Do you have social media lurkers silently engaging with your content?

I’ve had my lurkers, and I say keep them coming because they have turned into my most profitable relationships (more on that in this episode).

We’ve been trained to go after the dopamine hit from likes and comments, but the folks who don’t publicly engage with your content are just as important (if not more) than the ones who do.

It’s time to embrace these followers, so in this episode, I’m stressing the importance of prioritizing quality engagement so you can gain a fresh perspective on engaging with your audience and fostering meaningful connections on social.

In this episode of the podcast, I talk about:

  • Why every business isn’t built for likes and comments
  • Why engagement doesn’t equal interest
  • Going deeper than surface-level social connections
  • Private engagement metrics
  • Stirring the pot to increase engagement

This Episode Was Made Possible By:

Riverside All-in-One Podcast & Video Platform
Visit Riverside and use the code DREA to get 15% off any Riverside individual plan. We use it to record all our podcast interviews!

Digital Brain PowerPack
Your past content has stories, insights, and value that deserves another day in the spotlight.

The Digital Brain PowerPack guides you in the tools and methods I use for my done-for-you clients to resurface your content treasures, allowing you to tell richer, deeper stories without the constant pressure of starting from scratch.

Watch the Episode Below:


Andréa Jones (00:01):
You've crafted what you think is the perfect social media post and crickets, you share it. No one's really engaging on social media. If you're sitting there wondering why some of your favorite people choose to remain in the shadows, this episode of the podcast is for you. Today we're diving into what I call the lurkers of your community. Those people who silently observe what you're doing and never engage, and we're going to dive into what exactly to do about it. Let's get into it.

Before we get into it, this episode is sponsored by Riverside, which is the all-in-one podcasting tool we now use for our show and y'all, they feel super luxurious. Riverside is the all-in-one podcasting and video recording tool that gives you studio quality recordings and lightning fast editing right inside your browser and y'all, it's super intuitive and easy to use. Once your recording is done, you'll be able to automatically download separate audio and video tracks and edit it all within a few clicks. It's really very easy. So head over to Riverside and you'll get 15% off. That's one 5% off using my code Drea, DREA at checkout. But y'all, it's free to get started. So click the link in the show notes and get started today.

If you're new here, my name's Andréa Jones and I'm a social media strategist dedicated to helping you make connection, build a community, and make your difference in the world. Let's get into this episode of the Savvy Social Podcast. So there are certain types of communities that just don't see engagement, and I see this happen so frequently with some of my favorite brands and businesses that I love to work with, whether they're in my paid community or they are a private client or they're just booking a one-on-one with me. They come in and they go, Andréa, I'm not seeing any engagement. I want more engagement on social media.

And I think it's pretty natural for this desire because social media is literally built to stimulate our brains and give us that beautiful, beautiful dopamine hit from seeing alike or a comment come in. These sorts of engagement types are so public, everyone can see them, and so you can see other people's as well. You can see how many likes and comments they're getting, and human nature comes into play when we go, I want that too. But here's the thing, not every business is built for likes and comments. There are certain communities who don't engage. I think about a past client of mine who was a divorce coach, often working with people considering getting a divorce. And I can tell you right now, those people weren't commenting on her posts going, yes, absolutely. What you said is true. I am considered a divorce. It's just not something that people usually publicly declare.

I also see this in other industries as well. I think about some of the nonprofits I've worked with in the past. Oftentimes our goal is to get people to obviously donate at the most though they may like and share, they don't usually comment on posts asking for donations. You also see this in the software community. If you run a software company or let's say your social media manager for a software company, a lot of times that audience doesn't usually engage. They're interested in you and your brand and what you have to talk about. They're either a current customer or potential customer, but they don't typically comment on social media posts. If you are a local business, I see this happen a lot with local businesses. Your capacity for community is actually a lot smaller than global or even nationally based companies where their potential reach is just a lot larger based on demographic.

If you are a technical or highly complex business, one of our clients is like this working with very high level PhD education candidates. Even as I'm saying it, I'm like, these words sound like they go together, but I'm not smart enough to put them together. And as we're working with her potential client to customer, they don't comment on social media. They're just not the type to comment and they actually don't scroll through social media a lot. And then I think about traditional businesses like agriculture businesses or manufacturing, we don't typically see a ton of social engagement on those types of businesses. So if you're sitting there going, Andréa, I fall in one of these categories, or I think my community member may fall into those categories, I want to talk about your lurkers, your silent observers on social media. And the thing is, not every single type of person will engage on social media, but that does not mean they're not interested in what you have to offer.

Okay? So they're watching, they're looking, they're reading, they're making their informed decision about you and your business. That doesn't necessarily mean that they are liking and commenting. Anecdotally, some of my loudest community members are my advocates, but they're not necessarily my private clients. These are my cheerleaders. They're in my corner, they comment on my posts, they engage, maybe they buy a digital product or two, but they're not typically my private clients, my highest paying clients or the types of businesses that send me lots of referrals, things like that, right? They're not the ones that have the most impact on the revenue of my business. They can help support that absolutely. But my loudest community members don't have the highest monetary value. They're still very important to me, and that's why I struggled, and I hesitated when I talk about that because monetary value is not the end all be all.

