Babies, Puppy Dogs and Kittens: Struggling to Find Engagement and Action in Social Media

Let’s face it, pictures of warm cuddly adorable things get more attention than subjects that are germane to my business.  In fact, measured purely on engagement rates, a picture of me beaming with pride holding my newest grandson Adriano is a home run.

It doesn’t matter that I had neither self-serving or ulterior motives to “puppy dog” my twitter feed, that I was beaming with pride.  I was gob-smacked by the high engagement rate.  Putting up a picture of the lovely and talented Linda (@lindaondokon) as we celebrated the anniversary yesterday of my proposal to her shows that as cute as she is, she doesn’t rate baby numbers (but close mind you).

I’ve yet to share a picture of me in battle kilt, leather chest protector and gore-covered claymore, my own blood dripping down my arm and covering the grip.  It doesn’t exist but I will admit I am curious to know what engagement rate would be.

I have seen the benefits of picking the right hashtags and seen both impressions and aggregate engagements, if not the rate, skyrocket.  But sometimes I feel like I’m waging an internal war, with heels and a little black dress on the one hand, and, standing on the street corner gripping a megaphone and beseeching pedestrians on the other.

In both cases, getting attention isn’t “getting laid”.

For all our expenditures in social media, what we don’t have is conversion.  The fault is largely ours.  We don’t create a clear bias for action, or in fact, even define what that action should be.

“You don’t call, you don’t write,” may be a comedic routine suitable for sitcoms, but legally I am not able to cold call a prospect or send them unsolicited letters or emails.  Our industry has, to protect the consumer, very real and germane limits of what and how we can say it.  Prospecting for clients at bars, the current social milieu of my generation, is both hard on the liver and on the pocketbook.

I have the great fortune to not only partner with Linda in life, but professionally in business too.  She is taking a course at the University of Toronto in digital marketing and storytelling and has become the snarly side of “you call me a bitch like it’s a bad thing.”[1]

Working backwards, we earn a living charging fees and commissions.  To do so we need to open accounts and move money into them, in effect creating a client.  Moving a prospect to a client is rather easy after decades of experience (Linda and I have been in this business together for almost 20 years).  What we’re not able to do is create a pool of prospects that we can genuinely communicate with.

After over a year of babies, puppy dogs and kittens, we’ve gained a lot of experience in social media.  We’ve become aware that as easy as it is to create and maintain an identity, to be commercial at it, to make it do what we need to earn not a return on our expenditure as so often euphemistically expressed by suppliers, but to multiply every dollar spent into income.

We have answers to that dilemma.

[1] “You Call Me A Bitch Like It’s a Bad Thing”; c. 2012; Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.; Hale, Elizabeth Mae/Ossoff, Nina Meryl/Calitri, Dana D./Briley, Martin Steve

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