#137: Hearing Crickets? 5 Ways To Build Engagement With Your Audience

Sending emails and no one is responding? Posting to your Facebook group and just hearing crickets? In this episode, Michelle talks about 5 specific ways to build engagement – and why it’s so critically important. Register for Michelle’s free class on 2/24/21 “Create & Run Client-Generating FB Groups” at http://HealthCoachPower.com/fbclass

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Hello there, health coaches. We are back with another episode. This is part three in our series, all about running Facebook groups. Although today we're going to talk about a topic that actually expands beyond just Facebook groups and talk about engagement in general, but here's what I want to say first. Man, I am feeling some major motivation from all of you lately. Like the vibes are high around here. I'm just getting wind of lots of success, stories and movement that I can see in our health coach community. And that feels awesome. It feels like maybe just, maybe we're all coming out of our COVID quarantine funks. Like, is that possible? Could that be happening in any case?

I think it is high time that you start engaging with or re-engaging with your audiences. If the past several months or year has been quiet, if you've just been hearing crickets. Well, we've still got some snow on the ground here where I am, but spring is definitely coming and it is the time to get out in the world and be seen and be heard. But time after time, I want to sing a song time. After time, I hear health coaches say that they struggle to get that engagement from their audience. You know, it's like you send an email and nobody replies, maybe very few people even open it or you try to sell a program and nobody is buying or you post something on social media and it's just no response.

Okay. First of all, this happens to everyone. It happens to me all the time. Through the years, I've had to actually come up with different tactics for engagement, for garnering people's attention, bringing their eyes to me and my brand and overcoming what sometimes feels like lethargy, just based on what's going on in the world with people's busy schedules, et cetera. So today I want to share five tactics that you can use regardless of what platform you need more engagement with. And if you're here with me live, tell me in the chat area, where do you need the most engagement? Where are you struggling to get your voice heard the most? Is it your email list? It could be your Instagram or your talk following, you know, whatever it is or is it your Facebook group? Because today I am going to focus sort of specifically on engagement within a Facebook group, just for, with all of my examples, even though the tactics will apply to everything because Facebook groups like more than anything else, to me, it feels like a true audience.

It's where I connect best with my people with you guys every day, I get to see your faces and I truly feel like we are in a room together, which is super, super cool. Plus I am teaching a full length masterclass on how to create and run Facebook groups to earn you income. And that's happening soon. It's on February 24th. So, I figure why not talk about how these five tactics apply specifically to Facebook groups today. And if you want in on that free masterclass, there is still space. You can sign up right now, go to healthcoachpower.com/fbclass

So, let's get into these five tactics. And remember, they're going to apply to your email list to other social media avenues and even workshops or in-person events or when you're just speaking with people IRL, as my ten-year-old likes to say. Okay, so quickly, why is engagement important? It sounds important. Right?

Okay. And it feels good when people are engaging with you and your brand, But here's why it's important. Engagement breeds more engagement. Whether we're talking about someone that you meet online and you strike up a conversation with like that person is going to be more likely to feel like they know you trust you, maybe ask about your business rather than if you were just like a face on a screen and you never struck up a conversation at all.

Now, particularly when we're talking about social media engagement literally creates more engagement because the algorithms come into play your computer, whatever the big giant computer God in the sky is looking for. What is getting engagement on social media. So if you post something let's say into your Facebook group and nobody likes it and nobody comments that post is going to die. It's not going to appear in many people's feeds. So no one's going to see it. So no one's going to engage with it. But when you post something that gets like, like, like, like, like, like, like, like, like, you know, in a whole slew of comments, Facebook goes, oh, okay, this is popular. This is relevant with the audience. It's interesting to people. So they push it out into people's feeds. The algorithm starts to work in your favor, more people see it, and that leads to even more engagement. So just remember that engagement breeds engagement. All right. So how do we get that going?

