by sonja thorsvik

Engagement Strategies To Grow Your Brand 2X Faster

laughing friends sitting inside a bathtub
Photo by Polina Tankilevitch on Pexels.com

Are you overwhelmed and frustrated by the entire process of actually growing an audience or engaging with your fans online? You’re producing content, you’re working hard, you’re batching your posts, and you’re optimizing your words. So why aren’t you expanding your brand?

I get it. It can be so incredibly irritating to feel like you’re putting in tons of work and time, only to see low sales and low numbers. But, I have a secret for you. Growing your brand all comes down to one thing… It’s not trying to hard sell your product or service with each post every day, it’s not taking yet another class on how to gain more followers overnight, and it’s certainly not deciding to be on every platform there is and overextending yourself further than you already are. Nope. The answer is: prioritizing engagement. Focusing on ENGAGING with the people who are already in your court is the most powerful thing you can do to show up and grow online.

FOCUS AND BUILD TRUST

When you focus in—and I mean REALLY focus—on making engagement and connection a huge part of your brand, you instantly start to build more trust. Building trust goes hand in hand with growth online, I promise. In fact, it’s probably the number one thing top influencers can attribute their success to.

Trust zooms right back into the idea of human behavior: humans like to follow and mingle with people who make them feel like they’re valued, they’re listened to, and they’re appreciated. Plus, if I know you, I KNOW that you really do value, listen to, and appreciate the people who follow you and your business. You just have to remember to show them.

If you’re listening to this and thinking, “Okay. This makes sense… but I’m still not really sure how to do it…” I’ve got you. I am a big-time believer in the connection that really can be built off of digital platforms, and it’s something that I’ve built my business on. Over the years, I’ve really honed in on a couple of things that let me authentically engage with the people who follow me online.

By engaging with my existing followers, and paying less attention and energy toward trying to gain NEW followers, I’ve seen way higher engagement with my content. It’s a win-win, and it all comes down to five actionable steps:

  1. The first: Giving yourself blocked-off time each and every day to respond to messages, DMs, and comments. Showing up for your people is the quickest way to show them you care!
  2. Then, number 2, highlight the accomplishments and projects of other people, and share them! Helping people is the best way to get ahead, and it helps you both.
  3. Number 3: Use strong calls to action (otherwise called CTA’s), in 95% of what you post. Whether it’s asking a question or sending them to a link, invite your followers in.
  4. And 4? Know who your audience is, and create content for them! This makes them much more likely to engage with your content, which gives you way more opportunities to chat with them and up your authentic following.
  5. Finally, keep an eye on the data, but don’t let it drive everything you do. Numbers might not be your cup of tea, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t important.

But, before we dive into these a little deeper, I wanted to give you a disclaimer: none of this works if you don’t mean it. Just like you can probably see straight through people who are trying to sell you things, people will look right through you if they think you’re being insincere.

Who of us has posted a question box to Instagram stories only to get weird bot responses that tell you to “have a good day” or “follow their profiles”? I don’t know about you, but that kind of thing doesn’t interest me… or anyone I know… because it’s clearly inauthentic and phony. Take the extra time to be genuine when you engage with people, and it’ll pay off. I can promise you that. 

MAKE GOOD USE OF YOUR TIME

I used to be so overwhelmed by Instagram. Whew. I would see that red notification dot in the top right corner of my screen and get instantly anxious about the amount of responding I needed to do. Paired with business emails, personal messages, and other comments, it seemed insurmountable. Honestly, I don’t really know how people with millions of followers even begin to try to sort through the feedback and messages.

But, I’m also a longtime fan of time batching, and I’ve used it in tons of areas of my business before. Batching is taking a certain chunk of time to work on ONE thing, whether it’s taking a few hours to only work on accounting or it’s taking one day to exclusively work on client projects. This has completely streamlined tons of areas of my business and has really improved my focus and efficiency. I mean, I literally built Gigging for Gold on the idea of batching content for my clients.

One day, it hit me like a lightbulb: why wasn’t I using time batching when it came to social media engagement? Now, I devote around 20 minutes a day to going through my direct messages and my comments and responding to and engaging with each and every person who has hopped in there. I also spend that time engaging with accounts and people I admire, regardless of whether or not they follow me back.

By taking the time to focus on prioritizing engagement, I’ve also been much more intentional with what I say. Now, instead of quickly tapping the “like” on a comment, I have much more time to actually respond and keep the conversation going, which shows followers that I care to respond to them.

I’ve seen my own following grow significantly, and I’ve also noticed more engagement on my content too. If you’re in the social media world at all, you’ve heard of the elusive Instagram algorithm: and I can promise you, that engaging with other people helps to organically promote what you’re posting. It all pays off!

Now Do This:

Every day for the next 2 weeks blocks off 20 minutes in your day (longer if needed) to respond to all of your messages. Eventually, you can do this daily, but use the 2 weeks to adjust your timing to get used to this process. This is a must-do! It is so simple, but making time to do it will change your business for the better! If you have responded to all of your comments and you still have time left, go ahead and comment to other people’s businesses – this shows that you support others and enjoy what they have produced – trust me, people take notice of this.

ELEVATE OTHERS

One of the most incredible things about the digital age that we live in is the ability to connect with people from all around the world. I can’t tell you how many people I follow that I don’t know in real life, but adore online. I appreciate we have the ability to connect if we want. Our ancestors could have never had this level of connection, and I find social media a super important and powerful corner of the internet to focus in on. 

I’ve made a lot of initial connections with people I admire by simply taking the time to share other people’s ideas and highlight their accomplishments, regardless of whether or not I know them in person. It’s helped me strengthen my online connections so much, and I think it’s super special when people do the same to me.

