Engage. Engage. Engage… cries the so-called social media experts. If you are using social media for business, you had better be doing more than chatting with people online. There is a false belief that if you simply engage others online, your business will reap in the cash. This is so not true.

I have been watching the RE/MAX conference ( #REMAXr4 ) in Las Vegas for a few and noticed this post:

Now I know conversations are important and we need to treat people with respect when we engage them. But is engagement really the total key factor for business success online? It has been my experience that if any social media expert tells you that “all you need to do on social media is engage with people“, you should run far away from them. Here’s why:

Engagement that does not lead to opportunity is a waste of time as a business. If you are not building brand awareness, helping customers, creating a good impression for your brand with the customers or directing customers to business deals or opportunities, what are you doing? Engagement alone without intent is a waste of time.

Now I know that blasting or broadcasting at your customers is a definite “no-no” today. We live in a “Pull” world where the customer pulls the information that they want to them self  It no longer is a “Push” world where we drive our message down the throats of our customers. But you do have to have a strategy for spending your time on all those social networks. You need to be accountable for how you spend your time online as a business.

Now I also know that it can’t be “All Business All The Time” either. You cannot just post your business on the social networks. You will be ignored and removed. But as a business, you only have so much time to create business opportunities. A good majority of that time needs to focus on building the brand by creating business opportunities.

Simply wasting all of your time babbling on social networks without any concern for the business is wrong. I am not saying that we should not chit chat with others as a business. We need to be going about establishing our business goals. We need to proceed with purpose.

Don’t get me wrong. I have many chats with friends and other businesses when online with these social networks. But the majority of what I do online is designed to build the business. Many of the things I do online can be scraped by Google for example. This is action with intent.

What really gets me going is these so-called “Experts” that tell you to engage and everything will be fine. Social media marketing is more than engaging. I will even say that engagement is not the key for success. Being smart online is the key for success. Just think about all those opportunities to connect and influence. What are you doing with them?

Engagement without purpose is a waste of time. Strategic engagement that builds the brand, encourages others and looks to create opportunities for the business is what social media for business is all about. You need to have good social skills and a business background to do this really well. When you use social media for business, it’s like a game of chess. You are always looking ahead at the next several moves.

Simply thinking that by going online, on these social networks, as a business is going to make your business prosper, you had better think again. You need to be wise with your time and how you engage and influence others.  Engagement with intent will help a business generate opportunity on social media networks. But let’s not say “Engagement is key” alone. Let me put it this way…”You may say driving is key.” But I will say “Driving with an intended end destination is key.”

Let me leave you with these three comments by Christopher Barger in his book “The Social Media Strategist“. (Christopher really knows his stuff when it comes to social media for business. Great book.)

  • One of the biggest mistakes an organization can make is establishing a social media presence that’s there for the sake of being there, without rhyme or reason.” (Page 86)
  • In the real world, the companies considered most successful at social… are the ones looking at social media as a means to an end, not an end in itself. They use social media as one tactic in an arsenal designed to hit real business objectives.” (Page 95)
  • Just because someone knows how to engage in social networks – and has maybe even built up a following – that doesn’t mean she’s fully aware of all that comes with representing a brand in those networks.” (Page137)

Social media is more than engagement. Engagement is part of using social media for business. But is it really key? I think not.