How to stay motivated with social media when it seems like no one is watching

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I hear this often from my clients who are just starting out in business. ‘Mili, why is it so hard to stay motivated? It seems like no one is engaging with my content and no one cares about what I’m posting’.

I have been personally through the same struggle so many times along my journey. And as a result, I’ve gathered my best tips on how to stay motivated with social media, even when it seems like no one cares about your business.

Tip 1: Don’t equate social media to your worth

If you’re feeling slow and unmotivated whenever you’re looking at social media content, chances are you may be low on serotonin!

You may have heard about serotonin being one of the happiness hormones. However, you may not know that it is actually responsible for our social status and social ranking.

This means that whenever you’re surrounded by people that are seemingly wealthier or happier than you, you’re feeling like you’re literally at the bottom of society (and so your serotonin levels are dropping)

The most useful way to battle this is to actually surround yourself with people who do not make you feel bad about yourself. Choose people who are honest and quite open about their life. Otherwise, if you find yourself surrounded by people that seemingly have the perfect life, you may start thinking that everyone is living their best life except you.

Remember that Instagram is literally a highlight reel, no one is really posting what is going on behind the scenes in their life. Even on Instagram stories where people are much more open and candid, people are still not sharing the whole story.

The numbers people are showing may not be 100% true either. This includes vanity metrics such as number of followers, likes, views etc.

But it can also be about money. Someone sharing that they made $10,000 in a month may look great. However, if they’re not sharing that it cost them $6,000 to make that then it’s misleading and can make you feel bad that you’re not hitting those same goals.

Rremind yourself that Instagram is not real life, and your work is not measured by how many people follow you, like you and even buy from you.

Tip 2: Low engagement doesn’t mean anything

A lot of my clients say that they feel like no one cares about their business, or no one wants to be their client, just because no one is liking their posts, or no one is sending them a direct message.

However, you need to understand that in 2020, Instagram is already a mature platform, which means that the way we interact with it is already different from how we used to use Instagram just a few years ago.

More and more people right now are what I call passive followers. Or if it’s helpful -imagine lurkers. These are the people that will see your content, watch your stories and so on, but they’ll never actually engage with it because there’s no incentive for them.

At the same time, you’ll actually find that whenever you decide to make an offer, for example, invite people for a call, or you have something that you want people to download, there are people that actually took the action.

So you cannot equate low engagement with ‘no one cares about my business.’ because you never really know who is watching!

Your numbers also don’t mean a thing. I know people with 300 or 400 followers who are making a lot of money on Instagram, and people that have thousands and thousands of likes who are actually broke.

So if you want to incentivize people to engage more with your content, make sure to include things like a call to action within your captions, and then use the poll function, the question function, and so on within Instagram stories.

And if you want to learn how to get more highly engaged followers, check out this post right here.

Tip 3: Do you have a REACH problem, or do you have a CONTENT problem?

You need to understand whether you have a reach problem or a content problem, because even though those two are actually connected, they’re not the same thing.

How do you know if you have a reach problem?

When you open your Instagram insights, go to Content and then sort the posts by reach. When you click on the top performing posts, you can start seeing what percentage of people who saw your post were not following you. Contrary to what you may think, a large percentage of people that are not following you means that more and more new people have discovered your account.

However, if you find that only 5% or 10% of the people who engaged with that content are new, this means that it was only your own audience that saw this piece of content. Now, this is not inherently bad if you already have a more established account, because it’s more important to actually engage with your existing audience.

However, if you’re just starting out on Instagram, or you want to grow your profile, it is super important to actually use things like hashtags, location tags, and creating shareable content because this increases the chance of other people being exposed to your content.

How to do you know if you have a content problem?

The second type of problem you may have is a content problem, which means that a lot of people do see your content, but very few of them actually take the time to engage with it.

In the past engagement came more in the form of likes and comments. However, as I mentioned above, there are a lot of people who are passive followers, and that is why I measure my engagement with the amount of shares and the amount of saves [not likes and comments].

If you go to your insights, you can sort your content by the amount of shares, and by the amount of saves. You can see that some pieces of content are probably getting a lot more saves than others – these are the kinds of posts you should be doing more of!

And if you find that a piece of content only got one or two saves, chances are the content didn’t really resonate with people that much. However, if you find that piece of content, maybe got 50 likes, but 10 or 15 saves, or 10 or 15 shares, this means that this type of content is actually something that resonated with people and you need to be doing more of that.

If you want to see my examples of doing that, check out the full video here:

Tip 4: Use social media strategically

For a lot of my clients and people that I talk to social media can feel like a huge time suck. I’ve definitely been there when I opened my phone and I scrolled for half an hour, only to realize that it doesn’t actually do anything useful for my business.

That is why if you want to use social media strategically to grow your business and your brand, you need to have a plan for how are you going to use your time when you are on social media.

For me, this usually means that I spend 30 minutes and I aim to engage with five new people outside of my community- to expose my brand to at least five new people. Now, this may not seem like a lot, but over the course of one year, that is almost 2000 people that you can reach just by doing 30 minutes a day of social media.

Other forms of activity may include things like writing a comment under a couple of posts you find in your feed, replying to 10 or 15 stories, replying to your direct messages, and so on.

Whatever activity you choose, it’s important to remember why you’re on social media. It is no substitute for real life interactions. Most of the time when I felt really drained by being on social media, it has been because I’ve not spent enough time with real-life people around me. So know why you’re doing it and be strategic.

Tip 5: Show up consistently to build trust with your audience

I totally understand this may be the absolute last thing that you want to do if no one is engaging with you or it just feels like no one cares.

However, you need to remember that if you don’t show up consistently, your audience will not trust you to actually show up for them as well.

Think about it in this way. Imagine you wanted to go to a nice coffee shop because you wanted to work from there for a couple of hours. So you go to your nearest Starbucks and all of a sudden Starbucks is closed, only for today. But there is no sign, no explanation why this may be.

If I were you, I would be super disappointed because this shop that was supposed to be open and have something fresh and nice for me is actually not working. This is the exact same feeling that your audience will have if you disappeared from social media for long periods of time without having any sort of explanation.

I don’t condone being on social media 24/7, this is totally not the case. You don’t even have to post every single day on your feed!

However, if you want to actually build the trust with your audience, showing up on Instagram Stories every day or as often as you can, is actually a great way to show people that you’re actually serious about your business and about being there for them.

You may not feel like showing up on video every day because of all the things you feel you need to do (hair, makeup, clothes etc).

But you have a choice. You can either show up natural and authentic and connect with your audience. Or if you’re not at that level yet, have a couple of really nice photos of yourself to use as a background for whatever you want to talk about that day.

Being on video is not the only way to show up consistently. The point is just to share something useful and something helpful to your audience every single day to start to build that trust and also that habit for them to check up on you and what you’re doing.

Have you ever thought of quitting social media?

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