Here's my first trick. I want to give you an example. Let's say that you have a Facebook group and you know, this could be for any target market. And let's say, you're going to post something about how don't forget to drink more water or make sure that you get your eight glasses of water today, you know, and you have a picture of a glass of water or something like that. That would be one way to create a post around hydration as the issue. Or, what have I had a Facebook group. And instead I posted a story, a couple paragraphs, maybe about being at my mom's house and how my son who likes to speak in acronyms told me ICTT as he walked out of the bathroom, looking very embarrassed. ICTT standing for, I clogged the toilet. He had clogged the toilet again. And it happens a lot because he's always dehydrated. The kid never wants to drink a glass of water.

So, there are three ways that people might engage with that post that I can think off of just like off the top of my head. First of all, they may actually talk about this idea of dehydration, which is the main point of the post, but I could also imagine people writing, oh my gosh, my kid does the same thing. Or I have this problem with somebody else in my family always clogging the toilet, or maybe someone's going to say, yeah, my kid speaks in acronyms too. How many of you were thinking that when I said, right, they're going to say, my kid speaks like, like he's texting and isn't that just like a sign of the times or what this generation is all about.

It does not matter if your audience engages about the actual health topic or about one of these sorts of tangential points, all the comments, all the likes will help your algorithm. And plus they help you get to know your audience better and understand what kind of content they want. What kind of things make them perk up and go, Oh, that's funny. Oh, that's interesting. Right? And then when you're actually within a Facebook group, not only does that post get more play, but your group gets more play overall. An active group is going to show up more in people's feeds a group where you have engaged or somebody has engaged. They're going to see more of the posts in their feed. So it's not just that one post that gets a boost, not a literal Facebook boost, which is an ad. I don't mean a paid ad, but it's going to get sort of a boost in the algorithm, but the whole group gets seen more when people engage. Okay. So that's my first tip for you. And instead of posting sort of a straight fact or a straight single layer of an idea, tell a story, share something from your personal life, some sort of anecdote. It can be something that happened to you. Someone... it could be a client story. You know, you don't have to don't use their name, anything. It could even be a made up story. As long as it's a good one. It will always, always be more interesting than just saying, drink more water.

Got it. Okay. Here's the second idea for you. When you think about people on their phones, on social media, reading their emails, whatever they're scrolling through quickly, right? So if they have to stop and think too much chances are they won't and they're never going to get to the part where they actually engage with you. So if you're going to ask a question, you got to make it fun and you got to make it really, really easy. So for example, in our upcoming Facebook groups, class that I mentioned earlier, I'm going to talk about having themed days of the weeks, just to make it easier for you to schedule posts. So, as an example, maybe every Friday is Friday wins, and your prompt every week, it's going to be something about like, what did you accomplish this week? Or what was the best part of your week or something like that. But depending on how you phrase that question, you might get a lot of responses or you may get zilch. So, maybe your prompt could be something like the thing I'm most proud of myself for this week is blank period.

And then in parentheses, fill in the blank. Now, I don't know if this question works for every single audience, but what I'm trying to tell you is this, that this format of fill in the blank is very, very effective, better than just asking the question, because there's something about the human mind, where we want to complete the thought we want to fill in that blank. And it puts it in such a way that a person just has to type a couple of words and it comes to them more easily. So, try a fill in the blank, prompt another way to do it, where you're asking a question, but you're making it fun and easy and fast is multiple choice. So, multiple choice could be something like my favorite dessert is A) dark chocolate, B) ice cream, C) fresh fruit or D) my husband doing the dishes.

Again, just an example. But if you know your target market, well, you can play off of that. And you could have a multiple choice question. That's like a little bit fun, introduces a couple of new ideas all at the same time and might spur some conversation, right? Some people are going to answer this. I'm going to be all about the chocolate. And that's going to be a great place for you to start talking about sharing recipes and things like that. Other people are going to say, D, I need my husband to do the dishes that are going to say, Oh, I wish my husband would do the dishes. And now you're often running on a whole other conversation thread right there, but it's all very valuable. Okay. So, try that fill in the blanks and multiple choice.

