Most of us in the content marketing game go to the trouble of writing articles, publishing content, posting on social media and the like in the hope that people will respond to it in some way we can actually see.
After all, getting comments and “likes” is a nice form of affirmation that whatever it is you said struck a chord of some kind with the reader.
More often than not, many of our initial efforts are met with complete and total silence. This is understandably demoralising.
All is Not As it Seems
There are certainly topics and audiences where even the most purile gibberish seems to generate dozens or hundreds of social affirmations.
But most lawyers don't work in fields where that kind of response is expected. Many, if not all, of our actual or potential clients are a little shy about broadcasting any association with us, even if they were otherwise inclined to post stuff on social media.
Here's the thing: even though they're not engaging in a way you can see, they might still be paying attention.
But then again, they might not.
So How can you Tell if It's Just Not Working?
So if lurkers aren't taking any action that might help us check the analytics for their existence, what are we to do?
First and foremost, you need to give your marketing efforts permission to take time to succeed. While there are rare pockets of immediate success, they are the exception rather than the norm.
So if you're faced with radio silence in response to your articles and posts at first – don't take it to heart. Appreciate having the space to learn how to do things better, hone your efforts, implement your habits, and generally get the hang of things – because surely it's better to do all of that while nobody's paying attention, right?
Over time, there's a good chance you'll get a little feedback. Who is that feedback coming from? Is it the kind of people that your marketing was aiming at? Is the feedback generally positive, and gradually growing in size? Are your networks expanding little by little as you implement your strategy? Each small piece of feedback is a positive indication of whether your overall strategy is working.
It can also be good to remember that for everyone who actually engages with a post, there are probably many others who saw it and just don't have the personality types to “smash that like button”.
Finally, are you following best practice? If you've learned the ropes, identified your audience, and are putting out relevant and quality content – then it's a much higher chance that you're on the right path and just need to wait.
If, however, you've decided to go out on a limb and do something completely different, then you have the great joy of being a pioneer. That's fun and brave of you, but you generally won't have the same comfort as those following a well trodden path.
The Lurkers are Out There…
Um – good lurkers, not the horror movie ones (though there's plenty of them in the YouTube comments section…).
In truth, many of my inbound enquiries through social media come from people who have been “reading my stuff” for a while but literally never engaged in a single way.
So keep on the path – it does work. And don't be discouraged if initial feedback is fairly limited.