There are so many different ways that I apply value in my business, which I'll talk about in a second, but I wanted to just make a little asterisk there. The people who become clients are my silent community members. I can't tell you how many times where a potential client comes in. I can think of one in particular. Actually, Rachel Rogers and her team worked with them for six months last year. In between, they were in between hiring their internal teams, so we helped them as a middle ground and helped them with some training for their internal team. Her team came to me quoting something I said in an Instagram reel, and then later it felt like they were reading back my website copy to me. I could tell that they studied what I was doing, but I didn't see likes and comments come in from them particularly, right?

I didn't see a lot of Rachel Rodgers liking and commenting on my posts, but they were looking silently, observing, lurking, if you will. And so I don't see engagement as a sign of interest. It can be one indicator that your content is resonating, it be one indicator that you're making connections, that people are understanding your concepts. It's just one indicator. And so I mentioned I wanted to talk about engagement does not equal success because I think that due to influencer culture and due to the possibility of going viral, oftentimes we equate likes and comments, video views, things like that with success. But unless you are an influencer that doesn't have the best impact on your business, if you wanted to go after the most likes or comments or things, you may be posting different things on social media. For example, I know for a fact that my kid is fricking adorable and she would get so many likes and comments on social media the most.

However, number one, that's a boundary of mine. I don't post her on social media. And number two, she has nothing to do with my business, and I'm not pimping her out just for likes and comments, right? This is just not what I do. Even though that could bring in a lot of interest, interest does not equal business success for me. I see this happen sometimes with other business owners as well. Last year I did a consult call with someone who went viral on TikTok. One of her videos had over a million views. The video had nothing to do with her business, absolutely nothing. And so it was fun. The topic was fun. So she came to me and said, how do I capitalize on all of this attention into my business? And I said, you can't really, I mean, you can continue to create content.

That viral video could be a signal boost to the rest of your videos. But ultimately, if you want to convert people into the current business that you have in your current offers, you're going to have to talk about those and create content around those and not this random topic that you created content about. So engagement does not equal success. However, engagement can support success. On the flip side, I have had clients who have gone viral for content that is directly related to their subject matter of expertise, and it has helped their progress. There are so many other success metrics outside of engagement and even outside of social media. And I am social media strategist. Yes. However, most of my time, energy, expertise, conversions go into my email list. So I spend my entire time on social media trying to grow my email list, and social media has been a fantastic tool of helping to attract and nurture and find my people, connect with them.

But most of my creative energy goes into this podcast, which is an intimacy marketing channel, or my newsletter, my other intimacy marketing channel. And my podcast has won awards. I've never won awards for a social media post. My newsletter has way more subscribers than any of my social channels. And so for me, my success metrics on social are not engagement. It's actually looking at other ways that I can grow that area of my business. So when we're going to take a quick break, when we get back, I'm going to talk about what metrics to look at and more.

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All right, we're back. So the first thing I want you to think about when you think about engagement is actually the quality of engagement versus the quantity of engagement. So I know the number of likes and comments is that dopamine hit that we love and we love to see it, and we know that other people can see it, but would we much rather have a very thoughtful comment or even a sidebar conversation and a direct message versus the kind of surface level interaction that comes with a like or a comment? Okay, so thoughtful comments to me are much more powerful than someone liking a post. The same goes for private conversations. When I think about what is more intentional, when I think about what has the most impact to me as someone facilitating community, it's thoughtful connection and not a passing or a public comment that's like, nice, good job.

Well done, congrats, that sort of thing. Those are nice. I'm not saying they're not nice, but that's not my goal. My goal is to take it a step deeper, go a little bit deeper, and have that connection point with someone. So take a look at quality of that engagement versus a quantity team. And if you are a professional, like you're a social media manager or something like that, I am. This is something that we put in our reports for our clients as well. It's really easy to keep reports, kind of really high level and to show just number of likes or number of comments. But my team and I, we take screenshots of things along the way and go, here's something that's actually thoughtful and impactful. I also like to look at private metrics versus public ones. So the ones that are a little hidden behind the scenes.

So when I think about the metrics that are public, I think about likes and comments, views, sometimes depending on the platform, all of these are very public metrics. I can see them, you can see them, your mom can see them, everyone can see them, right? And that's great. But sometimes the most important metrics are the private ones, the ones that only you can see as the admin on that account. So sometimes this is called insights, sometimes it's called reports, analytics metrics. Go into your platform and take a look at things like clicks. Okay? So I gave the example earlier of a nonprofit asking for donations. And you say on Instagram, click the link in the bio. Well, how many people are clicking the link in the bio? Let's take a look. And if we see that certain posts result in more clicks than others, then we know those posts may be resonating.

