13November

Rethinking Engagement and Hashtags – When what you know is not enough

Posted by - Bess Obarotimi

You’ll find that one of the most challenging elements of building your brand through content marketing will be to get your content seen and appreciated in the form of likes, comments and shares.

Now, the gurus will recommend you engage with other content and that you use hashtags to build visibility. In my opinion, that works, but it is not enough. I’ll explain a little why I think engagement and hashtags work before I go into why you should rethink them,

How Engaging brings your Brand Leverage

To begin with let’s talk about ‘Engaging’. It works twofold. Firstly if you engage with the social media community, over time, you will develop relationships. It could be business relationships or otherwise but those relationships will become meaningful and good things tend to come out of meaningful relationships.

What you will also find is that if you engage, particularly in the form of adding comments to content that you see, not only will the content author see your comment but you will stimulate curiosity in others who are also engaging on that particular content. Others will look at your comments and if they agree or disagree they may feel it necessary to visit your profile. If on your profile you have content that they find valuable. Chances are they will engage with you further.

Essentially by engaging, you increase the probability that you will resonate with other social media users and form new relationships.

The Importance of Hashtags to Brand Visibility

You’ll also get fantastic results from using hashtags. Because content is uploaded in the millions, you don’t just come across a particular type of content. Social media users go looking for specific content. Hashtags tend to be the way they will find it. So it stands to reason if you are using the right hashtags on valuable content, you will increase the engagement potential of your content and the numbers who will follow your brand.

The Drawbacks

However, as I say, as useful as engaging and hashtags can be, they do come with some limitations I have found.

Let’s take for example engagement. It’s quite likely that when spend time engaging with other content creators, you’ll discover that many of them you engage with have a similar aim as you. That aim being, to create content that will build a loyal audience and a profitable business. What that also means is that the majority of the time they have no real plan now or in the future to be your customer. I am not saying it is unlikely. I am saying the probability is low. It is more likely that they want you to be their customer.

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Bringing the focus to building brand Loyalty

Hashtags, on the other hand, do the job of getting your brand visibility but it’s not the reason that fans become loyal. It goes much deeper than that.

Another limitation that exists when engaging with other brands and using hashtags that bothers me deeply. I have spoken about this before in my vlogs, and you may have experienced it yourself. On social media, you’ll find people will engage with your content solely for what they can get out of it from you. They participate because they want your engagement and your follow back. Frequently, they have no intention of actually becoming your brand fan. Even worse, once you decide to subscribe to them, they unsubscribe from you.

I find all the engaging with brands only to be followed and unfollowed back tiresome. Besides, it simply does not tie in with the overall objectives of the business.

I want to create useful content about Content Marketing for business people and entrepreneurs. I want this group of people to be able to use the information I provide to build their brands. I also want them to keep coming back for that information because it is valuable to them. I don’t need likes on a post or follows on my profile. I want a satisfied social media community. The likes and follows should be a confirmation that I have done achieved that.

Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.
Norman Vincent Peale

Where it can go wrong

I genuinely believe if you are doing content creation right there is an aspect of your content creation that attracts and retains customers. And what I am about to share should be given higher priority than using the right hashtags and engagement, that is if your ultimate goal is to attract dedicated audiences who will become your customers.

When I began creating content for my business a few years back, my primary concern was to create content that I thought audiences wanted. With my business being building brands through Content Marketing, and of course, there’s the web design arm of my company, the content that I created was primarily to get customers to notice me. Creating content that I thought audiences would want is a no-brainer.

To that end, there were two key ways I would resort to finding content ideas. The first was to list ideas based on all the information I knew. The second way was to source content ideas by observing what was already out there and how well it performed. In my mind, a combination of using viral content themes I discovered online, as well as my knowledge of content marketing, was what would attract potential customers.

For me, the first issue with these methods was this. My subject knowledge was, for the most part, an accumulation of content already out there. The other point was that I was always troubled by the fact that I was creating content that was highly likely to have already been written already. That would mean my content would be nothing new. A lot of the time, I was bored by recreating existing content.

Consequently, I believed I wasn’t providing my audience with a compelling reason to remain loyal to me. They could go anywhere for the material I was sharing. I had to do something new.

I am not using advertising to leverage my brand. I am using advertising to leverage the publicity of my brand. I simply want more publicity.

Audiences want differentation

I have come to realise that the only way to share something new or fresh is by doing a few things.
I highly recommended that you share your personal insight. No one can come close to your perspective when it differs from the multitude. So you must share your personal opinion and experience even if it contradicts what the masses think or are doing. This type to me is gold.

Do not hold back in going against the grain with your content. Don’t think, “I am not going to share my insight because it is too valuable. I’ll share it only if I get paid for it.” or “I am not going to share this content because no one else is doing it and someone might steal it.” No. Bring something new to the table. Bring your original and fresh insight. If your perspective contradicts others, that’s good. Bring it. Bring everything that is entirely you. No matter how small or big you may think it is. That’s what audiences want. That’s how social media works and that is what we call great content marketing.

Bring your BEST everyday

Always give away your best. Never hold back your best until you get paid for it. You’ll be surprised that even though you give away your best content, your audiences are still ready to pay for it when you package it in an orderly format.

Audiences will still want to become your customer when you give them content you have already shared but in an organised manner such as books, webinars and events. Because remember, content shared on the web is a mass of information that users have to find. It’s usually unorganised, and they miss parts of the puzzle. So they pay for it when you provide it in a useful, organised manner.

The ‘Thank You’ Economy

What successful content creators realise is that we are in a ‘Thank you economy as Gary Vaynerchuk has put it in his book. I haven’t read the book where Gary Vee speaks about the concept of the ‘Thank You Economy’ but having followed him online as well as having read other books he has written; I am going to guess that he provides crucial insight into why social media communities will reward content creators for providing highly valuable content without constraint.

The Thank You Economy
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Heart filled, robust and consistent content attracts customers.

It’s so much more fulfiling when the content you create comes from the spirit of your brand and not when you try to piggyback off of what others are doing. And, it’s also so much more memorable. Give audiences this type of content, and they will thank you for it. Eventually, you will be able to monetise that thanks.

Content that is sought after goes beyond what everyone else is doing. Deliver your story. Share your passions. Tell the world about your ideas. Moreover, do it hard and do it well.

What customers want from your content essentially

What I have found is that customers want real content. They want content that comes from the heart of your brand not a remake of another brand. On top of that they that want content to be executed with quality and consistency.

To become a valuable brand, you have to deliver content that attracts people and keep them around. Create content that touches lives profoundly, and customers will seek you out. They’ll share your content because it’s unique. It can’t be replicated, and it hasn’t been done before.

Why it is more than hashtags and engagement.

As I have said, it’s good to engage and use hashtags. Engagement makes social media what it is, and hashtags make it easier for potential customers to find you. However, as an emotionally provoking and unique brand, you will have influence.

Audiences will keep coming back to your brand for exceptional content. It’s a win-win.

Share your experiences of using Engagement and Hashtags to attract and retain loyal customers. What other methods have you adopted to develop the relationship with your customers?

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