When marketers discuss social media, one word always makes it into the conversation. That word, of course, is engage.
We hear it all the time: "In order to be successful in this new medium, marketers cannot sit back and advertise to fans and followers. They must engage in relevant dialogue with consumers."
Unfortunately, it's no longer that easy. Social media's commercial noise rapidly increases, while our already nano online attention spans decrease, creating an always-accelerating drive-by culture.
How does one actually engage a consumer?
I believe this starts with a shift in mindset. Rather than going for the viral knockout blow and the giant leap, marketers should focus on the slow climb. Be dedicated to the medium and provide consumers with regular access to the inner workings of the "brand." Let me clarify: This not the yawn-inducing boilerplate from your website or your brochure. It's the real stuff.
Show off your passion. Tell why you're passionate. How you make difference? (Hint: this may take more than 140 characters.)
Unfortunately, I think lots of brands have gone backward in regard to social media. Social media strategy has become seek followers and lead the conversation rather than encourage and reward brand advocates who willingly and passionately lead. The obvious culprit is fear. Marketers fear an open dialogue about their brand (which exists regardless). Consequently, all that's left is an environment of commercial clutter and too many marketers on a hopeless quest to engage.
Can you think of any exceptions to this trend? There is one very notable one.
Thanks for reading, and as always, I look forward to your responses. This post also appeared on Beneath the Brand.