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I Hope My Mom Doesn’t Like This Post

Building and maintaining an audience for content is a true challenge for professional services companies, especially given today’s dynamic where organizations are de facto publishers and marketers of their content. Part-and-parcel to this process is understanding what engagement looks like, with one measurement being “likes,” “retweets” or “favorites.”

It’s likely that employees, family members and service providers all – to varying degrees – are consumers of company marketing materials. This is all very reasonable and desirable. In fact, we recommend encouraging employees to like and follow corporate channels. What is to be avoided, however, is reflexive likes and repostings of content under the belief that doing so boosts the “viral” nature of a post.

It’s important that content be allowed to perform organically, and it is painfully transparent (and even gauche) to see random shares on Facebook of articles and posts that lack any explanation. When a random surgical supply ad is posted without context, its genesis is more likely a well-intentioned, if misdirected, share than a genuine endorsement.

If you are proud of a family member or genuinely in admiration of a post, add a note explaining why you are promoting the content. “Just read a great article by my nephew who works at an accounting firm in town and has some great thoughts for tax season.”

As an employee, be judicious about sharing content. If you are the author of a piece, or featured in a photo, share away – provided you add narrative context. But, don’t be like a bot, regenerating company content without comment or connection. (There are surely more effective ways to curry favor with the powers that be.)

Engagement, measured in likes and shares, should not be a primary focus or concern for professional services companies. Content from these organizations tends to be quite nuanced and a challenge when engaging given the limited feedback options offered on sites like Facebook and Twitter. Does one give a thumbs-up to an update on white-collar crime? An angry face to new tax rules? Zero reactions is OK, really.

Building a library of insightful content and chronicling the good news (such as charitable involvement) happening at an organization is beneficial in many ways, but it’s a long game.

When a prospective client or referral source wants to learn more, they check out your channels. When a client is scrolling through news and pictures on Facebook and even just sees that you posted, that is beneficial. And, when recruiting talents, a well-polished and dynamic image is critical. However, all of these individuals are unlikely to provide immediate feedback through the like button. But, if they do, it is genuine.

We’ve previously discussed the fruitless obsession with raw clicks, and chasing “likes” is in the same boat. Don’t be like the teenager on Instagram, devastated when a post pulls only a few likes. And, please ask mom to stop re-posting your content. When two kids crash your live media interview, that is the stuff a viral post is made of. An update on the estate tax, not so much.

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