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Why your Instagram engagement is dropping

Why you can’t rely on social media to bring in new clients

You might have found that your Instagram engagement has been dropping recently, or you might be thinking about switching to LinkedIn, TikTok or other platforms. But if you’re relying on any of these as a way to bring in new clients, you’re making a big mistake.

This is not an article on how to grow your Instagram following.

Instead, we’re going to show you how to actually get clients consistently.

The problem is simply that you’re relying on these platforms to get new clients in the first place.

“Just post more content”

There are six-figure, pro-business coaches whose entire strategy is based around posting more on Instagram. They’ll claim that if Instagram isn’t working for you, you’re just not posting enough, or you’re not being  consistent. Something else you might hear a lot is:

“You’ve got a mindset problem.’”

This is convenient, because it’s a totally unprovable claim that offloads any responsibility from themselves.

The trouble with this advice is that there is clearly a discrepancy between the amount of content produced and the number of followers. You’ll see some accounts of well-known people who’ve maybe only posted a couple hundred times but have hundreds of thousands of followers, and then you’ll see people who’ve posted two thousand times and have two thousand followers or even fewer.

Clearly, there is no conveyor belt strategy, where you just post more content and get more followers. Clearly, there is something else operating here. There is another aspect which can explain the results (or lack of results), something which we’ve seen happen before.

Why our Facebook posts’ reach tanked

Before Instagram was popular in the fitness industry, Facebook was widely-used. We were given pretty much the same advice as the some of the pro-business coaches use now for Instagram – to post as much as possible. We had grown our Facebook page to 18 to 20,000 likes, then pretty much overnight the reach on those posts organically tanked. Our posts had been seen by thousands, then the number quickly dwindled to hundreds, if we were lucky.

If you go far back enough, you’ll notice that all social media platforms seem to follow this pattern; a platform will give lots of free reach to businesses while they’re still growing in popularity and users. Once they increase their engagement and become popular with enough big brands to make money, they realise that they can now start charging for the same reach.

What happens if your reach suddenly dwindles?

And this strategy makes sense to the CEOs of social media platforms. If there’s an established platform, you need to give people a chance to be an influencer. Then, once you’ve started to get that critical mass of user base then you can start to introduce the pay-to-play and attack people’s reach.

We saw it happen on our page, where we would get one to two hundred likes per post, then one or two likes. And we’ve seen this happen to other influencers as well.

So, if you’re relying on that one social media platform to generate leads, then what will happen if your reach suddenly dwindles?

The three types of people on social media platforms

There are essentially three types of people on any social media platform. There’s you, and businesses like yours. Then there are users who will simply browse through the platform to view the content, following their favourite influencers, friends and family. Then there are the owners of the platform.

Ultimately, the owners of the platform just want you to be a serious enough business to give them ad spend and generate revenue for them.

The problem with relying on one platform

This business model is unlikely to change. It took us a while to realise this, but also forced us to find a different way of doing things – because if we’d just continued to rely on organic growth, we’d have been forced to jump from platform to platform multiple times by now, essentially starting again each time. And each time, it’s almost like learning a new language as you figure out what appeals to people on that platform.

If you’re an early adopter of a platform, you’ve got a window of opportunity to find out what that audience is looking for and do more of it. But the issue with this is that as everyone else joins and starts to learn the formula, it all becomes ineffective and you have to start again.

Vertical Video Content

Vertical video content is the latest thing, particularly on platforms like TikTok, where you’ll see personal trainers all pointing at words in the air and dancing along to the same handful of trending tunes. This generates lots of very similar content, with the result that not all posts get the same shot.

It’s not the same as if someone was on your email list, reading the content you personally picked out as being important to this audience.

What your closest followers see on Instagram

In our analysis, based on the structure of Instagram in 2022, we find that reels are for visibility, and we’ll often find that they’re most likely to be seen by non-followers. In contrast, almost all of the views on your posts are from your followers, and your stories are seen only by a small subset of your most engaged followers.

This means that reels are actually used for growth content, while posts are used for as content to nurture someone who is already follower, and who already knows your stuff, to get closer to buying. Stories or direct messages can then be used to actually convert those people.

Since the platform is the mechanism that controls who sees your content, it makes sense to have systems in place where you can get people off the platform and onto a place where you set the ground rules, rather than Instagram setting them.

And that’s where you use the systems that we teach to get a consistent lead flow, rather than being forced to generate content within the confines of Instagram.

How people consume content

People assume that having lots of followers or likes on social media is a proxy for your business doing well. But our attention span on social media is short. Social media is designed for people to scroll through and move between posts very quickly, looking for the next thing that will tickle their dopamine receptors. With this in mind, social media is not the place to have a serious conversation about how to transform a client’s physique, change their habits or show them that you’re the one to help them do this. Those trending reels aren’t what’s going to make the difference between a client choosing you or not. If you want to take the conversation further with a potential client, think about getting them onto an email list instead, or somewhere that you can speak to them.

Goal of social media

Social media makes its money by selling ad space, so it is in their best interest that your ads succeed. These platforms are good at knowing what exactly what their members are interested in, and what their habits are. So if the goal behind using your social media is to take people away from that platform and have a conversation with them elsewhere, create an ad with your best material that will be seen by thousands of new people, because it will be very relevant to a few of those people, who will choose to click through.

Our 14-day sales sequence

We teach a 14-day sales sequence which shows how we take people off social media and through the sales process, and convert a percentage of those interested in your product into buyers. Roughly speaking, if 100 people opt in to hear from you, this might lead to five people buying. You might end up spending £400 in ads, but making £1,000 back within two weeks. We think that’s a pretty good trade. And it also means you don’t have to spend several hours a day trying to replicate that same video every single other personal trainer has created on social media.

If you can create a reliable process to get people on-board with your programme, you’re set – no matter which social media platform you choose.

Full Guide

You can listen to more of our business content on our podcast.

We’ve created a video with further details on our method, covering topics such as:

  • Our sales and marketing process
  • how to pick a niche
  • how to run ads on platforms
  • how to get leads

You can watch this all here, free of charge: