Engagement is not a Like or a Follow


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You must remember this
A kiss is just a kiss, a sigh is just a sigh.
The fundamental things apply
As time goes by.

A handshake is nothing but a handshake. It can be about meeting for the first time, it can about seeing someone again, and it can mean that we are in agreement. At the end of the day, it’s what’s “behind” the action that defines the action. The same holds true for the word engagement.

At some point over the past few years social media has caused us to redefine the term “engagement” to mean something more than what it really means. Or is it less? We actually have “dumbed” down the term engagement. For some, and it may be brands that are more guilty of this than others, engagement is viewed as garnering a “Like” or a “Follow”. It’s not conversations, it’s not discussions, nor is it customer centric inquiries. Some brands are collecting Likes and Followers at rapid rates and then are telling everyone who will listen, that they are engaged with X amount of customers on social networks.

Uhhhh. No. You’re treating and collecting people like they are baseball cards. When was the last time you had a meaningful conversation with a baseball card?

Just as social media has redefined what a “friend” is, so is it that “fan”, “like”, and “follower” mean something completely different than it did 10 years ago. We can now add “engagement” to that list. Quit treating the accumulation of fans, likes and followers like it’s an arms race and assuming that you are engaged with these people. From now on you must apply a new rule. You’re not engaged with that person on a social network until you have had 3 conversations or interactions with them that are longer than one word sound bites.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Marc Meyer
As a Digital and Social Media strategist and CEO for Digital Response Marketing Group, Marc Meyer has been able to take technology, marketing and the world of all things digital and simplify it in a way that makes sense not only for the SMB owner, but also the discerning C-suite executive of a Fortune 500 company.


  1. Marc:

    I am blown away that this article isn’t trending on twitter. Excellent job of reeling us all back-in and getting us focused on “engagement”. Before “Like” or “Follow” stole the headlines the discussion was always about engaging or engagement. If one is not possible to “engage” another maybe Gladwell is right – we should be liking or following 150 or less.

    In addition to the Marc Meyer “3-touch” rule we may want to add: “Focus on establishing, versus creating, 150 relationships, before spending time trying to add additional followers”.

    Regardless, your suggestion should lead to more meaningful relationships which would go a long way in helping people achieve a few of their online objectives.

    Great blog!!


  2. Marc, not sure why you concluded that people translate likes and follows to “engagement” – OK some may but those are the people who read “get rich in 7 days” hoping to get rich in 7 days. Those people existed even before Gutenberg and will exist way past the social media era.

    The only difference: Social media unearthed all those simple minds like never before. In other words I don’t think that social media refined the word friend or like or follower – we only now see all the people who always had a superficial view of the term friend or like 🙂

    The biggest problem we are facing with social media is what I call “Democratization of influence” we have to learn to deal with it like people before democratization of our society had to learn to deal with the new freedom.

    Just my 2 cent


  3. @Bruce thanks for your kind words.

    @Axel I didn’t say Social media has refined the word, I said it has redefined, there’s a big difference between the two. I agree with your notion of a “democratization of influence”, as it now does spread far and wide, but we’re talking about relationships-Here is an example. My next door neighbor is friends with a movie star and I met him once. Does that mean that the movie star and I now have a relationship? Does that mean that I can contact him or can count him as a friend? No. But marketers and brands seem to think that because we follow them or have liked them, they are now engaged with us. That we have a relationship. It’s like a false opt-in. Marketers and brands are: Attaching a numerical value to their customers, adding a fuzzy logic value to influence based on numbers and… They are redefining engagement to mean that you or I “Like” them or “follow” them. Of course we, as consumers, don’t make things any easier when we follow or like a brand in the hopes of receiving something from that action w/o even saying please or thank you. Ironic. Thanks for weighing in Axel.


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