A lot of my one-on-one clients that are just starting out ask the same question, how do you get engagement in the beginning? While there are several ways to do this, I like to engage in my method that increase trust and likability for you from your audience.
The first step to do this is to gain trust.
This is critical and extremely important when you are wanting to engage your audience, especially when you are first starting out and your followers have no idea of who you are, what you do, and how you can benefit them. Gaining trust is the first thing to do because you want your followers to know who you are before they can be positively impacted by your work.
Think about it. You walk into the mall and see vendors giving out skin creams. They stop you and ask you what you are using. I get these questions a lot, and it bothers me because they have no idea who I am, and I don’t feel like I trust them or know their brand or product enough to give that information first of all.
So, how can you gain the trust of your audience?
My number one tip is to research.
You want to do the proper research as to what trends and what topics people are wondering about in your specific niche. For example, if you are a mindset coach, you want to research what people want to know about mindset tips and hacks. If you are a photographer, you want to research what people want to know about photography.
My two favorite places to do research are Pinterest and YouTube. Google is way too big, so I never search on google! YouTube will give me a general sense of what people are looking for in my topic, and Pinterest will give me what my ideal client actually wants and needs.
For instance, I am a social media strategist, so I can either go on YouTube or Pinterest and search “social media.” When I do that, a lot of things will pop up, and I can see what people are wanting to learn and what people are wanting to know. I will take those same topics, and I will give my own answers, lessons and advice to those topics and questions. Then, I will go and post about that on my social media through posts, stories, and videos! Basically, whatever I can do to put myself out there and prove my authority.
When you start by giving free valuable content off of what people are wanting to know in general, your current audience will see that you are an expert and that you are beneficial to them and their business.
The second step is to be consistent.
You have to be consistent in everything that you do. You don’t want to be posting on Instagram one day and then suddenly fall off the grid. Nowhere to be found. Trust me, I have made that mistake, and it took me awhile to get back on and regain the trust of my audience.
Once you have built enough confidence, make sure that you audience is now alert to your content, aware of your content, and looking forward to your content.
Think about your favorite blogger or influencer. Let’s say they have been giving you valuable content on a consistent basis and out of nowhere... silence. You hear crickets from them. You have already gone into the habit of looking forward to their posts, trainings, and whatever else of entertainment they can give you. If they just fall off the grid and a month later their back, as a follower and a supporter you are probably asking the question, do they actually care?
What I want to tell you is to doing step one enough times so that you have built enough confidence but also enough traction that you are able to build trust and engage your audience all the while growing your audience. Once you have built enough confidence, make sure that you audience is now alert to your content, aware of your content, and looking forward to your content.
One way to know if your audience is more aware of your presence is by measuring the engagement that you are getting. When you see questions, responses, and comments trickling in little by little – that’s how you know that you audience is fully engaged and is ready to hear more from you!
The third step is to just ask.
You audience likes to talk to you more than you know. They want to connect with you on a personal level. Once you have gained their trust, you WILL get responses in return.
Here is how you can engage your audience on Instagram:
#1 Use Call to Actions
Whether you are providing an offer or asking for feedback, always use a call to action in your content. You can tell them where to go next or what to do after they receive your content, so they have a sense of direction.
#2 Use Story Features
Take advantage of the polls, questions, and quiz features to engage with your audience.
#3 Send Followers DM
Go ahead and tell your new follower that you are welcoming them into your tribe! This will gain trust and open up a line of communication between the two of you.
For a more in-depth study and techniques to growing your Instagram, check out my course "Hustle the 'Gram" here - available now.