So you’ve finally decided that it’s time you became a content creator full time. Grrreat!

Right, then. What comes next?

You decide you need a new email, and set up new social media channels.

Right, what next? 

You take some pictures and write engaging captions. You think they’re bomb and the world is not ready to handle you.

Oof, amazing. What next?

You WhatsApp some of your closest friends to follow your new socials and spread the word. After all, what are friends for, right?

Okay, what next? 

You post your content and it’s live. It’s out there in the universe, and now you sit and wait. The like counter and the share button just has to start rising. Surely?

1 like! Yay!! Oh wait, that’s just your mom. (Hey Maa!)

First minutes, then hours, and then days go by. Your likes are in single digits and there are 4 comments on your post. Three of them are by bots, and the last one is your mom again (she is really proud of you, isn’t she?).

And then you learn the most important lesson of being a content creator. Social media engagement is more than just getting your friends to engage with you. You need more. 

So, what gives?

FYI, the story above may or may not have come from a place of personal experience ?

Using psychology to get more social media engagement 

If there’s one thing, all content creators, big or small, fear like the plague, it’s low or no engagement. When starting out, engagement is the most difficult thing to achieve. But low content engagement isn’t just for small creators or new influencers. 

Studies have shown that macro accounts with 500K+ followers or more see a significant dip in their engagement as their followers start to increase. While this study focused on Facebook followers, all the creators who have the OCD to check their analytics every damn minute will know the feeling. Whether it’s Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube, content engagement is hard to achieve. 

So, is all hope lost? 

Do we really have the attention spans of goldfish, and should you give up even before you started? 

Oh, heck no! 

That’s where you harness the power of psychology.

See, there are millions of Instagram photos being posted every day. Hundreds of millions of tweets are being tweeted every day, and we have even stopped counting the Facebook shares since our parents took over that real estate.

There is so much content that you really need something different to stand out and get people to engage with you. How? By using these tips taken from psychology. Whether you are just starting out, or have been in the content game for a while, the tips are for everyone.

1. Get that social proof going

For those of you who don’t know what social proof is, we wrote about it here.

Human brains are biassed and have a herd mentality. They’re programmed like that for a reason, and you can blame evolution for that. We believe other humans have more knowledge than we do, so we follow the herd and do what they do. The more people we hear, see, suggest, or talk about something, the more we are inclined to do so ourselves. 

So, if you’re a brand or a creator who wants strangers to believe in you or your product, you should use social proof. How? Well, that entirely depends on you. 

  • You can show your face. Images with faces draw more people. 
  • You can post pictures that show people interacting with you.
    • If you are a beauty influencer, answer some common questions everyone faces. 
    • If you are into photography or travel, share some tips for your skills. 
    • Post screenshots of reviews of anything you sell or repost conversations, thank-you messages, and reviews. 
  • If you have numbers to show for yourself, then post those numbers.
    •  Numbers of clients, number of brands collaborated with, anything really. 
    • If you have a significant number of followers on one social media platform, share that on another. 

Don’t go about making your profile a cesspool of digits, though. Keep them relevant to your audience and what they might find useful.

2. Use emotions to increase engagement

Coronavirus might be contagious, but so are emotions. Happy, sad, angry, or fearful, all emotions are transferable, even through your content. So, why not use that to your advantage?

  • Share happy moments, milestones on your social media. It can be you hitting a few hundred followers on Instagram or getting your first order. Share your little wins and your happiness. That will make people engage with you as they show you their support.
  • Maybe something enrages you. Share that and get people involved. Include everyone’s point of view and keep it civil. Then watch your engagement go through the roof. 
  • Now, beware, sadness and fear are sensitive issues, so tread carefully. Talk about things you have enough knowledge about, not just what is in the trend.
  • Then there’s the funny, quirky stuff. People are more likely to engage with funny content than with bland content. If you have humour, let it trickle into your online personal. 

3. Harness FOMO for a jump in social media engagement

Now, FOMO, or Fear Of Missing Out is one of the most powerful ways to get people to engage with you. FOMO is real and is the reason we keep our faces shoved into our phones throughout the day. 

  • If you are promoting a brand you love something, then tell your followers that if they don’t follow your call to action, that is, to BUY NOW, they might miss out on it. People hate to miss out on something. 
  • Ask them to turn on that bell notification. Eliminate all possibilities of people missing out on your updates and content. According to research, the bad feeling of losing out on something is worse than the good feeling of getting something. 

So use this fear to your advantage. Create exclusive groups for people who engage with your content. Invite them to Lives or give access to exclusive behind-the-scenes of what you offer. Maybe invite them to meetups. 

In this way, followers who don’t engage with your content will see that it leads to them missing out on even bigger and better things.

4. Give back to the community

There’s nothing more people love than getting some value on social media.

  • Have a giveaway. They have a nice appeal, skyrocket your engagement and they are a good way to give something back to the people.
  • If you are a creator, then share your skills, your journey, and the things you have learned. The more truthful and authentic you are, the more likely people are to accept it. This creates a loss aversion in their mind, making them respond positively to you. 

Keep in mind that you are not just doing random acts of kindness. Doing social good has a direct impact on your engagement rates. 

5. Build an inclusive community

A social media following can be powerful. And, again, it’s not about size. A few hundred active, engaged followers are much more powerful than a thousand bot followers, so those numbers should not bother you.

  • People like to feel included. Create a community by reaching out to your followers, talking, and replying back to them. Solve problems if you can, or just engage your followers. The feeling of inclusivity induces loyalty.
  • A sense of connection between you and your followers will lead to higher engagement rates. Hold polls, live sessions, or AMA’s – the sky is the limit. 

A lot of ways to use psychological tricks to increase engagement

There’s a lot of room for experimentation, so knock yourself out and have fun finding what works for you. Also these tips to increase social media engagement are not set in stone and are just meant to be rough guidelines. 

Think of them as your North Star while you travel across the arid deserts of low social media engagement. The guidelines will give you a direction, but won’t stop you from falling in a ditch if you don’t check where you are going every now and then. 

Remember, all things fall into place as long as you put in the effort and don’t forget to do your thng!