Meaningful Engagement

kimmayWritten by guest blogger, Kim May, President of Nobox Creative – a full service strategic marketing firm –  follow Kim on Twitter at @KimLMay.  Kim is also a panelist for the Social Media/Sales Panel Discussion happening next Tuesday, November 12th during Entrepreneur Week

Meaningful Engagement

I confess. As a parent, I turn up my nose at social media. Just this weekend, I dropped my 7th grader off at a party and wanted to rip every single phone out of their grubby middle-school hands so that those pre-teens would actually interact face-to-face. After all, how can they learn effective communication skills when they are lined up next to each other with their noses and fingers stuck to a screen? I decided right there that the next party I host will include a bouncer at the door, collecting smart devices in a bucket to be returned as my guests leave.


As an advertising executive, I rally the troops to convince clients that social media is an important part of marketing. We write posts designed to encourage engagement in order to push status updates higher in Facebook’s algorithms. And with Facebook’s level of influence in the lead, commandeering 1.2 billion users, ads are guaranteed to reach a larger audience at a fraction of the price of traditional media.

But has social media impacted meaningful engagement?  Will our future workforce lack the necessary communication skills to help them succeed in the world around them?

Dr. Nick Gerlich, Marketing Professor at WTAMU, believes that this younger generation is actually watching their parents become so consumed with social media that they are choosing to back away. “They’ve seen the dark side with their parents, and have decided on face-to-face engagement instead.” Choosing to hang out in person instead of online.

It is, after all, thanks to Facebook, that Dr. Gerlich and I engaged in this meaningful conversation regarding the communication skills of the our next generation. His Facebook post this morning led me to pick up the phone and ask a few questions. Dr. Gerlich was quick to share that he has connected with and held meaningful on-line conversations with old friends, friends of friends and new friends. He’d have to hold the “mother of all Christmas parties” to come close to the interaction of his social media conversations.

He has a point; one that every business should also learn. Interaction is what makes social media appealing. Advertisers can become so focused on pushing out marketing messages, shouting their special offers and greatness, that they miss the point of social media. Engagement.

Make your business page posts meaningful. Spend time creating worthwhile content that isn’t all about you. Get your fans talking and ask questions that spark dialogue. Simple posts achieve the most engagement so don’t feel obligated to attached a photo or link with every status. And fill-in-the-blank statements are one of the most underutilized post techniques; use them.

Above all, remember that if your business page becomes annoying with too frequent or self-centered posts, all it takes is one or two clicks and you’ll be hidden from their newsfeed forever.

Take a cue from our middle-schoolers that may or may not be using their smart phones at my next party: Back away from the dark side.

For more on this topic and to speak to Kim May about this blog, RSVP to the Happy Hour & Social Media/Sales Panel Discussion happening Tuesday, November 12th from 4 to 6pm at the WT Enterprise Center! RSVP to Entrepreneur Week  

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