Or if you are looking at other metrics like shares and saves, that can also be very helpful. So on most platforms, if you're sharing a post, it doesn't necessarily mean you're sharing it publicly. It doesn't have to be retweeting or retreading or reposting. It can also mean sharing it to your stories. It can also mean sharing it via text message or to a direct message. So shares is also a great metric to look at, and it's not public for a lot of platforms. And then finally saves. When we think about saves, if someone is saving your post for later, that is also a really good metric to look at. I think about this specifically with my divorce coach client, my divorce lawyer client in the past where people may not be liking and commenting, but if they saw something that resonated, oh, they're saving it for later because they're in the consideration phase of this process, and then they're saving it and they're coming back to it later.

So for us, we're looking at those metrics. At the end of the day, when we think about engagement on social media and having the type of audience that doesn't engage, we can still look at social media and our content marketing at large as serving a different role in our business. It doesn't necessarily mean that role is engagement unless you're building a community style business, typically that could be having that consumable content. I gave the example earlier of my client who went through all of my content it felt like before hopping on a call silently. So having that proof, that expertise shine through can be very helpful for the silent observers, which is most people on social media. You also give your brand a history, right? Your business has a history when we can see that you've been posting publicly for months and years at a time.

So I like that history. Sometimes people come to me and ask, Hey, I'm pivoting, or I'm starting over my business. Should I delete all my best cast content? No. Keep it there. We'll reuse it. We'll have it as a living, breathing example of how long you've gone through this. And I think about this with a lot of brands. In fact, some of the antique versions of those brands actually hold more value because even though you're not still posting about it or creating content around it, there's a history there of it. I think about physical products that have logos on them. The logo's changed. I know the Starbucks logo has changed over the years. If you have a cup with an old Starbucks logo, and it may become a collectible. Now, we don't look down on Starbucks for changing that. We embrace it, and I think your audience would do the same.

Your community will do the same. So you're building your bank of content and you're actually getting lots of signals along the way if that content is resonating with the people that you want it to. Is it connecting? Do they get it? Are we looking at those behind the scene metrics? And are we practicing? I think sometimes as business owners, adult humans, I should say, even we expect to be really good at things just immediately. Just pick them up the first time that we start doing them and creating content, specifically creating social media content is a skill, and as a skill it can be learned. But that means the first time that you do it, you're probably not going to get it a hundred percent perfect, right? So you're giving yourself time to learn, to build, to grow for those moments when posts do take off or when your clients come and observe your work silently and decide if they want to work with you.

At the end of the day though, if engagement is something that you're going after, I wanted to give you three things that you can think about. As you think about having the type of audience that doesn't really engage on social media. The first thing is to actually start conversations over trying to get conversions. So I want you to start conversations over trying to get conversions. And so what that means is your posts may have more questions than may have more offers. So I gave the example of the nonprofit organization. If you're a nonprofit and you're constantly asking for no nations and you're seeing your engagement, go down, create a series of posts around encouraging community conversation. So if you are a local nonprofit, for instance, let's start a conversation about something happening in your town. Hey, here's a topic that is interesting to those people in this area.

What do you think? Let's start a conversation. The second thing is you can be controversial. It depends on your brand. Me personally, do not like controversy at all. Maybe it's the Libra in me, but I just want everyone to get along. And so I don't typically try to stir the pot that much. Even my hot takes are not really super big hot takes, but there are some brands that this works really well for. And I'll tell you right now, people love to correct something that they don't believe in. That's wrong. That's just different. People love it. So if you want to dive into a controversial conversation that can bring more engagement, I think about even celebrity gossip, conversation style. So the divorce coach, for instance, maybe you can now talk about a celebrity divorce, public proceeding. I think about the one with Johnny Depp was that last year or two years ago?

That was very public. Start conversations around that for sure. Be a little controversial. Stir the pot. That could absolutely work. And then my third tip is to just join other conversations, join other conversations, be a community member. I think I firmly believe that's a huge part of being a good community leader is you have to know what it feels like to be a good community member and to be a good community member. That doesn't mean that you get to just soak in everything in the community and get all the benefits of being in the community without contributing. The very essence of a community means we're all contributing. So find a community where your people are also members and join the conversation. This can mean commenting on other people's posts. It could mean direct messages with people who are in similar, but non-competing areas. It could even mean private and paid communities where your people are hanging out.

Whatever the case may be. I encourage you to join conversations. You may also learn some things along the way, which conversations are easier for you to join than others, which is information for you when you're creating content, hoping people will engage with it. So it's not the end of the world if you're not getting a ton of engagement. You can find your people. You can encourage engagement in these ways, and you can join other conversations.

I'll be back at you soon with another episode next week. We're talking to Monique Bryan about personal branding, so let's stay tuned for that. In the meantime, give us a five star rating on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, helps keep us in the top a hundred of marketing podcasts. I'll see you next week. Bye for now.