Here's another idea for you. I want you to try when you're posting to social media, try purposely, not talking about health or nutrition or food. I know you love this stuff. So do I, and I'm not saying that you should never talk about health or nutrition, of course not, but also try bringing in lines of conversation that your target market is really interested in. Like, they're probably interested in solving their problem, right. Of losing weight or clearing up their eczema or whatever. The reason is that they're engaging with you in the first place. But most of our clients are not huge food nerds. Like we are.

So, what are they nerdy about? Or, what do they really want to talk about right now? Example, if I was targeting a group of moms with school-aged kids right now, it's February, and it's a good time to bring up this idea of summer camps. Cause that's not every mom's radar. Like literally in my life, all my friends, parents of my, you know, my kids' friends have been texting, what camp are you going to? Is that camp going to be open this year? Oh, we did the first week in August. I mean, those texts threads go on and on. That would be a perfect thing to start a thread about inside your Facebook group or to talk about in general in your marketing, because it's on their mind right now.

So, that would be an example for that target market. Let's say that you're working with men in their fifties. Maybe you bring up the topic of some big car show that's happening or your new golf clubs or whatever it is that they are going to actually get excited about and have an opinion and want to say something, because that's the goal of getting engagement. You want them to say something to do something, to take an action. And again, engagement is engagement. Doesn't have to be around a health topic. Actually, find that perspective, clients feel more connected and they trust us more as their coaches, when they can see us as a whole person, not just a nutrition expert, not just a person who's like, eat more protein, but if they actually can get a sense of what we're all about behind that, they know, okay, this person is a really good fit for me.

Oh, I really resonate with this person on so many levels. You know, I want more of that. Is this making sense so far? Is this helpful? I hope so. Because so often coaches are like, I don't know what to post. I don't know what to write. That's not the best. So if you use these ideas, it's going to help generate, different things that you can write about and hopefully garner more enthusiastic response from everybody. Okay. Tactic number four. And I kind of hinted at this already, but this one's all about chocolate. It's true. And I'm only half kidding. When I say this, people don't want to eat healthy food. They don't really, nobody does. I mean, I do. You might, but people in general, they love their desserts, right? And they love their chocolate. So, when in doubt, give them a chocolate recipe. Talk about chocolate. Talk about an idea. Some way that you can do something with chocolate. I'll post pictures. Sometimes of the birthday cakes that I bake for my kids. They are not healthy at all. I mean, they're healthy because they're homemade and don't have any artificial colors, et cetera, but there's real sugar and flour in there.

That's still cool. Posts about things that they... Again, it's what they want to talk about. What's going to get them excited. And sometimes it gets them excited to see you. This so-called health and wellness, nutrition, expert person eating some cake. Okay. So talk about that. I like to post a picture of my favorite bar of chocolate. When I order, I usually order from Vitacost. I get who chocolate. Do you guys know that brand. It's the best. And I'll always post a picture about that. People are always interested. Ooh, what is that? I show the ingredient label, which is very clean. Anyway, chocolate is almost always going to get a positive response and you can extend this idea. Like you might have some lentil, kale bake that you've been eating leftovers all week because it's just so good. And it's been rocking your world, sorry to say this, but most people are not going to think that sounds so good.

And it probably doesn't look that good in a picture either. Cause it's just like a pile of lentils and kale. I know, I know it sounds actually like something I want to eat today, but to everybody else, it sounds boring. Even if it's delicious. Right? So talk to them instead about delicious smoothies, take beautiful pictures. Really make sure anytime you're talking about food, it looks good to the average person. Otherwise your audience is going to shy away and go, eh, this health foods stuff is for the birds. And like, I don't want to be involved with any of that. Okay, so very important. And I feel like the game on food photography has food. Photography has gone up and up and up through the years as like now our iPhones have such beautiful cameras. Everyone expects such beautiful photography online. So, I'm not saying you have to be a professional photographer, but I am saying I will take a moment to step outside and get some good natural light if I can, when I'm taking a picture of my food or just make sure there's no harsh shadows, we're just get some, you know, junk off the counter before I actually take the picture.

