Engagement: Can You Reach Your Tribe Without It?

Engagement: can you reach your tribe without it?

Well, that depends.

Social media started it—this fascination with “engagement” as the gold standard for how well you’re positioning yourself with your digital tribe.

On its face, that’s a good thing—share and follower metrics can drive your focus on giving your audiences what they value most from you.

But in reality, clicks and likes and shares and retweets and followers have become THE defacto measure of how your consultant/advisory brand is faring.

And that’s just wrong.

Because when you’re selling wisdom, it can’t be short-term only.

You have to think bigger.

Like connecting to the true meaning of the word engagement: to incite an emotional involvement with your audience.

THAT is the holy grail of consultant and advisory tribe-building, branding, marketing and selling.

It starts with your big idea—what is it you want your audience to feel or become after they’ve experienced you? Because the best brands—and most especially wisdom brands—focus on serving their audience. They are constantly improving—transforming even—the lives of the people they touch.

Once you know—deeply, profoundly and viscerally—what your best audiences value most from you, you can thoughtfully pinpoint your sweet-spot: the clients and buyers who are craving EXACTLY the change you’re brilliant at delivering. (Hint: think demographics and psychographics—values, attitudes, personality and lifestyle—what combination defines your ideal audience?)

Only when you’re exquisitely clear on your market can you confidently—and consistently—go after it. To know how and where to best build your visibility and relationship with your ideal people—email, social media, digital media platforms and more.

Sure, you’ll measure likes and retweets and follows as a proxy for emotional connection, but you know that isn’t enough. You’re too smart to let “likes” drive every piece of your strategy and tactics.

Because that’s a slippery slope. Before you know it, you’ll just be rehashing what’s popular vs. expanding your unique brand of genius. You’ll fall prey to using clickbait only and spending your spare time A/B testing instead of driving value for your sweet-spot. (Note: this quote by data scientist Jeffrey Hammerbacher should give us all pause: “The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads.”)

And then there’s this: sometimes, your tribe may not be particularly fond of engaging publicly. That’s not necessarily a bad thing—private engagement with your sweet-spot can build more intimacy and trust than a public outing. Which is yet another reason why measuring your success solely by an externally visible yardstick may not do you any favors.

So yes, be highly visible to your tribe in ways they value. Keep marketing and distributing your content. Write powerful headlines.

And track your metrics. Just don’t let the wrong ones dictate your moves.

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7 Responses to Engagement: Can You Reach Your Tribe Without It?

  1. Joe Abraham says:

    Insightful post. Thank you.

  2. Corey Bearak says:

    I am advising a political race in NYC and this phrase from above captures it all: “incite an emotional involvement with your audience.” The best pols do just that. I tend to engage in direct off-line connection, using email, texts and the occasional Facebook message when I lack email.

  3. Rochelle says:

    Love it Corey–thank you!

  4. There is more wisdom in this story than I have seen in a long time regarding social media

  5. Rochelle says:

    Thank you Jerry 🙂

  6. anne says:

    Indeed. While these tools are essential, you aren’t writing for an algorithm, you’re using social and content for relationship building.

    Let the tail wag the dog, and your audience will sniff that out and leave.

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