By Jack Kosakowski, eBRANDgelist
One common question I get asked all the time is, “How do I get engagement on my content?” This is something I was intrigued by from the day I made a commitment to having success on social media. It’s a question I think a lot of people are trying to figure out. I’m not one to sugarcoat what I think, so:
It can be somewhat deceiving to read a lot of the content out on social media right now. There is no way around the simple fact that success on social media is NOT EASY, and it doesn’t happen FAST! There are absolutely NO shortcuts on social media from a time perspective. Just remember… nothing good ever came easy, and social media is no exception.
You can build a personal brand at a high rate of speed from a vanity metrics standpoint. Don’t get caught up in the illusion that it can work the same way for a brand. This is just not true by any means. There is only one executive/employee at a “personal brand” and that is YOU! When you work at building engagement from a company brand perspective, it’s usually more conservative, and there are often many people involved in the approval process – which slows this process down and makes it a lot more strategic and formal. Also, brands can’t (or shouldn’t) rant or connect on social media like someone building a personal brand can and that limits the velocity of social media engagement. These are two separate strategies, with two separate objectives.
Brands are working towards revenue; most personal brands are working towards applause. Personally, both of these should be revenue focused but that isn’t usually the case. Brands have to fight the noise of competitors using content to drive revenue to cover their costs. Personal brands don’t have to worry about this, as they are the CEO of their own time and money. Brands have to figure out how to take all the resources and time they spend on social media creating, sharing, and strategizing – and show a return in dollars. This is not an option or there will be no budget for jobs and new campaigns in the future.
1. Time & Resources
You aren’t getting engagement on your content because you haven’t put in the time and invested money in the right resources. Personally, I run my personal brand as a “brand.” The amount of hours that I have put into social media, content, education, and engagement is 5x the amount I see some brands putting out. Now, I’m contradicting myself here from the previous paragraphs but I’m using this only for comparison reasons. I can put in the time needed, while having a full-time quota-carrying sales job. Your brand should understand the value of dedicating the time and resources into your social media plan. If you invest money and hire the right social media manager, you have now started your commitment on the path to get engagement. Keep in mind as well, quality content isn’t cheap. If you want good engagement … you have to pay someone to create quality, not quantity.
2. No Audience
Your content gets no engagement because you have no audience. This goes back to point number one. If you don’t spend the time and money on the front end to build the content and programming that draws a targeted audience, then nothing on the back end will get engagement. It’s funny to me that most of the brands or individuals that reach out to me and ask me the “content engagement” question usually don’t have any twitter followers or minimal likes on any of their social media pages. Build your audience first, and worry about everything else later.
3. Selfish Social
The plague that kills content engagement for almost every brand is… SELFISH SOCIAL! Now, if you want to build an engaged audience it’s time to get proactive. This is very time-intensive but it’s the only way to build an audience in the beginning. Identify the people you hope will engage with your content – and start sharing theirs. Go out and engage with your future audience and bring them into your network. Offer quality ungated content freely. Once you do that, then your gated content will start to see some engagement. Spray-and-pray social doesn’t work and just wastes your time and money. Proactive engaged social through sharing and advocacy of others is the way to build an audience and get the engagement you need to get a return (whether that return is monetary or applause).
Honestly, the reason why I love social media … It truly makes brands and individuals work hard at adding value in order to see success. The days of big brands pushing everyone out of the market by throwing big money at advertising (and gaining mindshare through clever commercials and endless repetition) are over. Now, the little guy that puts the time, sweat, blood, tears, and investment can take social media by storm and out muscle the big guy. It really doesn’t get any better than that!