I’m Engaged. Are You?

In social media that is…

Today’s communications professionals are involved in social media more than almost any other profession. Most of my colleagues understand the need to be part of the online networks and we understand why it might be confusing for others, or why they just don’t see the value.

We recognize that having a conversation online (being engaged) is at least as important as just having a presence and posting messages. Your customers and readers want to know you’re listening. They also want to know you care. Oftentimes it’s really that simple: answer honestly and show you’re listening.

Sometimes I still am surprised at which posts resonate with others the most. A few weeks ago, I had a spot on a shirt that wouldn’t go away. So, I took to Facebook to seek advice. I expected maybe one or two friends to answer but there were many more. And just as many “likes,” probably came from people who wanted the tips too. The suggestions:

  • check laundry tips on Pinterest

  • chalk

  • hydrogen peroxide

  • dry cleaners

  • various cleaning sticks

  • and more.

The answers came from many branches of my Facebook network and connected everyone in that moment of wanting to know something so simple. Watching the levels of engagement and types of people who respond to posts is one of the aspects I enjoy on social media. Facebook really does pair people who need information with those who have it to share. And, don’t forget that it’s also there for you when you want it.

When my younger brother had a heart attack several months ago, I kept it private for several days.  But, in the end, I’m glad I posted. There were more than 100 likes on the post and probably close to that many comments. They came from friends of mine he’ll never know but also from grade school, high school and college friends he hadn’t talked with in years. Many people he had lost touch with and didn’t realize cared. He’s still not on Facebook but it sure put a smile on his face to see some of the people who showed they cared about him. And, it made me feel good knowing the support network was still there.

Social media isn’t right for everyone. And, as communications professionals, people like me spend more time there than others. But it’s really a wonderful way to connect, learn, engage and grow without leaving this house. As communicators, we need to remember not everyone uses the networks as much as we do, that maybe we should put it down more often, and that we might want to help others get started too. When we’re helping others get started, we need to understand they may just want the stain removal tips or to see what their grandchildren are doing. That’s okay too because it’s the diversity that makes the community strong.

Oh…and the dry cleaner who got the stain out.

Photo: Peter Nijenhuis; via Flickr, CC 2.0

The Barber Group

Gig Harbor, Washington


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