it. And then I chose to become the opposite.
I prepared a palette of about eight colors, not fussing over color choices. Down went puddle after puddle of paint. I grabbed a handful of brushes, a palette knife, and some paper towels.
I rolled up my sleeves and stood over the work. “Let’s have some fun,” I said to the work. “I want to feel free.”
I worked in a burst of wild, bold moves. I covered the entirety of the earlier version of the work, refusing to think about “wasted efforts.” I dipped my brush and palette knife in one color after another.
I smeared paint with my fingers.
The feeling I had making the work was electric. Freedom.
This is what I understand as self-alignment.
After about fifteen minutes, I knew I had landed on it. I stepped back and looked at the piece. I was delighted.
Notice below how completely different this work is. How you can now feel me in the art. How it connects with something inside of you, reminding you that yes, you want to feel this alive, this free, too.
Alignment as the Secret Ingredient to Increase Social Media Engagement
This is the secret to getting engagement online.
While, yes, there are zillions of tactics and strategies you can employ to boost likes, sales, and subscribers, the one step you cannot skip is asking yourself the following question: What is it I want my audience/ideal clients/listeners/readers to feel?
We absolutely must know this before creating the marketing around our work. Once we have decided upon this energetic state, we must embody it fully and authentically. Just like my dull painting, half-hearted efforts will fall flat.
Next, ask yourself if you are in alignment with the ways you are seeking to get traction. If you’d rather throw yourself down a flight of stairs than do a particular marketing task, either delegate it to someone else or scrap it entirely. Efforts that do not reflect who we truly are will be sniffed out immediately and ignored. Faking it is no way to increase social media engagement.
Do fewer things, better. We cannot be all things to all people. Be selective in the platforms and ways you want to engage online. We are much more likely to repeatedly do things we love. We will not only show up authentically but also more often.
Remember: We want to see you in your marketing. The real you.
Getting traction online—doing the work to increase social media engagement—begins with getting clear on what you want us to feel first. Then, we choose the colors of who we truly are to create works of art that stop others in their tracks. We compose and design with discernment, including only what resonates with us as a HELL YES.
The world will pay attention when we are clear, confident, and most importantly, congruent.