A friend of mine earns $215k every year doing digital engagement.
He hasn’t updated his Twitter account in 7 months. His Facebook page is empty. I don’t think he’s ever written a blog post (I doubt he reads many neither).
He doesn’t participate in Facebook groups or attend industry events.
I can’t see any visible output of his company’s engagement efforts. His company’s Facebook page has just under 600 fans and syndicates news content from the site. His company’s Twitter page gets about the same level of activity as ours (zilch).
There’s no public community.
What Does He Do?
He runs an online community…just like a lot of you.
He runs a private, hidden, online community for a specific group of senior people in the banking sector.
Can you imagine how hard it is to engage people at this level?
He needs to:
- Identify who they are. He uses a LinkedIn Recruiter account to pinpoint the key people he needs at each institution.
- Contact them. You can’t email people out of the blue at this level, you need a referral. That means building relationships at a lower level first (often 2 to 3 links away). This takes months.
- Establish trust. He’s trained himself to use the right words, tone of voice, authoritative body language, and selects the medium that sustains the right credibility and value among the audience.
- Solicit valuable contributions. He wants them to share their biggest frustrations so his company can design superior solutions. The more they feel listened to, respected, and involved in designing the solution, the more likely they are to purchase his company’s service.
- Keep them active. He has to persuade them to make valuable contributions over the long-term. That’s a big behavior change. Why stay there after they’ve shared their frustration? He has to build a sense of connection between fierce competitors and satisfy their deeper motivations.
(Oh, and each of these people has a discretionary budget between $700k and $11m).
Mediums and Messages
He uses LinkedIn to identify the people he needs to reach, phone and email to build relationships, and hotel rooms in exotic locations (that are nice to visit at that time of year) for the in-person events.
LinkedIn Recruiter, phone, email, mailing list, hotel rooms (and probably a good CRM too)….when was the last time you read anything about using any of these tools better?
Can you even imagine trying to engage this audience via blogs, Facebook, Pinterest and eBooks?
The skills that he’s mastered are so completely different from those the visible engagement crowd talk about.
- He knows how to thoroughly research and map out the network of his target audience.
- He gets inside his audience’s heads and understands their deep motivations (not just easy goals or what they say they want)
- He identifies the specific keywords they use which are unique to them.
- He uses the medium the audience best associates with trust and credibility (e-mail lists and fancy hotel suites, interestingly).
- He encodes his messages in persuasive, yet sincere, language. He deploys psychology to his advantage.
- He’s mastered the right microskills (strong message openings, tone, length, body language, trust/credibility cues etc…)
- He can identify the uniting factors that get fierce competitors to collaborate.
- He can induce a state of self-disclosure in each of the people he works with. People express their fears and concerns to him. They build trust quickly.
While everyone else was rushing to get the ‘the next great tip’ to boost activity by another 2%, he was mastering a body of deep engagement knowledge and refining his microskills.
And, it turns out, these are exactly the kind of things that drive valuable engagement.
This is what will distinguish you from the visible engagement crowd.
Other $1m+ Success Stories
He’s just my favourite of many people who are using a range of advanced engagement methods to drive real value.
Another friend works with a mass consumer audience. She optimises the user flow with multiple engagement methods (such as deep profiling) to guide each to their perfect place.
She hosts events that over 3k people of this audience that pay $1200 to attend every year (that’s $3.6m just in event revenue).
Community participation is directly correlated with attending her events. And she excels in driving the best possible contributions from every single participant over the longest possible period of time.
Every single person has a unique experience in her community.
She’s using advanced engagement methods to do valuable engagement work.
Learning about new platforms, where to find stock images, and discussing what metrics to track doesn’t get you to this level. You’ve got to explore things like understanding cohort analyses, undertaking deep research, driving behavior change, and mastering key microskills.
You need to know how to engage members persuasively, use the right language, work methodically through the engagement process.
A Mountain Of Band Aids
This is hard work.
It’s always simpler to add to the mountain of temporary engagement band aids than resolve the deep engagement issues.
Eventually, though, it becomes harder and harder to balance that mountain. You might be feeling that now.
We don’t want you to spend the rest of your careers in community management, social media, knowledge management, or innovation chasing visible engagement down the dark rabbit hole and coming up empty.
But if you’re not, and you feel the current tips you’re getting are inadequate short-term solutions, then I urge you to visit Advanced Engagement Methods.