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Social media is not engagement

27th July 2012

Social media is not engagement

Using social media is not engagement; it may be one engagement tool, but it alone it does not constitute engagement.

In recent years social media has become a panacea, with every brand, business and government agency jumping on the social media engagement band-wagon with a Facebook account and twitter feed.

On the other side of the fence traditional marketing and communications continues, dipping into the ‘online’ environment to drive public participation.

While both these approaches will succeed to engage some audiences, deeper engagement and value are often overlooked in the quest for ‘quick wins’.

What drives engagement?

Before considering what engagement tools to employ head back to basics – what is engagement and more importantly what drives engagement?

People don’t care that your brand wants to form a meaningful relationship with them; they are motivated by one thing – Basic human emotion.
•   Anger
•   Empathy
•   Joy
•   Sorrow
•   Lust
• Fear…you get the picture.

What is the hook?

It is important to also understand what your brand wants from engagement and what users want from engagement.

While brands may want to drive traffic or increase sales and government groups might want to increase public awareness or seek feedback on an initiative – engagement should be targeted like a news story. What is the hook? What is in it for the consumer? What do they get out of it?

The answer could be as simple as information or as complex as escapism through a brand ‘experience’. Targeting needs to go beyond basic demographics and reach the emotional needs of you audience.

Tying it up in a bow

Every web, digital and advertising agency these days seems to have the inside scoop on how to engage your audience, to achieve your goals through an online campaign or new website. But developing an engagement initiative that truly engages requires an understanding of both traditional and digital engagement, a strategy that reaches others outside of the ‘usual suspects’ and delivers actual value to the consumer.

Yes social media can do this and it may well be an element of engagement that can no longer be ignored, but it is and always will be just one part of the puzzle.

avatarby Desley
Project Manager, Reading Room Brisbane

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