Online Marketing Influencers, how much do you really engage?

Online Marketing Influencers, how much do you really engage with your audience? Do you really stick to what you preach? Tamara McCleary once said “Success in social media is more than big numbers, it’s about genuine human connection and engagement.” or let me quote Mari Smith “Content is king, but engagement is queen and she rules the house!”

Recently I had the honour to interview Sam Hurley, #1 digital marketing influencer from the UK. While doing my research about his background, I often came across comments from people who repeatedly praised his approachability and commitment towards his followers. This gave me the idea to put all those “online marketing influencers” to the test. I started to conduct a survey because I wanted to find out first hand to what extent what I read so far was true or not. These are just few of the examples that really caught my attention. The list could go on and on.

Steve Yanor (interview with Sam Hurley, SKY Alphabet Social Media Marketing | Vancouver)

And look at how the #1 Online Digital Influencer replied to this comment above. The number of likes and retweets speak for themselves……

I give YOU, dear reader, the right to think “Who the hell are you to judge whether these online marketing influencers engage with their audience or not?” Whatsoever, I did not want to keep the results of this experiment just to myself.

What was the survey all about?

Between the 14–25 September 2016 I approached via Twitter 50 Online Marketing Influencers (mentioned in this list). I’m fully aware that other big names, such as Seth Godin, Chris Brogan and many more were missing from this list, but I wanted to approach strictly only those.

So I asked them all the same question:

“What was your longest ‘digital break’ so far? It would be great if you could answer….. Thanks!”

This question in itself is highly interesting because it would reveal on how long these online marketing influencers have been able to stay disconnected from the digital world in the past. By the way, I was surprised to see that two of these online marketing influencers did not understand my question straight away. But they did take the time to clarify and then to answer. Thanks!

Online Marketing Influencers, how much do you really engage with your audience?

The core idea behind my survey was actually not just to find out for how long these online marketing influencers and experts in their field were able to go on a digital detox, but to what extent they would engage and answer MY question. I thought by asking a question that is somehow related to their profession would increase my chances of getting a reply.

Before I get more specific, I would like to mention that I fully understand that these professionals have busy lives, lots of followers and many requests from other people, too. I assume that some of them might not even manage their own social media accounts (in this case Twitter) and have instead someone to do it for them. (May one please correct me, if I’m wrong!) Maybe Twitter even puts a limit on receiving notifications once you reach a certain number of followers, I’m not sure about that.

However, they all have one thing in common:

They create and share lots of FREE highly useful content on a consistent basis that helps companies worldwide to be more successful in their marketing efforts. Thanks for that!

But now let’s get specific… This is the outcome of my survey. How much do online marketing influencers really engage with their audience?

Who did not reply?

Out of 50 online marketing influencers that I approached 37 did not reply. These were:

Jay Baer (218,000 followers)

Mari Smith (486,000 followers)

Joe Pulizzi (107,000 followers)

Neil Patel (215,000 followers)

Jeff Bullas (493,000 followers)

Heidi Cohen (31,800 followers)

Pam Moore (286,000 followers)

Josh Steimle (12,400 followers)

Matthew Barby (7,971 followers)

John Rampton (1,150,000 followers)

Ann Handley (361,000 followers)

Larry Kim (446,000 followers)

Wil Reynolds (39,500 followers)

Leo Widrich (39,600 followers)

Angie Schottmuller (17,600 followers)

Avinash Kaushik (176,000 followers)

Richard Lorenzen (43,700 followers)

Gary Vaynerchuk (1,320,000 followers)

Aleyda Solis (38,600 followers)

Tim Ferris (1,350,000 followers)

Robert Rose (39,400 followers)

Ann Smarty (59,600 followers)

Lisa Raehsler (5,347 followers) ,

Danny Sullivan (506,000 followers)

Brian Sutter (67,600 followers)

Andy Crestodina (18,600 followers)

Murray Newlands (1,230,000 followers)

Bryan Eisenberg (56,400 followers)

Roger Bryan (5,593 followers)

Eric Hebert (evolvor: 1,146 followers)

John Boitnott (118,000 followers)

Julie Joyce (15,500 followers)

Tom Treanor, (8,749 followers)

Anita Perez-Valdez (987 followers)

Marcus Tober (5,879 followers)

Amy Africa (3,841 followers)

Brian Halligan: (59,300 followers)

Who replied and how?

Out of 50 online marketing influencers 13 DID reply. Who are the ones who took the time to reply and how did they do it? Find out below.

The 5 online marketing influencers that for me personally stood out were as follows:

  • The most eye-catching answer (with a GIF!) came from Sam Hurley (146,000 Followers)
  • The quickest answer came (within 15 seconds, wow!!!!) from Peter Shankman (171,000 Followers)
  • The only person who asked me the same question in return was Brian Massey (11,900 Followers):
  • The professional who took the time to answer twice after correcting his first statement was Dr. Pete Meyers (43,400 followers).
  • The only one who followed me back (after starting the survey on 15/09/2016) was Michael Brenner (72,900 Followers)

And other interesting answers that I’m grateful for …..

  • Rand Fishkin (337,000 Followers) — pleasantly surprised to get his answer!!!
  • Melissa Mackay (8,545 Followers)
  • Shama Hayder (41,900 Followers)
  • Arnie Kuenn, (14,400 Followers)
  • Oli Gardner (23,400 Followers)
  • Lee Odden (96,800 Followers)
  • Jordie van Rijn (7,689 followers)
  • Brian Clark, (183,000 followers)

So, what’s the lesson to be learnt here?

Every little counts! You never know where your tweet/post might end up. Thus, really ENGAGE, ENGAGE, ENGAGE!

Let’s be honest:

Did it cost you any money to reply? NO!

How much time did you have to invest in replying? Few seconds.

Thanks again to everyone who replied, I highly appreciate!

Now, if I wanted to take this experiment to the next level, I could have chosen another question and tried to approach the same 50 online influencers but this time from a Twitter account that shows: only few tweets, almost no followers, a blank profile description, an egghead as a profile picture, and little engagement: Would I have still got any reply? I highly doubt I would have gotten more than 12 replies like in my previous experiment. That would have been the REAL test!!!! I assume they would have classified it as a “fake” Twitter account and I would have fully understood!

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