Engagement, engaging and engaged are relatively hot buzz words in social media. The Free Dictionary defines engaged as “having one’s attention or mind or energy; committed as to a cause; working, involved, committed, absorbed and engrossed. In order to be credible in social media, engagement is crucial.
Now, that may sound extreme and almost scary. But let’s stop and think about this for a minute. In your everyday interpersonal life, you are constantly engaging. You engage with your family. You engage with the people you work with. You engage with your friends and neighbors. You are involved, committed and pay attention to these various aspects of your life. Without engagement, there would be no interaction. No communication. No nurturing or growth of the many facets of your life. Engagement is as natural for us as breathing. We create impressions by engaging. We form opinions by engaging. We learn by engaging. So, really, it’s not so scary after all, right? Now, how do we apply it to social media?
Simple really…you engage! If someone asked you a question at a party, you would answer the question, right? If you were with a group of people and one of the people, not a person you actually knew, asked about a topic that you knew a lot about, you would chime in, wouldn’t you? If you saw someone you knew in a crowd and they didn’t see you immediately, you would make a point of getting their attention and chat with them…am I right? The exact same protocol exists within the communities in social media. If you are in the persona of your business entity on Facebook and someone you know posts something interesting, you are going to want to acknowledge their post….you have just engaged. If you are representing your business entity on Twitter and in the stream of tweets that is flying by on your timeline, you see someone you “know”, you are going to tweet to them a greeting….yes? You have just engaged. If you , as your business entity, see a topic that you are very comfortable with on either Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn, even though you may not “know” the people asking about the topic, you may feel inclined to put your two cents worth in….by engaging. Are you getting the feel of what engagement means on a social media level? And, while I probably don’t have to remind you of this, a good rule of thumb on any online platform is to use the same kind of language that you would use with your Mother or Grandmother or child….in other words, think before you type. When you are representing your brand, you don’t ever want to have to eat your words. Engage with decorum. Be funny, witty, sarcastic, intelligent, serious, silly….but don’t be crude…your words will just end up haunting you.
So, there you have it. Engaging is simple. It is rewarding. It creates credibility. It creates relationships. It creates sustainability. And, it’s fun! Just as in real life, engagement with your community builds bonds and exponentially increases your word of mouth visibility. So get your brand engaged. Be engaging!