When you put together a marketing plan, everything that you put out into the world feels exciting and, more importantly, something you get to check off of your list. Unfortunately, your marketing strategy shouldn’t stop abruptly after your social media for the week has been scheduled and you hit “publish” on your most recent blog post. To keep people in your sales funnel, engagement should be a key component to your marketing plan.
Why Engagement Matters
Can you imagine if you called a local business, left a voicemail saying you wanted to work with them, and they never got back to you? It would be weird. And you definitely wouldn’t want to work with them anymore. Well, the same concept applies to how you engage with your audience across your content platforms. If a member of your following responds to a blog post or comments on a social media post – there’s a temptation to leave them hanging. Usually this isn’t because you don’t care about them! In fact, it’s the opposite. You’re so busy working with clients, growing your business, and creating more stellar content for your audience that you just forget. Or it gets put on the back burner.
Putting engagement and content marketing response on the back burner is a mistake because people respond better to you when they see you’re engaging. And that doesn’t just go for the person who initiated the interaction. If 20 people have commented on an article you shared on Facebook and you haven’t liked or replied to any of their comments, the person who is just exploring your page will make note of that. They’ll see that you don’t respond to your following – that you aren’t regularly engaged with them. This doesn’t reflect positively on you or your business.
Why People Respond to Engagement
The answer to this is simple: people respond to your engagement because it shows you care. It proves to them that you’re not an auto-posting robot who’s too busy to take a look at your profiles or the comment section of your blog (or who hasn’t thought to outsource these tasks yet to someone who can respond for you in a timely manner). When you don’t respond in a timely manner, it shows your audience that you may not have time for them at all. This translates to the idea that you may not have time for them if they sign on as a client – ouch. Probably not the vibe you were going for when you created a content marketing strategy.
However, if you do respond to people when they engage with your content – some amazing things happen. People like you. They start to trust you. They get a sense for your one-of-a-kind personality. Every time you take a few seconds to respond to someone publicly, your entire audience sees that interaction. They see that you care.
Additionally, when you actively engage and respond on social media or other content marketing channels, you have an unprecedented opportunity to change people’s perception of you and your business. Whether you like it or not, there are probably people out there who aren’t sold on your services just yet. Maybe they see the value in what you do, but it isn’t for them. Maybe they are 100% unbelieving in the fact that you bring value to the table. Wherever they’re at emotionally – your engagement and response with content marketing is a chance to show them all the awesome things you do.
You now have the opportunity to show them how you effectively answer questions, or how many people respond positively to the content you publish out. You’re actively providing social proof to those who are looking for it in a completely organic way. There are no forced testimonials or client referrals going on – people who are on the fence about working with you can see on your social media or in the comments section that you’re a rock-star human being who knows what you’re talking about and cares deeply about people who have questions or comments.
Creating a Follow-Through Plan
Now, I’m not saying that you need to be Johnny On the Spot every single time and reply in less than a few seconds of each comment. If you have a particularly active following this probably isn’t even possible – and it would be exhausting to try. I recommend one of three strategies:
- Book out time for weekly engagement. This will work well if your following is small and engagement is sporadic. Having a morning every week where you check out comments on your blog posts, responses to an interview you recently participated in, or messages on social media can help you to prioritize the time (without drowning in social media response procrastination). Respond to each engagement individually.
- Book out time for daily engagement. This is probably the go-to solution if you find your notifications are consistently blowing up with likes, comments, shares, and more. Have an hour at the end of each day to respond to everyone who explored and engaged with your online presence that day. The positive feedback will end your day on an excellent note, and you’ll have a moment or two to address any negative feedback you may have received (fingers crossed that never happens).
- Outsource your follow-through to someone who has time to manage your online presence. Whether you’re actively on social media, or you just have content going out on podcasts, your blog, or YouTube, you need to be present when someone reaches out to you. But if you’re a busy owner, you probably don’t have time every day to check in and respond. There’s no shame in outsourcing your social media or marketing presence to a professional. They’ll be able to help you manage your presence, and in many cases they can take your engagement to amazing levels that you wouldn’t have though possible.