This post was prompted by a conversation I had in the #MMChat on twitter, that takes place Monday nights. We got a little hung up on the whole “engagement” thing.
I get tired of being told that:
“It’s all about the engagement”,
“It’s all about the conversation.”
Time for a reality check. A minimum of 95% of the connections in mostpeoples networks are passive in social-media channels. It’s a bit like the number of people who have real conversations with others outside of their immediate circle or acquaintances in a bar not very many. Social, often reflects real life.
I like to think I engage quite a lot. In any one day I will join conversations, tweet individuals directly, take part in twitter chats, introduce others and comment or answer questions where I can. I think I’m quite social. I will also talk to strangers in bars or on trains. it’s the way I am made up, but I recognise that most others are different.
I have 6327 followers, and follow 5,686 as of now. I have 2,500 “friends” on Facebook and 1,800 connections on Linked In., as well as owning 2 groups, 1 with 6,800 members and 1 with 700 members. Some of these people will be connected with me across multiple channels and others just in one place. Some will be idle accounts and others will be number collectors that are LIONS on Linked In or hoping for a follow back. (Not sure on the Facebook term? Promiscuous Friends?). The odd one stripper or spammer may have slipped through. Not giant numbers, but bigger than the average and growing every day.
Within this collective network, I have no more than 100 separate interactions with individuals in a day. Thats a very small % of people I’m engaging with, and I’d suggest that those with smaller networks have about the same ratio of follower/friend/connection engagement.
I monitor my mentions column on tweetdeck because I think this gives me some indication. This rarely goes over 150 mentions a day and is usually closer to 100. Now either I’m doing this social-media thing completely wrong, or people, on the whole prefer to watch others talking as an audience. You need the conversations and posts to keep the audience interested, but they are unlikely to engage with you very often.
That doesn’t mean I undervalue those I “talk” to, far from it, they are the most important people in my network because together we provide content. our conversation must be interesting or so many people wouldn’t be listening, but for most, it is a one way relationship.
To those who state quite loudly that they only want engaging followers or a network they converse with, I suggest the following action:
Unfollow, defriend and disconnect anyone that you have not had engagement with in the last month.
If you really believe that it is all about those that engage with you. Demonstrate that your belief in what you are posting and see how it works.
Now I’m willing to bet that you would end up with a very small network with limited future growth. You will all be talking to each other, but if you are doing all the talking, who is doing the listening? You will be more clique-munity and less community!
The majority of any network like to lurk and not take part. This may go on for months and then suddenly change. Your passive followers and friends are just as important. It’s not about the engagement or the conversation, it’s about the content you are putting out, and that you are keeping your audience entertained or educated.
What do you think? Am I mad to question this? Do your numbers tell you something different? Do I just not “get it?” Would be good to hear in comments.
Keep being ambassadors, in any way you choose,