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Engagement on Social Media

We hear so much about engagement on social media, in particular from social media strategists & business people. Here is my personal take on engagement, feel free to take it or leave it…

I personally think that there is very little we have control over in terms of managing engagement.

You could be posting on a “consistent” schedule, using trending music, using targeted hashtags, all the strategies we learn about growing an audience and “boosting” engagement, and your engagement and growth will still be slow at times. The apps do this intentionally, too, in my opinion, to keep us wanting to post a lot to get that engagement “back.” I’ve seen several people describe the social media algorithms as slot machines in a casino → they intentionally give you random “wins” (a hit of dopamine and excitement) to get you hooked. They then take away the positive reward to hopefully keep you engaging so that you get it again down the road, but you don’t really have control over when that happens.

These social media apps have so much built into their structure that is frankly….inhumane. Meaning anti-humanity. The realities of being a human in this world do not match what we’re expected to do with social media. We are supposed to have down time, take breaks, rest, experiment, set boundaries, and none of that really fits with the traditional social media / business advice you see that is focused on taking advantage of the app at the cost of your time instead of starting with you as a human with needs and then building strategy around that.

This is why I focus on social media sustainability, AKA being able to share your art / message / mission / community online for the long haul, rather than engagement. Over the course of several weeks, months, years, you’re going to experience waves of engagement no matter how much you post. Which is why I’d rather talk about what will make social media a sustainable creative process for you & your mental health over boosting engagement.

I’ve had TikToks blow up simply because I unknowingly picked background music that then started trending later on and so my content got boosted since it was attached to the audio. I’ve had TikToks where I did everything “right” and the views were incredibly low. What I’ve learned and what I teach my clients is that this isn’t my fault. I haven’t done anything “wrong” and usually I don’t do anything differently long term because it’s out of my control. What’s within my control is how I take care of myself and the relationship I build with content creation. Am I enjoying it? Do my regular viewers / readers feel seen, validated, supported?

Are you “bad” or “wrong” for caring about engagement and metrics? Absolutely not. Perfectionism is not your fault. It’s also not an accident. The apps are designed to focus us on engagement. Why do you think the notifications are red??

If you have a piece of content receive a ton of engagement, I want you to celebrate that. I want you to not feel bad for being excited to see the numbers tick up and the likes roll in. AND, I want you to rest. I want you to take some regulating breaths to support your nervous system. I want you to remind yourself of your mission. I want you to remember that the engagement will slow down again, and that is normal and to be expected. I want you to continue focusing on your long game social media sustainability. You can celebrate the present moment experience while still operating within a strategy and relationship that is focused on long game goals.

Bottom line – you have a message, art, and vision to share with the world. I care less about your individual posts’ metrics than I do about how we get this message out there long term and your mental health as you use social media.

Interested in some Tiktok support? Be sure to join my email list to get first dibs on my newest Tiktok resource coming out soon!

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