It all helps. Okay. Finally, to encourage engagement. Um, this is really cool. This is really cool to think about. You always want to give away your best stuff. You've probably heard me say that before, but instead of just going like here, you know, here's a recipe, you know, you're posting in your Facebook group or whatever, instead of just giving it away, ask, ask, who wants it? This is sort of a flip that you can do. Probably the same content that you're already putting out there, but try doing this. Don't give it away. Ask. So, whatever you have to share something of value, it's a link. It's a guide. It's a resource, it's a recipe, whatever it is, don't actually share it right off the bat in your post. Just say, hey, I have this thing and I think it's really great because XYZ or I think it could really help you with whatever. Do you want it? Leave a comment below. And then what happens instead of them just getting the thing you are going to give it to them, by the way, instead of them just getting it, they have to respond. They have to be active. And I think this is really cool because as coaches, that's what we are here to do. We're here to help people take action.

That's going to serve them. So, even in this very small way, you're not just passively handing them stuff, but you're making them say, yeah, I want that. Yes, I'm interested. They have, they can type one word me or yes, or whatever they're going to type in there. And then you write back if 20 people comment on that post, you can comment back to each individual, right? So that their name is tagged and they get a notification and then give them that thing that you were talking about. It feels so personal to be written to specifically, especially if there's other people that have replied, don't just reply to all of them at the bottom, give each one, your attention for two seconds. You can even copy and paste your reply. But I usually try to write something specific to each person if I can, because again, then it feels personal.

The other thing that's happening is this is driving up the algorithm in your favor because of all the extra engagement, both theirs and yours on that post, which I have done this as experiments in the past. And if I don't ask and I just say, you know, here's the thing. The post will get no comments or sometimes not even any likes if I do it the other way. Oh, all of a sudden I've got 1530, 60 comments. Cause it's just a lot of people saying yes, please. Yes, please. Yes, please. And me responding to them. And that's a way to really, really amp up engagement.

Donna Joy's saying, ah, this is so me right now just opened up my website too. Donna, I understand, especially when we have new properties out there, a new property, meaning a new website or figure a Facebook group is new. It's like a lot to sometimes get the ball rolling even for me, right? I've had, obviously I've had a business for 12 years as a health coach. And about once a year and a half or two years ago, I rebranded, I have a brand new website now. And with that, I actually lost a lot of old content that had been just sitting in the archives for centuries, it felt like. You know, we cleaned out a bunch of old stuff. I have a new URL. So it was almost like starting completely from scratch. And in the beginning, my website traffic was like way lower than usual. But every month as I create content, as I'm emailing my list, posting things into the Facebook group, driving people to my website, the visits go up, the search engines catch on like, Hey, this is an important site. People are going here.

People are spending time here. And then eventually you end up in those Google search results. So as I said, a million times already in this episode, engagement, breeds engagement. Okay. So remember with that last tip, instead of just laying it all out there, tell your audience what you have for them, make them work for it a little bit. They're going to actually, it's going to be better because they're going to be more likely to actually look at the thing if they've requested it, right? If someone's like, here's a thing for you. Oh, you know, here's a article. I want you to read. You're going to go, okay. You know, put it off to the side. But if they said, yeah, I want that article and you send it to them. They're much more likely to actually read it. So I think it does them,.. it's doing everybody a service when you do it this way. Obviously, it's doing you a service cause it's going to help your algorithm.