Whether an entrepreneur you follow has launched a course or someone shared a podcast episode you ended up listening to, share it on Stories or in a Tweet! We all need more lifting each other up in days like these, and online growth and engagement are just another bonus of this interconnectedness.

TRY A CTA

A “call to action” is meant to spur someone into making a purchase, clicking a link, reading a blog, signing up for an email list, etcetera, etcetera. You probably see a hundred CTAs a day, from the billboards you pass on your morning commute to the advertisements you hear on podcasts to the captions you read on social media. And, a CTA doesn’t necessarily need to make someone purchase something. It also doesn’t need to be sleazy, salesy, or slimy. You can just as well make a CTA that encourages people to engage with you.

A CTA encourages people to give take the next step…

When I write posts for my clients and for myself, I like to do a mixed medley of CTA’s. Sometimes, I love simply asking people a question that they can answer in the comments, like what their favorite productivity apps are or the ways they’ve been staying sane during such a wild ride of a year. Sometimes, I direct people to a link for my email list, and sometimes I straight up encourage them to make a purchase. This works WONDERS for my engagement stats and is a really great way to get feedback and see what my followers like and pay attention to. 

Here’s my challenge to you: in every single piece of content you share for the next two weeks, include a CTA at the end of each of your posts (social or blog, or even podcast notes). You don’t have to do anything that makes you feel weird. Just ask your followers for some feedback, and watch what happens.

Examples For You To Try:

Have Questions? Fire Away!

Tag A Friend Who Inspires You.

Can You Help Me Decide? Should I Do X Or Y?

Double Tap If You Can Relate.

Bookmark This Post So You Can Find It Again Easily.

Hands Up If You Found This Helpful.

Which Do You Prefer? A Or B?

KNOW THY AUDIENCE

Most of your followers or subscribers follow you because you have or offer them something in common. As the content creator, it’s your job to find that common thread and then drive it home. You can only do that effectively when you know who your followers are. 

The people who follow me on social media are usually in their mid to late 30s and 40s, and they’re typically entrepreneurs or ambitious go-getters themselves. They know their stuff but also love hearing advice on business. They’re smart, well-educated, knowledgeable about their own fields, and open to listening to anecdotes and stories that will actually help them… sans jargon. To be quite honest, I’d guess that you probably fit into that category.

Since I know who my followers are and I have an idea of what they like to hear about, I’m much more effective when it comes to tailoring my own content and engagement style. I love creating content that leaves room for questioning since I know that my people love to ask them! I enjoy pushing out blog posts packed with actionable tips since I know that my readers love to hear about and apply them. By thinking of my audience first, I’m able to spur engagement simply by doing my job and creating the content THEY want to see and interact with.

Remember, your message, no matter what it is is exactly the same: your JOB is to figure out HOW to get it across to your audience.

How To:

Find a brand like yours and study THEIR audience for 2 weeks. What are they saying? What pain points do they have? What questions are they asking that brand? Now you can anticipate the type of engagement you will get on your brand and use it to your advantage.

CRUNCH THE NUMBERS

Not everyone likes numbers and analytics, and I get that. But, numbers and analytics are really just an important piece of the puzzle when it comes to being a business owner in the digital age. There’s no way around it. Luckily for all of us though, the internet makes data much easier to find and analyze than one might think. Plus, the analyzing part of it is usually done for you.

Let us all breathe a collective sigh of relief for that one, right?

You see, digging into data is what will give you a good idea of what’s actually working in the first place. For instance, you might be spending tons of hours creating detailed infographics for your Instagram feed only to realize that said infographics are getting essentially… no engagement.

On the other hand, you might realize that every time you post a picture of your actual face, your engagement levels skyrocket! This helps you back off from spending time creating content that doesn’t resonate with people, and instead pour more energy into creating things that evoke a response.

Most platforms make tracking your analytics pretty easy through bar graphs and pulled data, so it’s usually very obvious who your followers are, what they’re engaging with, and what they don’t care for. You can also use your analytics to completely overhaul your posting strategy.

One of my favorite ways to use front-end data without digging deep into my Instagram, Facebook, and Google Analytics is with a good poll. It’s always fun to gather data by asking people who follow you what they don’t want to see and what they do want to see. Plus, people are honest about it. It also shows that you value their input, that you want to give them content that they like, and that you’re focusing on them first.  Like I’ve said, that’s the key: be genuine with your people and let them be genuine with you.

CONCLUSION

I hope that, if anything, this post has reminded you that online growth lies in the way you treat people. People love to feel valued and worthy, and I know that you love making people feel that way, too. Genuine connection is key, and it’s the easiest, most affordable, and best way I know of to build a following that’s authentic AND that’s continuing to grow over time.

Plus, it’s always good to remember that online growth isn’t necessarily all about numbers it really is all about connection. Growing an engaged following can pay off in way more ways than just one, and it’s key to your success as a business owner in the digital age. 

Last but not least: Don’t Give Up!

Now, go do it! And, while you’re at it, come to say hi to me over on socials so we can be genuine friends there, too.

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Meet YOUR HOST

SONJA THORSVIK



I started my own entrepreneurial career in 2012 scaling up from $0 a year to over $100,000 each and every year. I firmly and wholeheartedly believe there are ways for all of us self-employed entrepreneurs to reach six-figures and beyond and I'm unapologetically here to show you how I do it so you can make your next best move. Let's go.

foUNDER of gigging for gold
i like my coffee black
@sonjathorsvik

Obsessed With Increasing Your Odds of success