One thing that really stood out for me was how engaged people were in the politics and current affiars niche as opposed to online marketing. My blogs would usually get some comments, and would often be shared on social media without much effort on my part. But it's always been a bit of struggle to get the same kind of engagement around blogs like this one.
On Twitter in particular this trend was very clear. My politically oriented account would get heaps of retweets and mentions compared to my marketing ones. And now that I have access to Twitter analytics data this observation has been well and truly confirmed. The engagement levels in my marketing related account are less than half those in my politics account. It's quite remarkable.
But the interesting thing is that even though they're both the same age, with similar numbers of tweets from me, it's much easier to get followers to my marketing themed account. But they also unfollow me at a much greater rate.
These clear trends make perfect sense of course. People in the online marketing niche are primarily on social media to promote and sell things. So if they follow you, it's in the hope that you'll follow back. And if they mention and reply to you, it's because they want you to share their stuff. I'm not saying that they're entirely selfish, of course. It's just that self-promotion is much more of a factor in their online activities.
And there are exceptions to this rule. If you look at some of the more influential online marketing and problogging tweeps you'll see a lot of engagement form them. But again, the main reason they do this is because they know it helps build their profiles and ultimately make them more money in the long run.
On the other hand, in a non-commercial niche like politics, for instance, people are keen to express their thoughts and feelings. They need to rant, growl and get things off their chests. They're engaging for the sheer release of it. They are passionate amateurs, so to speak. Which is why they are so much more engaged.