Tools to drive engagement
The evolving design of our tech stack…
Today, let’s begin to look at some of the tools we will use for engagement. Remember, here’s the overall system:
After we’ve reached a brand new person and make them aware of us, it is time to ENGAGE them. We want to get them to interact with us, to click around our site, and generally to get interested in what we’re doing. The absolute first place we’re going to do this is OUR CONTENT.
So, in terms of our tech stack, let us look at various tools that come into play when it comes to creating and presenting our content… as well as engaging people but perhaps before they’ve actually subscribed to our email list.
First up… blog commenting systems. Blog comments are one way that people can engage with you, yet not actually be subscribed to your list yet. Now, I’ve said many times that blog comments are not as important as they once were. Many blogs don’t even have comments enabled anymore… and there are many good reasons NOT to have blog comments at all. I, myself, have gone back and forth on it. As of now, I do have blog comments turned on again. I couldn’t care less how many comments I get. But, it is more about having that channel.
If you’re going to have blog comments on, then I’m generally not a big fan of the built-in comment system of Wordpress. In this series, we’re talking about the perfect tech stack. Well, a perfect blog marketing tech stack would work better than the built-in comment system. It would actually show calls to action and work to move people to the next step – subscription.
For this, I am a fan of Thrive Comments. This is from the Thrive Themes folks, of course. And this plug-in does a great job of allowing you to fully utilize the potential of blog comments – something we want to do in our marketing stack. See, when a person posts a comment, that’s a PERFECT opportunity to move them forward in your system. One of the many things Thrive Comments can do is to present a targeted call to action to a person immediately after they post a comment.
Many sites also use Disqus… which is a third-party comment system. It works very nicely and I do like it. However, unless you want to put up with the cross-promotional ads underneath your comments, you have to pay to use Disqus. Would it be worth it? I think if I were running the kind of site where community engagement was one of my top priorities, I might consider using Disqus. However, that type of engagement isn’t my priority. I don’t run a news site. I run a site designed to give value to people then move them into my business. The role of comments on my site is simply a value-add to the content I post. Because of that, I keep comments in-house and I use Thrive Comments.
Another tool useful for engagement is Social Warfare. This plug-in is my choice for social media sharing buttons and controlling how your content looks when it is shared on social media. Obviously, this plug-in easily fits into the Promotion part of our tech stack, however it is also useful in engagement because of it’s ability to easily create tweetable quotes. These quotes are highlighted in the content… and it is a form of engagement when the person clicks and tweets it.
For today, I’ll mention one other type of tool for engagement… VIDEO. Both pre-recorded and live.
Videos are great engagement tools. It visually and mentally involves your visitor and is more likely to hold their attention (often) than the written word. Not only that, but watching a video increases time on page… which, in turn, helps your SEO efforts. So, usage of video would be a definite part of any blog marketing stack.
The main players I think worth mentioning are:
- Vimeo Pro
Facebook and Youtube are the heavy hitters when it comes to video distribution. For any video where broad distribution is your goal, you want to publish on those two platforms. Then, when it comes to embedding on your blog, you embed from one of those. I would recommend embedding from Youtube.
For LIVE video, both Youtube Live and Facebook LIVE are pretty awesome and both have great engagement functionality. Some potential ideas for using live video for engagement might be:
- Doing periodic Q&A sessions
- Doing a weekly live show
- Doing “behind the scenes” videos
Both are great ways to engage your community and even drive people to calls to action (therefore moving them forward in your business). Facebook especially is geared to make distribution and promotion of live video really easy.
As for Vimeo PRO, this is what I use to host any video where broad distribution isn’t my goal. Things like marketing videos and training videos. This will obviously come into play when it comes to conversion and delivery, however these kinds of videos are also useful for engagement in the right places.
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So, here’s where our stack sits currently…
Do you have any questions about any of these tools so far?
Is it useful to see how these things fall into context with our business and where they fit in?
Do you have any suggestions or things you might change?
Hit the reply button and lemme know. 🙂
Next up, we’ll talk about a slightly more modern strategy you’ve perhaps seen some of the “gurus” talk about. Another way to engage people and move them forward in our business. Until then…
Stay awesome. 🙂