Who’s Engaging With Your Audience?

I’m often asked what makes the difference between a successful social media campaign and one which is… less successful. There are a lot of ways to measure the success of your social media strategy, but whatever way you choose to measure your success, at the end of the day all that stands between success and failure is pure sweat equity.

What’s sweat equity in the realm of social media? It’s the 4-6 hours a day you spend during the initial launch of your social media sites engaging with potential fans and followers. It’s inviting folks to your space, creating dynamic content, and adding value to the lives of your community members through promotions, giveaways, tips, advice, and knowledge sharing.

And if you want to be a true social media phenomenon, like Gary Vaynerchuk, the time you spend engaging your audience and creating content can literally take over (and become) your life. Even big brands with big resources who take on social media campaigns are often surprised at the sheer number of people-hours it takes to create and maintain an audience.

H&R Block has been heavily praised the last few years for its comprehensive social media strategy. As their former Director of Digital Marketing, Amy Wohrly admitted, H&R Block discovered that even though social media tools are cheap, it took a dedicated eight person social media team and a lot of tag-teaming with their ad agency to create true engagement across a variety of platforms.

What both individual brands and big brands have learned is that social media is hard to fake. That is both its strength and its weakness. A strength because it helps all of us – as people and consumers – cut through the noise of corporate speak and insincerity, and a weakness because doing social media right requires what can be a tremendous expenditure of resources that can be tough to manage on your own.

It’s up to each brand and individual to decide how big and how far they want to take their digital and social reach… and how much sweat equity they’re willing to put into it. Just like relationships offline, relationships online are built through time, attention, and engagement. This is not a passive audience. This is an audience that must be engaged, or they will go elsewhere.

Who is your audience engaging with? And how much time and attention are you willing to give them?

Penny Ohlmann Neimann

The Ohlmann Group has a rich history that began in Dayton, Ohio in 1949, where the agency was founded as Penny and Penny by Bob Penny and his wife Jean. In 1964, Walter Ohlmann joined the firm. Ralph Neiman came on in 1969 and the firm became Penny/Ohlmann/Neiman. In 2011, P/O/N was renamed The Ohlmann Group to better reflect the agency's ongoing evolution and collaborative nature.


  1. Great questions, Kameron. Putting the time into social media efforts is a challenge for everyone, from the smallest small business to the largest corporation. The problem may be that creating social media content — whether it’s a Twitter post, blog post, or Flikr photostream — is so easy to back-burner. Often there are no external deadlines, the way there might be if you were submitting an ad to a print publication. So unless your company is committed enough to create hard-core internal deadlines — and provide the manpower to get the job done — social media marketing can be the first thing to slip.

    Personally, half the time I’m sweating because I’m not putting enough sweat equity into my social media efforts. Now that’s a Catch-22!

  2. Hi Samantha! It definitely takes commitment from the top to get a great social media campaign off the ground. When you’re the business *and* responsible for social media touch as well, I think it’s even harder to strike that balance. Businesses that are most successful with social media tend to be those that have at least one person totally dedicated to it, whether in house or through an agency. That’s really hard to do for small businesses and freelancers… Sometimes it’s just a matter of saying, “This hour on Mon/Weds/Friday is dedicated to social media activities,” and then sticking with it…. and trying not to sweat about it when you miss it 😉

    But yeah, speaking of my own personal neglected blog (two weeks without a post!), it does take a lot of get up and go that I really like putting toward creating actual deliverables and solutions for clients. Somewhere there’s a balance.

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