Why Engagement on Social Media Matters

In a day where everyone has a social media feed that is flooded by news stories, memes, photos, gifs, cat videos, something stupid that went viral, political rants, and the occasional deep thought about life, we often find ourselves talking to other people less. I mean this in real life (RL) or online. We sit on our phones when we hang out with friends. We watch TV and play candy crush at the same time, while also checking Instagram and Facebook. Our minds, our attention, and our life is spread out across all of these devices. But in a world where we have a thousand ways to keep in touch and talk to people, it seems we are talking to people less.

How many times have you posted a photo on Instagram and then keep checking to see how many people liked it, who liked it, and did anyone actually comment? For me the recipe is typically, post once, check five times. The post is proof of life and the little hearts are a validation. But why is it a validation? Why does liking someone’s post or tweet matter? Why has liking things come to replace real communication?

How many times have you absently liked your friends posts, except for that one that you don’t want to unfriend but you just can’t bring yourself to give them the satisfaction of the little heart, and then later on they reference that post and you have no idea what they are talking about? To you, you just casually acknowledged that you saw it and at best read it, but to them you validated that post. You may have even had an argument with someone where they call you out on not knowing about something because you liked it.

The reason for this is because social media has become about the individual. It has become about the “I”. The problem is, all the “I’s” are on there because they want to be seen. Way back in the day, when Facebook was in its infancy, you could “poke” people. It was a way to say “hi, I see you” without saying anything. It made people feel special, feel seen. 

Now people rush through their social media and are mostly concerned with posting things, and how much time and commitment it takes, and are left feeling overwhelmed. A very small part of that was spent reading other people’s posts or interacting in any kind of meaningful way. Yes, you have the keyboard warriors who are out to disrupt your day with vitriolic arguments that go nowhere, but the real engagement, the real conversations, have been fading in the background.

Engagement, whether it is from a person or professional account, is important because it tells your people that you see them. It tells them that you are more than just your universe. If you are a performer, and you interact with a fan, you just made that person’s day or even month. They may be telling that story for years! For a business, you just showed your customers that you are not just a corporate automaton, you are a real entity that they can reach out to. Engagement is meaningful. It fosters loyalty, authority, and trust. It can also be the difference to someone from a truly terrible day, to one that maybe has some light in it. If all you do is shed some light into someone’s life for a day, then to me, that is pretty rewarding. If you get a customer, or a sale, or a business deal, then that is an amazing bonus.

Remember, engagement matters. Take a few moments to reach out to people on your social media.

Lauren MacEwen is the CEO and chief strategist of 7 Veils Media, which provides social media marketing solutions. If you would like to know how 7 Veils may be able to help improve the return on investment for your social media, or help with your engagement, please email [email protected]. If you want to say hi, tweet Lauren @7_Veils