Over the last few years, I have really enjoyed creating content to share my thoughts about brands and IP because that is how I refine my thinking and develop new ideas. In the process, I have come up with a framework that moves the needle for business owners. It’s a product called Brand Tuned, which my next book will cover.
Yet in consistently putting out content on a range of social media platforms I have sometimes wondered whether there is any point in continuing these marketing efforts given that I do not get a lot of engagement on any of the platforms. There is the odd hit piece of content, but as a rule, I might typically get 4 or 5 likes on a LinkedIn update for example.
Is it worth continuing is something I ask myself a lot?
Although they say not to compare yourself to others, it is difficult not to do so, and to feel you are lacking in some way. Inevitably I have found myself wondering what content would have more impact.
I know Gary Vaynerchuk’s advice is to engage more with others’ content if you want engagement with your content. He should know. He runs a 1000-person social media agency. So, that’s something I definitely intend to try, but so far I’ve not made time for it because there are so many other priorities, such as running my business, producing the content I’m putting out on social, overseeing the delivery of client projects, writing my new book, creating my new product – Brand Tuned, and a myriad of other things, such as doing a marketing plan for my upcoming book as my publisher expects a really robust one.
Overcoming the Temptation to Give Up
I have often been tempted to give up. Why not save my time, and just not do any social media marketing? This was my thought when a video guy once remarked to me that my content was not getting much engagement. At the time I thought, ‘if he’s judging my content in this way maybe others are too’? So, am I doing myself more harm than good putting out content that is seen to not be engaged with? Should I continue? Is this person’s judgement an indication of what everyone else is thinking? Is there any point to my providing education and information for the world to freely take and use?’
You may wonder why I continue to put out a weekly video, a weekly blog, get my team to create content from it to share on all social media platforms given that it feels like nobody cares about what I’m putting out if you measure it by the number of likes and comments.
It is because I know this is a long-term game, and deep down I am confident the lack of massive engagement does not really matter, that I continue.
Likes and comments aren’t the right metrics to focus on for anyone. Anyway, I feel I can plug some of the gaps down the line once I double down on one or two channels. I am still developing my ideas and working out what I can do to really move the needle for entrepreneurs and business owners when it comes to supporting their business journeys. I feel I am nearly there.
In the meantime, what gives me the courage to continue is that I get plenty of work coming through which I attribute to my blogging and social media efforts. These put me top of mind for people who know me from other areas of business life. They notice my content even though they do not necessarily do anything to engage with it. However, they turn to me when they need IP support because in their minds I am associated with IP and brands. Given that I am everywhere online, I am there in front of their noses wherever they hang out, so that when they have a need for services that I can help with, they contact me.
Often someone will tell me they noticed a video I had put out, or that my content is amazing. You could knock me down with a feather is my thought when anyone says this to me because they have never once liked or commented on my stuff anywhere on social media.
In my quest to be omnipresent, I have gone on to produce a podcast Brand Tuned – Successful Brand, Successful Business. It does not get massive numbers of downloads judging from the download figures other podcasters occasionally mention getting. So, I know there’s room for improvement. I should be featured on other people’s podcasts, improving my interviewing skills, and taking other actions.
However, I try to focus on the positive, that I’ve got a podcast out there, that it’s gradually getting more known, that it brings me to the attention of people who would otherwise not notice my content.
The thing is you cannot do everything well from the get-go. We have all got strengths and weaknesses and can grow and learn until the day we die. Continuous improvement is something to strive for in every facet of the business, if not in life.
While there are different schools of thought about the right way to approach social media marketing, I have my own views.
Some say you should just focus on the most important social media channels for your business and double down all your efforts there. For me, that would probably be LinkedIn and Twitter.
Apart from the low engagement levels, I seem to be doing well enough on LinkedIn judging from the fact that my Social Selling Index Score is in the 80s. I have even been granted access to LinkedIn live which I’ve not yet used because I really can’t find time to think what a good approach to use for LinkedIn lives would be. I do not prioritise it because I do not see the point of doing a live video when I might, at most get a handful of live listeners. Why not just record a video instead? Why do all these social media platforms get us running around doing live videos? Haven’t people got better things to do than to watch live videos?
Approach to Social Media
On balance, although it is sound advice to double down your efforts to one or two platforms, I do believe it is more important to be everywhere first. I guess I prefer to build an omnipresent brand, while gradually focusing on one or two platforms more because if things were to suddenly change so that your preferred platform disappeared, I wouldn’t want to start from scratch on a new platform. Better to keep a presence on them all and then home in on improving your presence on your one or two platforms of choice in due course.
From time to time I buy books on how to increase LinkedIn effectiveness, and I implement one or two ideas. However, I have learnt that there are no silver bullets. I suspect the answer to getting engagement is exactly what Gary Vaynerchuk outlines in his video This requires a lot of time because you have to identify posts to engage with on 10 different hashtags and leave thoughtful comments, several times a day for 3 months. I’m still trying to find a way to implement this that gets my team doing some of the heavy lifting but so far, it’s not been successful, probably because I’ve been half hearted about it.
This is partly because I am aware that the nature of people’s content does impact the engagement they might expect. My content is probably not built for massive engagement compared with someone who is selling something that people are struggling to do, such as to get more traction on LinkedIn, or to learn how to invest in property without having a large sum to put down as a deposit or the like.
Much of the content that I have traditionally put out has focussed on how the law impacts people. This means people will either unfollow me if what I say makes them uncomfortable (because they learn that what they’re doing is not correct for example), or they’ll take note but not necessarily engage to indicate that they’ve taken note. At some point down the line when they see a need for it, they’ll reach out to me.
As mentioned, I have already concluded from what people say to me, that there are a lot of silent listeners out there. They are paying attention, but they are busy thinking about other things, it is a noisy world, and people are only half seeing all the content out there.
At the same time, I am constantly exploring putting out different types of content to assess what content gets the most interest.
Why Am I Writing This?
You may be wondering why an intellectual property lawyer is creating content around how to promote your business online. Well, that’s because the brand building is very much part of what I seek to help my clients to do. My new book will discuss this aspect of my work in more detail.
It is not generally well known that intellectual property refers to many different assets, not just to patents and inventions. In fact, the most relevant form of intellectual property to every business is their brand. The brand is entwined with copyright, trademarks and building your presence online. My approach to IP sits very close to marketing and advertising.
You see the name you use to identify your products and services is the lynchpin to your marketing activities. If you are not using a name that works from an intellectual property perspective, it is like having a colander instead of a container supporting your marketing. You would be pouring time and money straight down the drain if you are using the wrong type of name. A large portion of your marketing time and money will feed your competitors marketing budget instead of putting your business at centre stage.
Also, you need clarity to build your brand, and brand strategy is something I very much help my clients with using our Brand Tuned offering.
Small businesses do not have resources to waste so before you consider how to market your business make sure the IP fundamentals are in place. In this post, I do not discuss these but there are posts on the Azrights site that point you in the right direction such as
The world of content is getting noisier and noisier. It can be difficult to make an impact, but it will be doubly difficult to do so if your brand is hard to find once people become aware of you.
That is why sorting out your brand name and strategy is so important. You also need to address how to combine your business, product, and personal brand to best effect, and get all your social profiles set up in a consistent way before getting started. When your resources are limited, it is even more important to be strategic, so you make the most of your content.
If you would like to know more, sign up to my next webinar Establish your Brand Strategy which takes place in August.
How are you tackling your brand building? I would love to know. Do leave me a comment