Any marketing or online community manager has or is grappling with the question of whether their social media efforts are truly engaging their fan base. As the communications manager at my organization, that is a question I am trying to answer myself, as is many people in my field. The other question is can we visually see how “engaged” people are with their favorite brands?
Firstly, the definition of engagement, according to Webster’s online dictionary, is:
1 a : an arrangement to meet or be present at a specified time and place b : a job or period of employment especially as a performer
2 : something that engages : pledge
3 a : the act of engaging : the state of being engaged b : emotional involvement or commitment c : betrothal
4 : the state of being in gear
5 : a hostile encounter between military forces
Obviously, definitions 2-3c work in light of this discussion. This may is having the most fans on Facebook or followers on Twitter mean you have a truly emotionally involved or committed fan base?
I can say most likely not. Some organizations or individuals run Facebook and Twitter contest to boost their numbers but don’t think about retention. Retention meaning, how to keep fans engaged by sharing relevant content, creating stellar products and giving outstanding service. Don’t look at the numbers, numbers are great, but what are people doing with the content or information they are being fed?
Therefore, having a large following should be considered progress…not impact. Impact can be defined in a sense of having increased revenue, enhanced lead generation, inroads to relationship building but it’s not engagement. Engagement is having loyal fans or followers that will act as brand evangelist, people to not only spread the word to their networks but have influence on the “purchasing” (term is used loosely here, fill in the term that is most suitable for your line of business) cycle of another individual.
Clearly, social media should be seen as make progress towards an end goal.
Tip for the day: Don’t confuse progress with engagement.
As an end user or a marketing/community manager, how do you define engagement?