What Does Social Media Engagement Mean?

Often on this blog, and in comments I make on other blogs, I talk about the concept of engagement. I use this term when I’m talking about meeting people and networking on social media because I tend to believe that it’s the most important thing anyone could ever do online.

2014 WLS Welcome and Networking Event
United Way of Greater St. Louis
via Compfight

What do I mean by engagement? Overall I believe it means that you have to either talk to somebody every once in a while or actually comment on something so that if either the person who generated a topic of conversation responds to you or possibly someone else sharing that information responds to you, that other people who may see it after the fact might respond to you.

This doesn’t mean that if you put something out first that you have to actually add something extra to it to get people to talk to you. As a matter of fact, other than blogging, even though you’re hoping that people will respond to things you put out that are original, the reality is that, for the majority of us, more people will respond to things that other people initially put up that we share.

Let me give you some examples.

On Twitter, I like to share different things that people post. Sometimes those things are a retweet from someone else. When it’s a retweet, I try to do what I can to get the name of the person I’m connected to who is retweeting the item into the tweet. If there is no room for me to make a separate comment then at least I’m acknowledging the person who I’m connected to and in my own way thanking them for sharing that information.

Also, at least half the times that I retweet something I will add a / and then comment after it. The person I’m retweeting will definitely know that I’ve commented on what they shared, and it’s my hope that other people will recognize that extra comment as mine.

By doing each of these actions, every once in a while someone will start talking to me. Whenever someone talks to me first I always respond, although I don’t get that back all the time. Still, at least the attempt has been made to get to know someone better and to generate conversation. Thus, the beginning of engagement.

As it regards Google Plus, I try to do the same type of thing even though it’s slightly different. Sometimes I just comment on what someone puts up. Other times I’ll reshare it, and when I do that I always have a comment before I share the item.

What sometimes happens is that people will come by after seeing I shared their item and give me a +1. Every once in a while they may thank me for sharing the item. Most of the time if I at least comment on the original they may just say thank you or they may start a conversation with me. That’s actually what I’m shooting for because, once again, I tend to believe that engagement is the key to getting to know one another. That’s what true networking is all about.

The last one I’m going to touch upon is blogging. If you read this blog often enough you know that I am always saying that you should respond to comments. I also say that there are times when people leave lousy comments, or comments that there’s really nothing to respond to.

There’s someone who’s been leaving comments on this blog that, by the time this article goes live, I’ve either started to delete or the types of comments have changed, where the words “thanks for the informative post” are in every single comment. Even though my name is used, since there’s never anything else that’s new it looks like a spam type of comment.

Engagement begins when someone leaves a comment and mentions at least one thing in the article or addresses at least one thing that was in the article that either they want to agree with, disagree with, or specifically say whatever they want to about it. Without addressing anything that’s either in the post, or give a point of view on something that’s related to the article, or even telling a story that the article reminds you of, you have lost your opportunity for any kind of engagement and look like you’re just trying to get a backlink.

Maybe I’m just being a bit pigheaded when it comes to this concept of engagement, so I’ll ask you. Do you write your blog, or produce anything else that you send out to the masses, hoping for engagement, or just because you want to talk to yourself out loud and hope others will check it out? If you don’t want to engagement, then how do you know they’re even reading anything you put out? If you don’t care then it’s no big deal. If you do care, then you have to follow the concept of giving to get.

Let me know your view on this topic.

13 thoughts on “What Does Social Media Engagement Mean?”

  1. Hi Mitch, funny I just read Adrienne Smith’s blog and her topic was about the same. Reprocity is important in blogging. I try to leave comments on those that leave comments at my blog unless their blog post is something I have no comment to make. I think it’s also good to give and not expect anything in return. I do comment on some blogs where they never come to comment on mine. It all depends on how much I like a particular post.
    I like your philosophy on Twitter as well Mitch! Plain old retweets can be boring…

    1. Thanks for your comment Lisa. I don’t think people have to comment on everything, blog or not. But I hate seeing people just sharing posts on Twitter without ever talking to anyone, or continually putting stuff out and never responding if someone writes them a message. So many networking opportunities are missed where it’s so simple to start a conversation.

  2. Hey Mitch,

    Naturally when I write a post I hope that it attracts some sort of engagement. Not the spam sort of course. Like you I delete those.

    I notice you didn’t mention engagement in FaceBook. In regards to FaceBook, I’m of the opinion that the so called ‘Like” feature gives people an out and actually decreases engagement.

    1. Peter, I didn’t mention Facebook because overall I think it gets the most engagement as long as the topics are personal. I almost always have at least a couple of people comment on things I share that aren’t just images from somewhere else and that’s not so bad.

  3. Right. Social media is about being social right? Or maybe I am old school like that. Gary Vaynerchuck teaches how way too many people are just shouting “Look at ME!” on social media. You can do that but it is more important to engage and interact with others.
    I was wanting to promote my tiramisu site the other day so I went to Twitter search bar and typed ‘#tiramisu’ and found others talking about tiramisu and started replying to them. That is interacting and engagement in my book. Not just shouting “Hey! Come to my tiramisu site!”
    Thanks for the informative post!

    1. Glad you liked it Troy and you have a good handle on how to engage with people already; that’s great stuff. So many others aren’t even trying unless they think they can get a sale or get promoted by someone else; that’s a shame.

  4. I fully agree with you that engagement is often a key thing – in all social media. If earlier it was often enough to just have a page and share something interesting once in a while – now it’s definitely not. I love engagement on linkedin -in groups and in person (many of very useful contact in professional network come from there), but even in twitter and facebook engagement is important (even if many view twitter more as a news site)

    1. Thanks for your contribution Victoria. I haven’t engaged on LinkedIn as much as I should because I’ve been traveling a lot lately and it takes more time to get to things there than it does on Twitter or Facebook. I do need to pay more attention though because just yesterday during a networking break at my conference a woman came up to me and said she loves what I write there and how she’s always looking forward to seeing what I have to say; very flattering stuff indeed.

    1. Actually no I don’t. The thing about a like is that other people see you liking something (unless you’re hiding it like I do) and then come over to see what you’re liking, and they might join in and even comment. Same thing as a +1 on Google Plus.

  5. Weill Social Media engagement is very important unlike old days, when sharing one or two posts in a fixed span of time will do ti for you. Nowadays, we have to manage our social media accounts with more engagement with readers, followers, etc.. I usually try to help every person who messages me his/her problem. But still am not doing 1005 in social media engagement, but I will in near future.
    BTW, Great post. :).

    1. Atinder, I’m not sure what 1005 means, but if you’re saying you’re not doing social media engagement on a full time basis I’d say that’s not a problem because unless you’re being paid to do it who has the time? I figure there needs to be something going on, especially if one hopes to do any business with people they meet online.

      1. Sorry Mitch, 1005 was mistake..I was writing 100%.

        And Yes I agree with you, No one will do Social media marketing on full time basis for free, because it is very difficult to get push on our back to get going.

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