by Content Marketing0 comments

When the engagement on your social media posts suddenly tanks, panic mode quickly sets in.

For years, we’ve been told that engagement is the key to cracking social media, so it’s no surprise you feel that way.

The problem with this way of thinking about social media is that most people’s perception of engagement boils down to just two things – likes and comments.

I regularly see small businesses stressing about dips in engagement when they’re missing the bigger picture.

Likes and comments are just the public-facing versions of engagement. There’s much more to it than that.


Engagement includes:

  • Likes
  • Comments
  • Follows
  • DMs
  • Emails
  • Profile visits
  • Shares
  • Saves
  • Website traffic from social media
  • Downloads

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not knocking likes and comments. They’re an important signal that people are interested in what you have to say or sell. A thumbs up that your content has been powerful enough to provoke a reaction.

But they’re not the only thing that matters, and this is where having a marketers’ mindset is essential.

You see, good social media works to a strategy; you need to understand audience psychology, be analytical about the data, and adapt your content and goals accordingly.

You need to try REALLY hard not to be attached to vanity metrics and don’t get freaked out when things change.


17 reasons people don’t engage with your content:

  • Your content doesn’t speak to them
  • Someone else has already said what they want to say in the comments
  • They don’t want to put themselves in the firing line
  • They’re lurking
  • The time of year. It’s Christmas, Easter or summer. They’re busy.
  • They’re so engrossed in scrolling that they forget
  • The post is about you, not them (Spoiler: they don’t care about you)
  • You’re posting too often… or not often enough
  • You’re adding too many calls to action… ‘please tag, like, read, comment, share….’
  • You haven’t included a call to action.
  • Your content is stale and samey
  • You don’t engage back, so they give up
  • The platform is prioritising features you’re not using
  • They don’t understand what you want them to do
  • They need to jump on a Zoom call
  • They’re on the loo/in the bath/walking the dog/cooking dinner
  • The ad break ends


Anticipating the dips


As you can see, there are many reasons people don’t engage at any given moment. And understanding why this happens means you can prepare for it.

I know, for example, that engagement dips at busy times of the year – especially summer holidays – so there’s no need to be taken by surprise.

Instead, use the opportunity to give value to your followers without asking for too much in return. Create useful posts that they can keep or share. Stay relevant to their lives by being helpful and supportive.

Outside of busy periods, take a look at your analytics and look at which posts get less engagement. If your posts are tanking during the morning, you have a timing issue and should tweak your strategy.  For example, your target audience is school parents and you’re posting during the morning chaos.


Know what’s success looks like for your business


With a marketer’s mindset, you can view engagement objectively. I have two clients whose audiencea are not big on commenting, but they are making a lot of sales or filling out their events. Something’s working!

So stop wasting time worrying, and focus your energy on creating content that supports these goals.

There are hundreds of reasons why people might not engage with your posts, and that’s fine. Using data and a strategy will help you understand why a drop might happen and allow you to deal with the situation calmly.

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