Engagement: Can You Reach Your Tribe Without It?
Well, that depends.
Social media started it—this fascination with “engagement” as the gold standard for how well you’re positioning yourself with your digital tribe.
On its face, that’s a good thing—share and follower metrics can drive your focus on giving your audiences what they value most from you.
But in reality, clicks and likes and shares and retweets and followers have become THE defacto measure of how your consultant/advisory brand is faring.
And that’s just wrong.
Because when you’re selling wisdom, it can’t be short-term only.
You have to think bigger.
Like connecting to the true meaning of the word engagement: to incite an emotional involvement with your audience.
THAT is the holy grail of consultant and advisory tribe-building, branding, marketing and selling.
It starts with your big idea—what is it you want your audience to feel or become after they’ve experienced you? Because the best brands—and most especially wisdom brands—focus on serving their audience. They are constantly improving—transforming even—the lives of the people they touch.
Once you know—deeply, profoundly and viscerally—what your best audiences value most from you, you can thoughtfully pinpoint your sweet-spot: the clients and buyers who are craving EXACTLY the change you’re brilliant at delivering. (Hint: think demographics and psychographics—values, attitudes, personality and lifestyle—what combination defines your ideal audience?)
Only when you’re exquisitely clear on your market can you confidently—and consistently—go after it. To know how and where to best build your visibility and relationship with your ideal people—email, social media, digital media platforms and more.
Sure, you’ll measure likes and retweets and follows as a proxy for emotional connection, but you know that isn’t enough. You’re too smart to let “likes” drive every piece of your strategy and tactics.
Because that’s a slippery slope. Before you know it, you’ll just be rehashing what’s popular vs. expanding your unique brand of genius. You’ll fall prey to using clickbait only and spending your spare time A/B testing instead of driving value for your sweet-spot. (Note: this quote by data scientist Jeffrey Hammerbacher should give us all pause: “The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads.”)
And then there’s this: sometimes, your tribe may not be particularly fond of engaging publicly. That’s not necessarily a bad thing—private engagement with your sweet-spot can build more intimacy and trust than a public outing. Which is yet another reason why measuring your success solely by an externally visible yardstick may not do you any favors.
So yes, be highly visible to your tribe in ways they value. Keep marketing and distributing your content. Write powerful headlines.
And track your metrics. Just don’t let the wrong ones dictate your moves.
NBA Player Carl Landry Demonstrates the Value of Persistence in Life and Work
Written by: Jon Sabes
When you meet Carl Landry, stand-out college basketball player and nine-year NBA player, you imagine that becoming a professional basketball star was a straight forward run for the 6-foot-nine-inch power forward.
However, when you go deeper into Carl’s background, becoming a NBA professional was less than certain and little came easily to the 33-year-old from Milwaukee:
- He was cut from his high school team as a freshman and averaged less than ten points a game when he did play as a senior.
- He started his college career not at Purdue, but a junior college where it was not clear he would play.
- When he finally got to Purdue, he tore his ACL in his knee his first year and reinjured it the next year.
- While his family held a party for him the night of the NBA draft, he slept in the Philadelphia airport after missing a flight following a workout for the 76ers.
- In the NBA playoffs, Carl had a tooth knocked out, but came back in the same game to make a game-winning blocked shot as the Rockets beat the Utah Jazz 94-92.
Landry, who I interviewed on my podcast, Innovating Life with Jon Sabes (www.jonsabes.com), is a remarkable example of the value of “persistence.” In a time where technology creates the image that anything is possible at the touch of a button, persistence is an under-appreciated trait. When I spoke with Carl, I clearly saw someone for whom success has only come through a force of will that made him a NBA player, but it also made him a better player every year he played. That’s the kind of personality that has produced greatness in business as well as sports.
Carl was, in fact, drafted that night he spent in the airport. The Seattle Supersonics chose him as the 31st overall pick and then traded him to the Houston Rockets where he rode the bench for much of the first half of the season. When All-Star teammate Yao Ming was injured, he stepped in and played a key role in the Rockets astonishing 22-game winning streak (the third longest streak in NBA history). And, that season, after sitting on the bench for 33 of the first 36 games, he was named to the All-Rookie second team.
Carl was the first in his family to go to college. “I told myself that this was my ticket out, so I did everything I possibly could to be the best person in school and also on the court,” he said.
His family life in Milwaukee showed him what he didn’t want to do. “Just being honest with you, seeing some my cousins, peers, they went to work for jobs paying six, seven dollars an hour or they didn’t go to work at all and then living off welfare. I didn’t want that.”
When he was first injured, he had to contemplate the end of a career before it even got started. “When you have an ACL tear, it’s over…no more basketball,” he told me. “I said, God, give me health again and I’ll do everything I can to leave it all out on the line and be a successful individual.”
On my podcast, Carl pointed out another interesting lesson he learned in the NBA: Not doing things just to fit in.
“Fitting in was easy,” he said. “Doing everything that everybody else does was easy. If I stood out in some type of way, I’m going to have different results. I’m going to have stand-out results.”
That’s called the “Law of Contrast” and it produces that exact effect of changing the outcomes that everyone else is experiencing. Carl is smart, he recognized that differences make a difference, and doing whatever it takes is what is required to make real, meaningful differences.
Every off-season for the last 11 years, he has run a camp for kids in Milwaukee where he tells youth his story of hard work and persistence. “I always tell the kids to apply themselves and always be persistent,” he said. “If you dream, apply yourself and be persistent. With hard work, man, the sky’s the limit.”
When Carl says the sky’s the limit he means it. He is smart to recognize that it’s important to dream big, because if we don’t – we may be selling ourselves short. “You have to dream bigger than your mind could ever imagine,” he said. “I wanted a nice house. I wanted a nice car. I said, and I got all of that. So, what do I do, do I stop now? Maybe I didn’t dream big enough.” That’s a big statement coming from a kid who grew up to be the first in his family to graduate college and go on to be not only a top NBA basketball start, but a good businessman, father and someone who gives back to the community.
I’m convinced that in whatever he takes on as a basketball player or in his post-hoops career, Carl Landry is not going to stop getting better at whatever he does, and in the process of doing so, make the world a better place.
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