• Good question. There's a bunch of questions this week on engagement. Let's start out with a few truths. A few things we absolutely know to be true. As you're following grows, engagement falls. That happens with every person on Instagram. We have seen that trend for five years, for as long as we've been watching it.

    As your following grows, your engagement percentage will fall. That is to be expected. If you have a similar amount of followers but you're getting less engagement, go back to a lot of the stuff that we have talked about in the past of trying new things, of understanding that taste change and platforms change, and people just get sick of the stuff you're doing and maybe you need to change it up.

    There's a lot you can do from a content perspective to try and reinvigorate your following. Something else to remember is, thinking about why people like a post. We've talked about this before that there is no reason for your followers to like or comment on your post. If they see the post they get the same benefit out of seeing the post and not liking it as they do seeing it and liking it.

    The only reason they would like it is if they want to send a message to you essentially saying, "Hey. I saw this and I liked it." In a relationship that implies that they think you're going to see it. I think one of the reasons that engagement falls as the following grows is that people become less certain that you're even going to see that like. It's like spitting into the ocean.

    It's like it's not going to do anything and so people don't like it. Also, I think you have to continue to foster that relationship. Let me say, I think when a lot of influencers start out they are audience-focused. They say, "I want to put things out into the world. I have a point of view that is not represented. I have a unique sense of style. I have a story to tell. Whatever it is I have something to put out there. I think I can help people."

    They are focused on that audience. What do people want to see? I think as people grow and as that following gets more serious and as it becomes a business, something that you're making money off of, I think sometimes the mindset changes from being audience-focused to being me-focused. Influencers start to think, "How can I get more brand deals? How can I get a free stay at a hotel? Me. Me. Me. How can I get more followers?"

    What's crazy is they completely forget the thing that got them to have a following in the first place which is being audience-focused and focusing on delivering value to your audience every day and they start thinking about themselves. They start focusing less on the content and more on getting brand deals and more on schmoozing with other influencers or going to five events every night.

    That stuff is important but generally, you can see an influencer's rise and them getting busier with a fall in growth and engagement because they're no longer focusing as much on the content and they're not focusing on the audience. If things worked for you at one point and they're not working now it probably either means that you changed something that was working.

    I.e. You used to be audience-focused now your you-focused or something has changed in the world and you need to adapt to it. I.e. The style of photography or the thing that you're doing is no longer as popular and you need to evolve and grow. Look at those two things. What engagement is normal? Tim, do you put things up here?

    Tim: Yes.

    James: We'll put a chart up here of what the average engagement is for each following level. You guys screenshot that and see where you're at. Those are averages over 30 days. Take your last 15-20 photos, add all the engagement divided by the number of photos, divided by your following number. That's your engagement percentage. Benchmark it against these.

    It's a good question. What makes me like a photo? First, I would ask yourselves that. Go to your Instagram, go to your settings, go to photos I liked, and look through it. If you're not on a liking spree, trying to get people to engage with you, I think what will surprise you is how few photos you like. I like a handful of photos a day and usually, it is either, again people I have relationships with who I want them to see that I saw it.

    They are announcing something exciting, there's some life change or they just look great or have a cool photo. I really do feel like they're going to see it and so it is maintaining that connection between myself and the person I know. That's usually the only reason I like something. I think you know with the algorithm, I have started liking photos a little bit more of accounts that I want to see more often. That is something that drives my behavior as well because I know the algorithm does take into account if you're visiting their profile, liking their photos, commenting on it. That's probably another driver for me. I think I've maybe misspoken when I talked about relationship. There are people online that I feel like I have a relationship with who I've never met or spoken to, but I've been following them for years and I still feel like I have a relationship with them even if we've never DM'd or anything like that.

    Somehow they've created that connection. I'm sure that is what you'll have done with your audience. They feel connected with you. Maybe some of you'll think we have a relationship, we don't, but maybe you feel that way. Look at that. Go to your liked photos and ask yourself for each of them, "Why did I like these?" and try and use those learnings in your own feed. We say something here at four all the time when we're talking about sales and strategy and we say that, "The specific is universal." So if you can find a specific example, why did you like this photo, you can probably extrapolate that out much further to why anyone would like any photo.
    Episode #128
    - Average Engagement Percentages, YouTube Rates, Event Attendance