Authentic Social Media
(Beware the yearning for validation…)
Most of the time, you do not get as much engagement on social media as you see other people get.
Why is that? Is it because people don’t like you as much?
That’s absolutely not the reason. You need to understand how the algorithm works…
When you are browsing the news feeds or home screen of a social media platform, you are only seeing the tiniest percentage of posts that already received more engagement than the average.
In other words, social media only shows you the tip of the iceberg, a few of the most popular posts, and you do not see the vast majority of posts that have near-zero engagement… no likes, comments, shares.
You have to understand that getting little engagement is normal.
Statistically, most of our posts are going to get less engagement than what we see others post. If we use the news feed (what we see) as our measuring stick, we’ll constantly be discouraged!
This brings up several important issues.
Are you allowing social media engagement to influence your sense of self-worth?
“I often say that Facebook stokes our early attachment wounds.” — Carissa Lane
If you don’t pay attention to this, you’ll easily make the false connection:
“If I get more likes or comments, it means I’m more worthwhile.”
With a moment of reflection, you can see how untrue that statement is.
Your worth as a human being is unlimited.
(Or if you believe there’s no self, then there’s no self-worth either!)
Most of the time we forget this, because society keeps us measuring our self-worth based on external approval.
Let me be one voice to remind you — detach your social media engagement from anything having to do with how valuable you are.
When we forget the above, we lose our groundedness, our authentic power: being able to express ourselves free of attention-seeking.
When you’re ungrounded from your authentic power, the world loses a moment of unique creativity from you.
It is an important practice, something I hope you’ll do everyday — to express yourself in connection to your deep, resonant truth.
You may find yourself ahead of your time… people won’t understand you. That’s ok. You’ve still added a piece of uniqueness in the world that will be appreciated in the future.
Sometimes, though, it just happens that an authentic expression of your deep truth also happens to resonate with others. In those relatively rare times, you get lots of likes, comments, or shares. Let this kind of generous engagement be a pleasant surprise… rather than a consciously-manipulated result.
So… should we NOT care about audience engagement?
I wouldn’t say that. It’s about a difference of intention:
The conventional way — “I’m unaware that I’m attaching my self-worth to the social media status I get, and so I will study how others are getting engagement and emulate the tactics of popularity, in hopes that I also get more engagement. When I don’t, I will feel discouraged or resentful, and either quit, or use more persuasion methods.”
The authentic way — “I will continually practice mindfulness knowing that it’s easy to attach self-worth to social media respect, so I will practice connecting to my source of infinite worth, and then create content from that authentic space. If it happens to resonate with others, what a delightful surprise! But either way, I will keep practicing authentic connection and creation.”
Continuing with the authentic way:
On an occasional basis (such as once a month), notice which of the content pieces you created got more engagement than usual. What topic was it? Or how did you approach that topic? And do you feel inspired, and in service, to create more content like that? If so, create more like that! But not until you first reconnect with your Source of worth, so that you can create from authentic expression, not because you expect another homerun.
Steps for Social Media Sanity:
- Before you post, reconnect for a moment with your Source of infinite worth, or whatever you need to remind yourself that you are not posting to get people’s approval.
- Practice expressing / writing / recording from your authentic self.
- Once you post / publish, go do something else… don’t keep checking to see if there is engagement! (This practice of ignoring the engagement will strengthen better boundaries. It increases your authentic power.)
- If you haven’t already, turn off notifications on your phone for likes/comments/shares.
- Check the engagement once in a while. The purpose is seeing what Topic or Approach is resonating with your audience. If there’s little engagement, just remember: by creating, you are practicing expressing yourself and that itself is valuable. The time for results will eventually arrive. That is certain.
- If there happens to be good engagement on something, consider distributing that content more widely, such as through Facebook or Instagram Ads.
- See it all as market testing and a long-term journey… and of course, nothing to do with how valuable you are as a person. It’s also no judgment on your skills, because you will inevitably keep improving if you keep creating.
- Oh, and don’t ask friends to “like” your stuff… this just creates more desperation!
Keep following these steps, and you will build a true fan base eventually who respond eagerly to just about everything you post!
Until then, remember: “The race is long but in the end, it’s only with yourself.” — Baz Lurhmann