Agency Transparency On Client Social Media Channels
Updating The Engagement Marketing Definition

How The Engagement Process Works From Diane Gilleland

I really enjoyed Diane Gilleland's podcast “engagement marketing for your crafty business”. I thought Diane gets at the heart of how social interaction works online for business. As one of the biggest issues for marketing people to understand about social media is the importance of engagement, the back and forth that is required, and outreach that has to occur to build relationships in your community.

Diane kindly agreed to answer a few questions on how she learned about listening and responding to people online. I asked Diane how she picked up how engagement works online and how she characterizes the process?

Diane: I know engagement is important through experience. I didn't begin my life in the online craft community as a marketer. I was a participant first. Over time, though, I came to develop some ebooks and online classes, and suddenly I needed to market them. It was clear to me that I couldn't suddenly change the conversation with my online friends just because I had something to sell.

I tried advertising for several months, but the return was minimal. (I also started up an ad-funded craft calendar website for my city and ran that for a few years - long enough to learn that I also hate selling and administering ads.)

After giving the matter a lot of thought, I arrived at the idea of engagement marketing. I realized that my conversation with my community didn't necessarily have to change in order for me to market things. If I kept giving away high-value content, and being friendly with people, I could mention my products and services (periodically and in creative ways) and see much better results than I had with advertising.

You mention "the back and forth, outreach that has to occur to build relationships." This is also (obviously) challenging for corporations and marketing professionals. They're used to treating customers as demographics. In engagement marketing, you have to treat them as human beings.

I might exchange blog-comments and emails with someone for a year before they decide to buy one of my ebooks. That would seem totally impractical to a busy corporate professional, of course. To me, I've had a series of nice conversations with someone I've grown to like and trust, and the sale is a nice bonus. The relationship brings benefits that ultimately eclipse the sale: I now have all kinds of opportunities for trading and sharing with this person.

Can the corporate world play in this pool? Well, not to the extent I do, but I do believe there are ways in that are applicable to their needs.