One of the things that I really like about social media is that it gives you the opportunity to chat with people around the world. Sometimes you end up meeting some pretty incredible people and having some really great conversation. Let me just say that if you aren’t following Christel Quek and Damien Cummings then you’re missing out. These are two of the brightest people that I’ve had the pleasure of chatting with on Twitter.
Damien was recently interviewed on mUmBRELLA.com and what caught my eye was his view on customer service, conversation, and the drive for advocacy. It’s an insightful article, and one that you should read. Here’s a quote from Damien, “But the reality is that running competitions, asking people to fill in a blank in a sentence or publishing product brochures is creating mindless interactions and what I like to call a ‘graveyard of Likes’ – a one-off interaction that leads to a like, but you’ll never hear back from that person.” And so this got me thinking, what is real engagement? Do we (brands) need to redefine engagement? Does real engagement lead to advocacy?
I don’t have all of the answers, but a conversation with Christel Quek solidified what I believe engagement should be and what role social media plays in it. First off I agree with Damien and I don’t think that “one-off interaction that leads to a like” should be called real engagement. I think conversation is real engagement, and conversation is a back and forth dialogue between people. While social media is a great tool that allows you to chat with people you wouldn’t normally have the chance to chat with, I find that meeting people in person really helps drive advocacy. And while I know it’s impossible to go and meet everyone face to face, we can actively encourage brand employees to have conversations with people on social media. After all, people connect with people. I hope that the trend moving forward is that brands learn to educate and trust their employees on social media instead of fearing what mishap might happen. And I also hope that brands realize the importance of real life relationships with their customers. What’s your take?