3 Things I Learnt From Engaging With My Community

Engagement results

Over the past 1 ½ weeks I took part in an engagement challenge on LinkedIn.

Run by Georgina Chapman, we were encouraged to engage with our LinkedIn community in a number of different ways over a 5 day period.

I always join up to these challenges with the best intentions, but I usually end up pulling out of them as my workload from my full-time job means I’m not able to attend the live videos, well, live. It leaves me feeling isolated from the group even though I know there are others, just like me, playing catch-up.

I signed up to this, the most recent, knowing in advance that I would fall behind. I mean, I was on holiday when the damn thing started, but it interested me, and I knew it was something I needed to do. Georgina’s focus is on LinkedIn, so is mine, and so I committed to getting this challenge done, no matter how long it took. LOL. A 5 day challenge turned into a 10 day challenge!

The focus of the challenge: Engagement.

What is engagement?

Real engagement, on any social media platform has changed. Likes 👍 are sooo last year. It’s all about providing valuable and meaningful comments or insights onto posts. It’s not just the content that you provide to others.

I mean, honestly, sharing is more out than in if you’re not even going to share with your audience why you’re sharing it in the first place?! I call this, sharing with a comment. (No idea what the technical term is) 🤷‍♀️.

I knew it was time to refocus how I was using social media. I know I say it all the time but as someone trying to start their own business whilst working full-time, networking events that I can attend are few and far between. I need to focus my attention on what I can do, but make sure I’m doing it well.

Yes, a like indicates that you’ve read the post, but does it really help or show gratitude to the writer? That person has taken the time to try and teach you something, or give you something interesting to think about. The least you can do is acknowledge that with a comment, right?

So, we were tasked with engaging in interesting, thought provoking posts from connections outside of our usual group of connections.

In just 6 months of active work on LinkedIn I had managed to develop a base of around 290 connections, but I realised that I was only engaging with about 10% of those. I was limiting myself by playing it safe.

I began the challenge unsure of how this was going to affect my LinkedIn presence but completely trusting that there was someone else out there more knowledgeable than me! I committed to engage with my community.

To give myself an idea of how this project worked I recorded my LinkedIn stats at the start of this week and this is where I started.

151 profile views

114 post views

17 search appearances

296 connections

And, after 7 days, the results?

172 profile views, ⬆ 21

158 post views, ⬆ 44

16 search appearances, ⬇ 1

303 connections, ⬆ 7

I really did enjoy myself during the challenge. I found that checking my socials was less of a chore because I knew I was going to have some meaningful interactions. I knew I was going to treat others like human beings, and they were going to reciprocate.

So, I know, I ramble, but it’s important to set-up the story, right?

All of this leads me into the 3 things I learnt from engaging with my community…

1. You never know what you’ll find

On the first day I came across a post from a gentleman who has created a website dedicated to free (or great value) apps to assist in the running of your business. It's All About Tech is a directory site listing all of the apps that are tried, tested and recommended by him and his audience. It’s a great tool if you’re looking for something new or an alternative to try out.

I just happened to be on the lookout for a new task management app and this is where I started my search.

2. Some people won’t pay attention to you

Sorry but this is going to be a long-winded story 🙇🏼‍♀️.

I was recently taught by John Espirian that if you’re not sure on whether you want to connect with someone you can always ‘follow’ them first. You can play fly on the wall, see what they’re about and if they’re values align with yours. You can engage with them and depending on how you find those interactions you can then connect; to develop your relationship further.

I decided to give this a go and followed a lady.

There was a day, during the challenge, where I saw something she’d posted about and I wanted to tell you of my experience (names and topics have been changed for privacy. Each to their own but I do not like to name and shame).

Sharon is a keen crocheter. She has a business selling homemade crochet items but decided that she needed to attend a class from a new, up-and-coming crocheter with grand ideas for the industry.

After attending the course, Sharon posted on her LinkedIn page:

“I just had a great day at my crochet course, I learned a lot and think I finally understand how to crochet for success.”

Enter me on my engagement challenge 🏃🏼‍♀️:

“Oooh, I’m interested in crochet too (that bit’s true, I'm a nanna at heart 👵🏼). Sharon, what an amazing day you must have had. Don’t you just love it when suddenly something just makes sense to you? Tell me, what was the most interesting thing you learnt from the course?”

See how engaging my response is? I’m interested and really making an effort. It encourages a conversation and someone who just learned something new gets to boast about their new-found skill.

So, imagine my disappointment when this response comes through to me:

“Lizzi, there was so much to learn, what was your favourite part?”

Are you with me? Do you see where I’m going? Sometimes people just don’t pay attention.

I wasn’t at the course, surely she knows that? She hasn’t answered either of the questions I asked. It’s like she hasn’t read my comment at all.

Don't let it get to you. Just know that no matter how engaging you are, there will be some out there who don’t recognise, want or appreciate the effort that you’re trying to make. Shrug your shoulders and move on. One person out of 200+ is minor.

3. You never know what will come of it

I will be honest, I was struggling for a third point and I cannot believe that this one came up on the last day of the challenge. It's probably my favourite, too!

I had been trying the same type of engagement on Facebook. I found it a lot harder because Facebook wasn’t giving much interesting content at the time. However, I am in a few groups and thought I’d apply myself in those.

Lo and behold at the end of the week I wake up to having been tagged in a video. Right at the end of the video the group owner announces that I am the person who engaged most in the group for the entire month and she was going to award 🏆 me with a free ‘Hour of Power’ to work with her on defining my story or working on a particular piece of sales copy. Valued at almost $200AUD this is an amazing opportunity for me and I am so grateful I am still a little shocked.

Thank you Anna Iveson x

So, just to highlight for you, because I know I’ve rambled here!

1. You never know what you’re going to find

2. Sometimes people won’t pay attention to you – don’t be disheartened

3. You never know what will come of it

Engaging with your community and audience is a great way to organically boost your brand awareness, it gets you out there, in front of more eyes and encourages others to do the same. I'm of the understanding that if you keep it up it's an exponential growth ... I'll keep you posted on that one.

Moving forward my intention is to continue providing meaningful engagement but I am also adding something in. I am going to encourage more engagement on my own posts.

What do you think you have to offer your audience in way of engagement? Tell me all about your own engagement challenges in the comments, let’s learn from each other.

If you'd like to connect with me on LinkedIn and have an engaging experience, just click here. I won't judge you if you chose to 'follow' me first, LOL.

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