Shannon says, I'm working on my first freebie. I can put it on my landing page, but what about people already on my list? So when we create a freebie, we're trying to get new people onto our mailing list primarily. So I would put like 95% of your effort, Shannon into getting your freebie in front of people on your social media platforms, getting it in front of people on other people's platforms. Sometimes I have, I mean, we have all sorts of episodes about just this topic, but the idea is you want to get your stuff in front of new eyes. That's, what's going to help grow your list. However, you have a list, you just created a really cool resource. Yeah.

Why not give it to them? There's no downside. It's just like, not the place that you want to put most of your energy because of course they're already on your list. So in any case, in any case, I would offer it to them, but it may be cool to, instead of just giving it to them, say, I just made this thing. Do you want it? And if they're already on your list, they don't even have to opt in for it. Just if you have a small list, you can do stuff like this. Cause you're not going to get inundated with replies. You can just say, okay, reply, if you want it, I'll send it to you. And then just send it as an attachment back to them. You know, that way they feel like, wow, this person's awesome. She's emailing me directly. She's sending me stuff.

It's a much more personal than if you give a link and they have to go to your landing page and opt in. If they're already on your mailing list, there's no need for any of that. Jocelyn said, are we giving it to them as an opt-in or just as free content? I'm not sure exactly what you're talking about Jocelyn, but I think what you're saying is like, when I'm saying, ask if they want something and then you give it to them, anything, anything, it could, it definitely works well. If you're actually providing some sort of freebie, opt-in sure you could say, hey, I've got a free resource about whatever going gluten-free who wants it? People raise their hand. So to speak, they put a comment, you right back here it is. And you give them a leg where it's going to take them to an opt-in page.

That's one way to do it, but it doesn't have to be, you could say, Hey, I've got this great recipe for a Irish soda bread. Gluten-free Irish soda bread, you know, uh, St. Patrick's day is coming up. Right. And then who wants it? And again, then you can just share with them a link that takes them to the recipe. Or you can write back with like the actual recipe or, you know, whatever makes the most sense. Um, but the point is they ask and you give instead of just posting it in the first place. Okay. So, this tactic, again, can work on social media within your emails. If your email list is small, like I was just telling Jocelyn, ask them, but if they want something and they hit reply, um, or even in person. So, I would say, you know, when you're doing some sort of workshop in person or an online workshop, but you know, you're there in real time, you're presenting with people.

You can say like one way to do it is like in the olden days, anyway, we would print like a packet of like 30 pages like this and then staple them and Cola, Cola, and staple, or whatever costs all this money to do. And we get to our workshops. So you'd like pass them out. I don't do any of that when I give workshops. And even if it's a virtual workshop, I wouldn't do that either because it's just too much stuff. But when I would say you can do is you can have your have your workshop. And when a topic comes up, you could say, Oh, you know what? I have a great resource about this. Put your email here and let me know that you want it and I'll email it to you later. Right? So, if somebody wants what you're offering, maybe they're going to put their email in a box or write their email on a piece of paper or whatever you tell them to do.

Or you could say, um, I have this great resource, by the way, on this topic, if you want it, send me a message on Instagram and I'll get it to you. And then they're like, Oh, that's so easy. This person is so nice. All I have to do is send them a message on Instagram. And what did you just do? Not only did you get them engaging with you in general, and now you have a reason to email them back and maybe, you know, you throw one line in there to start a conversation, but now you have them engaging with you literally over the Instagram platform. Maybe they're following you now and they weren't following you before. So, I really like using this structure because I think it helps everybody just become more connected and more engaged overall. I think also it just makes you look like a nice person.

So listen, you guys today, we talked about five specific tactics that I use to build engagement with my audiences. I have even more of that specific to Facebook groups that I'm preparing to share with you during our free masterclass that's happening on February 24th. So go get signed up for that right now. It's that healthcoachpower.com/fbclass. Even if you can't make it live, sign up anyway, because this is an event that I'm running one time and one time only I will send you the replay, but it will not be available after the fact. So go do that now. And I will see you next week. Take care, everybody.